Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Iso files are a common disk image distribution format. We'll look at the best ways to open iso files as well as a couple of ways to create them.

I have a disc which contains some information. I want to open it but I apparently don't have the right program installed on my computer. The file type is ".iso". How can I open it?

An "iso" file is just a disk image.

There are two ways to deal with a disk image: put it on a disk, or make it look like you put it on a disk.

The easiest way to think of an iso file is more like a "zip" or "cab" file, only without the compression.

An iso file contains the image of a disk. That means it contains all the files and folders that were on that disk, much like a zip or cab file contains a collection of files and folders. The real difference is that an iso is a byte-for-byte copy of the low-level data actually stored on a disk.

There's nothing about the iso format that actually knows about files, folders or formats. It's just the raw data from the disk. Now, naturally that raw data, if interpreted correctly, may know about files, folders and format. But, like a disk, the operating system has to look, see what format was used (things like FAT32, NTFS and the like), and interpret the contents of the iso file as if it were reading the raw data from an actual disk.

"The easiest way to think of an iso file is more like a 'zip' or 'cab' file, only without the compression."

There are a few ways to deal with iso files.

Burn the iso file to a disk.

Iso files are frequently used to distribute CD or DVD images. For example if you download a popular Linux distribution what you'll most likely download is actually an iso file. Using a CD or DVD burning program like ImgBurn you can then write that iso disk image to an actual disk. When you examine the completed disk you'll see all the files and folders that were contained in the image. In the case of the Linux distribution, you'll probably even be able to boot from the CD you just created.

Mount the iso file as if it were a disk.

There are several utilities out there that will mount an iso file as if it were a disk drive, though often only for reading. I've not used any enough to recommend, or even mention names, so perhaps readers will chime in with utilities that they've used.

Treat the iso file as if it were an archive.

Recall how I indicated that iso files are much like zip or cab files? As it turns out, some of the popular archiving utilities, including WinRAR and my personal favorite 7 Zip can also read and extract the contents of iso files.

All you need to do is use those tools' view or extraction functions on the iso file to examine its contents or extract some or all of the files you need.

Creating iso files

Creating iso files of CDs or other disks you own is a convenient way to backup, archive or (if legal) share them. And it's actually quite easy to do.

Most CD/DVD burning software includes the ability to rip or create an iso image. ImgBurn, in particular, is perhaps one of the easiest tools to use for this purpose. Just insert your CD, tell ImgBurn where to place and what to name the iso file, and push a button.

ImgBurn can also be used to create an iso image from files you specify, much as if you were actually burning files to CD or DVD. After collecting the files that you want to place in the image, you can instruct ImgBurn to create an iso file instead of burning to disk.

Next steps

If you're simply trying to get at something that's stored inside an iso file, go grab a copy of 7-zip which will let you extract the contents just as if it were a .zip file.

If you need to install or run something that was delivered as an iso file, grab a copy of ImgBurn, and then follow my step-by-step instructions on burning an iso to CD or DVD.

Article C3228 - December 5, 2007 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

93 Comments
Ken B
December 6, 2007 10:17 AM

Microsoft has a "Virtual CD" driver available:

http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4402.html

Run it, and it installs a new drive letter, onto which you can mount and unmount ISO files.

(Note: this is the only one I've used, so I can't compare it to any others. Also, it only claims to be for XP, so I don't know if it works for Vista. However, it does the job for me, no fuss, no muss.)

Bob L
December 8, 2007 2:27 AM

daemon tools is the free program I use to mount .iso images as a virtual drive. It assigns a drive letter and it's as if you had the original CD in the drive. Works flawlessly for me.

http://filehippo.com/download_daemon_tools/

David
December 12, 2007 12:20 PM

yeah, daemon tools is probably the best that I've seen, it has most copy-protection system emulations too.

Michael Grissom
May 28, 2008 8:13 PM

I took the advise of Bob L. above and the program he recommended worked flawlessly in Vista. I no longer have to burn ISO files onto a DVD/CD on order to install them from that DVD/CD back onto the same computer and this virtual DVD/CD program is a lot faster than the real (mechanical) thing. Thanks Bob!

barry webb
June 15, 2008 8:32 PM

I was recomended PowerISO and it seems to work fine. although I have only used it a couple of times they have a free version you can try.

