Understanding ISO Images

by Barry Dysert
(last updated February 20, 2017)

5

An ISO image is a file on your hard drive (typically with an ".iso" extension) that is an image of an optical disc (like a CD or DVD). Using free software, you can create an ISO image from an optical disc, then mount the .iso file and use it as if it were an actual optical disk—even though it's all on your hard drive.

An advantage to having ISO images is that they are portable. Once you create it, it's like you have the disc it came from always available. You can transfer the .iso file to another device, store it on a flash drive, etc.

If an ISO image was created from a video DVD, it can likely be played through Windows Media Player simply by double-clicking the .iso file. Otherwise (for example, if it's an image of a data disc), you may need to mount it and treat it just like you would a physical optical disk in your drive. I happen to use "Virtual Clone Drive" by Elaborate Bytes AG for dealing with data .iso files (it's a free download from most of the popular download locations).

To create an ISO image, I often use BurnAware Free (but the free version is only for non-commercial use) or ImgBurn. Both are available at popular download locations.

 This tip (13015) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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Comments for this tip:

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What is nine more than 2?

2017-02-20 11:52:29

Barry

Terry, my *guess* is that when you try to mount the .iso you'll be prompted for the key, at which time you'd just type it in (or copy/paste). Are you asking how best to keep track of the keys?


2017-02-20 11:43:04

terry

Ok, you can mount and use the .iso just like the CD/DVD that you created. I have on company that uses a key on their installation disk and i am constantly worried about losing my "key" for upgrades. SO: just how do i mount an .iso for such use?

Terry


2017-02-20 06:28:36

Len Richard

ISO files are basically a pain in the ass. If I have tons of these things I need to burn the whole cd but suppose I only like one song. Why would I want to burn a CD with songs I don't like. You shouls use EAC (best audio extraction tool free), convert only the songs you want to .wav, burn them then compress them to .flac or .ape for archiving. At any time you can go get that song and burn it again for whatever reason. If you want to keep the whole CD don't use ISO. This format sucks for audio cd's.


2014-03-18 14:42:32

Barry

Not sure exactly what you're asking, and I know nothing about Nero or the Oxford Talking Dictionary. I *think* you're asking where you can get the free software, so here it is:
Virtual Clone Drive: http://virtualclonedrive.software.informer.com/

BurnAware Free:
http://www.burnaware.com/download/

ImgBurn:
http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download


2014-03-18 01:15:50

Pramod Sinha

I have an Oxford Talking Dictionary which works on XP with the help of Neru, but not on this HP laptop with Windows 7. How can I use it in Windows 7. Pl. guide me as to the free software to be downlaoded and use the Oxford Talking Dictionary.
Regards
snhpramod@gmail.com


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