Tuesday, 3 August 2010

What Shall We Do With An ISO File?

A friend of mine copied a file with extension '.ISO' to my hard disc, and said it is a 'CD image'. What do I do with such a file?

The term 'image' refers to the fact that this is, as it were, a snapshot of the disc. But rather than seeing folders and files, you only see one file that contains them all: the ISO file.

Well, you have 3 options, regardless of the image being a CD image or a DVD image:
  1. Treat it as a file, and manipulate it like you would manipulate other files. That means, you can move it, copy it, delete or rename it, but you won't be able to see what's inside it.
  2. Burn the CD (or DVD). Your burning software (Nero, Roxio, whatever) will have an option to burn an image to disc. After using that option, you'll have the CD (or DVD) from which the image was generated.
  3. Mount the image.
Huh? Mount the image?

That doesn't mean 'saddle it up and ride into the sunset', cowboy. Instead, it means 'make that ISO file behave as if it were a disc, with its own drive letter' (speaking in Windows terms, that is).

I'm sure there's brilliant commercial software out there that doesn't cost a fortune and lets you mount images but hey ho, if you've read other posts here, you'll know I'm a freeware freak.

Check out SlySoft's Virtual CloneDrive. It even supports formats other than ISO, like BIN and CCD. You can mount up to eight images simultaneously; after installing the program, just double-click any image file and it will show up in your Windows Explorer as a new disc drive that you can use like any other.

Actually, it will even behave as if you inserted a CD (yes, or DVD) in the drive: if an Autorun program is present, you'll be asked whether you want to start it or prefer to explore the disc.


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