Rab
June 21, 2008 3:23 PM

I'm new to download and have just downloaded a large ISO file (music). I've used IDM as my download and have opened the files with WinRAR. I read your advise here and downloaded daemon tools and it has created an F drive but Win RAR won't send it to the Daemon F drive. Sorry guys this is probably elementary for you but I could use the help. The whole ISO has not been downloaded - I'm still have to download 2 more file - could this be the reason?

Peter O
July 1, 2008 12:25 AM

Well I guess you tried to make things clear but I ended up still pretty confused & with more questions:
1) Why bother with an iso file in the first place since there is no compression.
2) Surely this just introduces unnecessary steps in the viewing process, who wants to waste time burning CD's when HD's are now so cheap & very large.
3) When/if you burn to CD do you choose "burn a data file" or "burn an iso file".
4) Now just one more time: I start with an iso file, wish to use it, but must first burn to CD, which duplicates what I had to start with, So how do I view the CD & why will I be able to use now when I could not the original.
Totally confused even after re-reading your article. No doubt I'm tghick but computers are supposed to be friendly right not dinosours.

Leo
July 3, 2008 2:17 PM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

1) Compression isn't the point of an ISO file. The point is
to represent/contain an exact disk image. You'll see CD
images distributed as ISO files, for example.

2) ISO files aren't typically used for HD images, for much
of the reason you explain: size and cost. However they're
perfect for distributing, again, a smaller disk image like
that of a CD or DVD.

3) Burn ISO file. You'll see that this, then, is almost the
only step required. The resulting burned CD will have files
on it.

4) There are also utilities available that allow you to
mount and/or view and/or extract the contents of an ISO file
without burning it - I think 7-zip is just one example. But
again, that's not the point. If I want to distribute an
image of something that you must burn to CD in order to, for
example, boot from - then an ISO is perfect.

Leo


-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFIbUHbCMEe9B/8oqERAttwAJ9xgKuEwYc+0W7w0dIwwGivxZ2qBQCfefMH
c121iwmE7j+14YpR3dEuqp8=
=G6vR
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Scott
September 8, 2008 10:57 AM

Thanks for the info. Very helpful. FYI for windows users, there is a virtual CD driver provided by Microsoft for XP (also Vista, but I didn't research that one) that is available from MS download center - fairly simple to install and use - just make sure your ISO files are not buried too deep in the file structure - if the folder path is too long the mount will fail - I moved the ISO files to a folder on my desktop and then was able to mount them easily. Go to http://microsoft.com/downloads and search for winxpvirtualcdcontrolpanel to find the page to download from.

shak
September 11, 2008 5:48 PM

I have burned the ISO file onto the disk, run the disk it opens up and i just have the same programme on the disk, and no i can't extract a damn thing! it just won't open, originally it wouldn't and after wasting a CD for burning it still won't! i don't know what to do? have you any other suggestions?

When you burn the ISO to disk you must use the "Burn ISO" function of your burning software, NOT the regular file burning options.

-Leo

Vito
September 25, 2008 4:58 AM

hey just found this good stuff Leo. I use Daemon tools its a really good program id reccomend trying it

gio
October 4, 2008 9:09 AM

hello
i have downloaded office2008 from utorrent.
After completion the download it came one ISO file. I could not find setup file. Please help me how can i install msoffice. there is no setup file.but file size is 530MB. please help me

Downloading Office as you have done is software piracy.
- Leo
05-Oct-2008

Robel
October 25, 2008 12:35 PM

Thanks so much! Some people already rold me what it was all aboutand how i should use them but I didn't understand completely. Your explanation i much more accurate and resourceful. Thanks Leo!

I recommend usng Roxio Easy Media Creator Home for using ISO files... it's really practical!

Elizabeth
October 30, 2008 7:13 AM

Leo.....please don't recommend 7 Zip without giving the full story. I tried to use it to extract an iso file (as discussed above) and it didn't work. And....now it has populated itself, after a complete uninstall, into my settings as the default file type for .zip folders. Can you please suggest how I may return these settings to normal again? Thanks

The full story? From my perspective is the full story is that 7-Zip works well and I continue to recommend it.

Without knowing more details of your failure - "it didn't work" doesn't tell me much - there's nothing I can do with that to alter my recommendation at all.

