Are Vista upgrade DVDs not bootable?

Like all NZ schools that have joined the MS license agreement, we received a Vista Business Upgrade DVD recently. There’s just one little problem: it’s not bootable.

Here’s a practical illustration of the situation. In the picture above, you see the extraction from IsoBuster showing what is on a bootable DVD ISO image obtained from Christchurch Polytechnic’s Elms program. Notice we have selected the “Bootable CD” item on the left to display the and Microsoft Corporation.img files on the right.

In the picture below, we see the same view of the NZ Ministry of Education DVD. It has the ISO and UDF data items, but it lacks the “Bootable CD” item and its files. And, you guessed it, the other DVD boots for installation and this one doesn’t.

I have never actually heard before now of any Windows NT operating system that is not placed on a bootable CD or DVD. Even if it is an upgrade version, it’s always been possible to start with a clean HDD with nothing on it, boot from the CD/DVD and install.