As to resetting it to normal - what's normal? Honest question, different people want different things. The quickest way is to install an alternative like WinZip, if that's the way you want to go. To re-enable Windows' support, see this article: Compressed Folders (built-in support for ZIP files) out at annoyances.org

Finally, it's not at all uncommon for programs not to know what things should be reset to when they are uninstalled. Yes, they could, and should, but many don't.
- Leo
01-Nov-2008

Prudence
November 11, 2008 5:08 AM

I still don't get it, so how do i extract the needed files to run the program? let's say from a downloaded torrent? could you help me step by step cause I'm totally technologically unsaavy. thanks much!

Burn the ISO to a CD or DVD using the burning software's ISO functions. Then, when you load the CD normally as a data CD the contents will be accessible.
- Leo
11-Nov-2008

Henry Lu
November 11, 2008 6:47 AM

Daemon Tools Lite is what I use to "mount images" of ISO. It is free and really a neat little program to use.

Steve
November 15, 2008 12:43 AM

Here's the frustration...I've burned an iso file to a CD, but all I get is the image, and none of the files...I tried six different iso burning programs, same results..Is there something I'm missing?

Apparently. You don't burn an ISO like you do a normal file. You must use the burning programs "burn from ISO" function. Most have it. (In IMGBurn, for example, it's the "Write" mode.)
- Leo
15-Nov-2008

Lotus
November 16, 2008 9:09 PM

An ISO file is like packing up and going on vacation. It is sitting in some other place. To bring it 'home', it must be burned by using the ISO burning function to make it work as it was originally, on a CD or DVD. One mistake that people make is that many ISO files are very large, and if it is over the size of the CD, it won't burn properly. Usually if the ISO is over 700 megs, then you'll need to burn to a DVD writeable disc. Once you have burned it, eject the disc, then re-insert it to load up as it was in its original state.

Arthur HC Williams
November 22, 2008 5:12 AM

If you live in Australia, there is a copy of ImgBurn on the DVD with the current, December 2008, PCUser magazine.
Arthur HC Williams
Cairns, Queensland, Oz

mac
November 22, 2008 5:32 PM

Use winrar to open iso files

Robert Peterson
December 1, 2008 9:45 AM

I am having an issue moving ISO images to my external hard drive. It tells me that there is not enough memory to transfer the file to the hard drive, but there is 115 GB of space. Is there something in the ISO format that will not allow me to store them on an external drive?
Thanks
Robert

Darren
December 23, 2008 12:44 PM

Is it possible to transfer the ISO file directly to a device (eg PSP)without having to burn it onto a disk.

Greg
December 30, 2008 12:19 AM

I have used IMGBurn to burn an ISO file to a DVD+RW disc. It goes through the full procedure and says that burning is complete, although when I re-insert the disc there are no files or folders evident and it shows that there is O bytes Free Space and Total Size is 0 bytes. The original file was about 2.5 GBytes. I have had the same result with Active ISO Burner.Can you please help?

Remember that you must use the burning software's steps specifically for ISO files. In order to make them work you do not burn them like normal files. Check the program's documentation.
- Leo
30-Dec-2008

Patch
January 1, 2009 7:20 PM

I used daemon lite, but personally i preferred isodisc. The program itself is like 600 kb and its simple.. You can burn as well as access with ghost drives, it give you 26, so u have plenty.

wangYu
January 8, 2009 6:33 AM

Hi, i have downloaded this game from web and the problem is that there is no way that i could burn that game into a disc as the memory of that game is like almost 7GB and ofcourse, it is an ISO format file. So please comment on how can i install the game? Like, is there a way to have it installed without having that ISO file burned to an external disc? If no, what are the other options? and yes, i also have a extractor which normally works for opening RAR format files but that too doesnt seem to work on ISO format i guess.

luisvig
February 2, 2009 9:01 AM

I am having an issue moving ISO images to my external hard drive. It tells me that there is not enough memory to transfer the file to the hard drive, but there is 115 GB of space. Is there something in the ISO format that will not allow me to store them on an external drive?
Thanks
Robert

Well, I had the same problem, but you can easily avoid it by giving the order to transfer (copy) a big file using the system symbol as a DOS command: copy f:\xxx.iso d:\ or so, and it works for files of any size.

Cheers,

Luis

Victor
March 4, 2009 4:41 AM

Well I have had trouble with the ISO files too...i have used IMGburn and clicked on "write mode" but in this case i downloaded a game file WITH the ISO image file in it and there was also this other file called the "disc image file" do i burn them together? or burn the ISO file or the disk image file?

jack
March 15, 2009 5:53 AM

Hi, i have downloaded this game from web and the problem is that there is no way that i could burn that game into a disc as the memory of that game is like almost 7GB and i exracted this game to a folder i installed the game on my computer, but it asks for the cd, how do i change the game acess my folder as it is acessing drive.

Arpit Srivastava
March 31, 2009 4:19 AM

let me know.. better tool for opening the ISO files.

jennifer
April 6, 2009 10:01 AM

Similar to Jack's issue, I have an ISO file that is almost 7GB in size. Thanks to this thread, I now understand that I need to burn the ISO with specific software. Before I get to that step, however, I need to figure out what I can burn the ISO file *onto*. I have a DVD here but it's only 4.7GB in size. Any suggestions are welcome!

Stefana
April 11, 2009 1:16 PM

Hi guys,
I have an iso file also and I managed to open it with Undisker...a piece of software that I found on google search.
See if that helps

The Promis
April 13, 2009 5:50 AM

Hey Guys,
There is a software Named PowerIso or MagicISo
All Of You Can Open .ISO files , .Bin and ...
There

Thanks
Promis

Richard
May 7, 2009 12:49 AM

i just downloaded a software program to help with my uni study. its a human anatomy and physiology cd. its one big iso file and ive managed to unzip its contents but how do i burn it to disc as though it was just bought off the shelf?? do i put all the files that were unzipped on the disc or is there something else i need to do?

Phyllis Dwyer
May 19, 2009 4:00 PM

I have DVd's with video images - I'm trying to import them so I can edit them. Windows Movie Maker doesn't recognize them so I downloaded them onto my computer - still no luck. They saved as ISO files. Now what? They play just fine in Windows Media Player.

Julian
May 27, 2009 11:14 AM

I had to format my PC, before that my ISO files appeared like ABCDEF.ISO; right now after the format they appear as a RAR file so my questions here how do I do to put the things the way they were? and sorry my ignorance about it; is this a real problem?.
I appreciate your help. Thanks

james
June 16, 2009 2:38 PM

i have a psp and i have been trying to put games on it. but i think i need an iso file. how can i get an iso file without makeing a cd? do i have to put it on a cd? i dont want to put it on a cd.

sh
August 6, 2009 11:16 PM

I recently download a game with 20 iso files. how do you combine all the individual iso files (20 files)for the game to work or is the a way to install the game using the 20 iso files? I can't open the iso file with winzip. any other software i can use

C.
August 10, 2009 3:42 AM

Thanks a lot
used winrar to open the iso file. This was a good explanation
Thank you

joed kevin
September 10, 2009 6:51 AM

haha,,,i thought it was something im not gonna open my file coz its iso...u simply need 7zip.i already have it and i didnt know that i can open iso files here ,lol

Amanda
September 20, 2009 6:45 PM

Thank You!! This helped a lot. Expecially the 7 Zip part thanks!

Vijay Bubna Blue Sun Info
October 11, 2009 3:52 PM

Hey Guys,

my WinRar worked with iso its good one and free


Vijay BUbna

Adam
October 23, 2009 2:50 PM

My brother works in IT and runs ISO's without burning them to discs several times a day at his job, so he knows what he's doing. He said the program called MagicDisc works great.

Mid-Tech
October 26, 2009 8:24 AM

ISO-Burner Freeware is very user friendly, free, and very fast. Here is a link where you can download it: http://www.ntfs.com/iso-burning.htm

Enjoy.

Michael, London
October 27, 2009 3:45 AM

Thank you so much for your simple and clear advice - I've often had iso files and not had a clue what to do with them. The 7-zip advice worked a treat, so thanks a lot :)

Steve Lewis
November 7, 2009 6:15 AM

I have a couple of iso files on my computer that my son installed on the system - both relate to the Halo game.

I'm trying to defrag as my files are hopelessly split up, but these two files with over 100,000 fragments between them are accounting for a 32% defragmentaion on the disk, and the system will not include them in the defrag. How can I force the defrag?

GNANASEKAR
November 16, 2009 8:44 AM

i have downloaded a pc game which is in iso file format, how do i have run and install the game

Josh
November 18, 2009 5:49 AM

damon tool lite works really well for this :)

Alan Hardin
December 15, 2009 9:55 PM

Downloaded an auto repair manual which is a ISO file. Downloaded to my hard drive. When I try to open a Roxio web site pops up. Confused. How do I open this file?

Joshua
December 21, 2009 3:07 PM

Ha! I've been dealing with ISO's for several months now. I thought that I'd had the most ingenious method until now. I'd downloaded the free trial of Alcohol 52% (I didn't want to pay for 120%, and the trial for this was timed). Once I had the ISO mounted on a virtual drive, I'd copy them to my hard drive. I had to clutter up my drive and go through some hell before I finally got Alcohol 52% to work right. Then, I read this article and found out that you can just use 7-Zip. Thanks so much!

By the way, if anyone wants to burn ISO's or similar images, I recommend getting the free program Imgburn. Don't bother with any other programs.

marco
December 23, 2009 3:56 AM

Mount the ISO with Daemon Tools lite ;)
it works great and easy .. :P

MFC
January 4, 2010 12:47 PM

Thanks for the great tips Leo but I still have a problem with 2 ISO files (others I've tried work fine). I've tried 7-Zip, ImgBurn, Roxio, Magic disc with similar failure symptoms from all. I have followed your instructions for burning ISO back to a disc. Most of the time the disc seems to burn OK, even verifies OK, but when I try to see the files on it, I get a msg: "Windows cannot read from this disc...". If I try to extract the ISO file using 7-Zip it says "Cannot open file... as archive". I don't know what the source of the original files were - could the problem be that they were from a Mac or are ISO files only from Windows? An interesting symptom is that it is a DVD (I tried both DVD-R and DVD+RW) as the ISO files are both around 1.4 Gb, yet when I re-insert the disc after burning it, the description changes from "DVD-RAM drive" to "CD Drive".

It's very possible that the ISO contains an image of a disk formatted for another system - your Mac assumption is a possibility. You might try reading the CD you create on a Mac or Linux box.
Leo
05-Jan-2010

craig sheppe
February 3, 2010 3:27 AM

Awesome. Thank you! I was able to extract from a .r00 sequence using 7zip. I was then able to view and extract the contents of the .iso file. Files ready to use.

Renee
March 11, 2010 8:50 PM

Leo, I'm having a problem with a series of iso files that were created while backing up one CD. I want to reinstall the application that was backed up, but the files contained in the iso files all have the same name. How do I restore the original CD? When I opened the first file it launched Roxio and began burning a CD, but ignored the remaining archive files. I'm lost, but need to restore my hard drive this week. I guess my question is how do I combine 7 iso files back into one workable file? Thanks!

Hard for me to say without knowing what the backup program was that created them. Typically each ISO represents a separate CD, so you would burn each (in ISO mode) to a CD. But I could be wrong, it could be something else entirely. This has instructions for using ImgBurn to burn an ISO: ImgBurn - Free CD/DVD Burning Tool
Leo
12-Mar-2010

5k0rpius
April 1, 2010 9:23 PM

The ONLY thing I recommend anyone to use is MagicISO. Its free to download at http://www.magiciso.com/tutorials/miso-magicdisc-mount.htm?=mdisc_hlp106 If you already have an ISO file that you need to read, mount it as a virtual drive. This removes the limitations of a physical drive.

Jim de Graff
April 11, 2010 6:52 AM

I've used several virtual drivers to mount image files (MagicDisk, Daemontools, MS virtualCD) but the easiest and best IMHO is VirtualCloneDrive from SlySoft. It is free and can be downloaded from

http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html

sganesan
April 13, 2010 4:54 PM

i have an iso file....i don't know hw 2 open it....s it similar 2 daemon tools.....can i use isobuter.......

cesar
May 3, 2010 1:11 PM

hi i dont know what kind of 7zip download to open iso files without CD

gary taylor
June 1, 2010 1:01 PM

Download movie but computer does not recognized file.

Sara Candor
June 5, 2010 7:43 PM

Oh, my...I found a gold mine!
I am shopping for a pc to replace my beloved (yes, I said that:) one of many years. Not replace really, just give it a rest and make the new one Work.
I came across this question in reviews, and wanted to know more about it. "Cons: DVD burner can never completely burn an iso file...anybody come across this before?"
It's been Years since I was pc shopping and I'm clueless....totally!
I wanted to know what an iso file was.
Thanks much,
Sara

Neeraj
June 22, 2010 9:04 AM

hello sir,
i have an iso file and i want to use it to make a bootable flash drive so that by using the flash drive i can install the software at boot time. Can u give me a procedure to do that.
Thanks

mpc
July 13, 2010 6:37 AM

how to download the content with .iso extent into the computer to see

colorzone
September 8, 2010 12:11 AM

I use WinMount to extract ISO, mount ISO as a disk, make a ISO file. Only one software will do.
www.winmount.com

Kanchana De Alwis
September 24, 2010 11:55 PM

I would like to know about what is an ISO file how can it be open in windows vista and windows 7

Please read the article you just commented on.
Leo
25-Sep-2010
lalit
October 5, 2010 9:49 AM

I have downloaded a xp ghost file it says it is an ISO file it was in zip format upon unzipping it gave 4-5 files with different extensions like bin how do I install or use the software
Thanks in advance and regards
I am very new to computer
Lalit

iVibe
October 14, 2010 3:04 PM

I love your site, I love that you take your time to publish for people like me, I love the way you explain so simply and I love the link to buy you a latte or link to your site. Being a newbie, I guess I will have to try the link first. But what it did chime in my mind was if you could post in a procedural manner such as "task". I read and read and the words make sense but when I open my [chime] file - it being rather simplified], I get nothing. I need steps 1., 2., and 3. so I can perform the action myself therefore putting it to memory. Thanks for everything Leo!

Anil Reddy
October 29, 2010 3:35 AM

Deamon Tools is also a way to extract data from ISO Files.

Wayno
October 30, 2010 7:06 PM

I just downloaded MS Office Suite as an ISO file. I tried to use ISObuster to extract the files to my hard drive, which it did successfully, however, when I attempt to launch the EXE file, I am getting an error that says "...the languageo of the file is not reconizable by the system..." I contacted Microsoft...they believe it might be an ISO software issue. I read above about Winmount. I will try that next, hopefully it will have a "trial download".
Thanks for the insight on the ISO files, I will comment on my success or lack thereof, with Winmount. Anybody have any similiar issuew with ISObuster??

saikumar
November 20, 2010 6:42 AM

hello,
i have downloaded a book, which is in .iso format.
i had extracted by WINRAR and then I got the setup.exe file and some more files. then, I have installed the book, while opening the book, it is asking me that " it can't be opened without the original CD placed in the disk.
please give me the solution to open the book.

thanking you

saikumar

If you've received an ISO file and not an actual CD I can only assume you've obtained the book illegally. In either case, contact the publisher either for assistance if this is how they sold it, or purchase the book and get the CD and you'll be fine.
Leo
20-Nov-2010

anj
November 22, 2010 8:58 PM

Hi there!

I've recently created a virtual drive in windows 7, but I can't seem to open the game I want to play. All files are in said drive, but everyone talks about an ISO file I need to open. I can't find anything labelled as an ISO file and I can't seem to create the cd/dvd image from the real cd either, because I'm using a netbook.
:/ help?

Jim de Graff
December 7, 2010 10:39 AM

I recommend Virtual Clone Drive from SlySoft. Once installed it creates a virtual drive. You can easily mount an iso file by double clicking the file. You can download it free at http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html

Whenever I get something commercial on disk (install media for a new system, peripheral, or software distribution), the first thing I do is make an iso file from each disk. I then put the physical disks safely away and install only from the iso. Not only is it faster but I never wear out the originals.

Glenn P.
December 9, 2010 1:40 AM

Jim de Graff wrote:

"Not only is it faster but I never wear out the originals."

CD's (and DVD's too, for that matter) are read using lasers. Nothing physical  ever touches them.

In other words, they can never "wear out" the way a phonograph record might do.

CDs and DVDs are known to degrade over time. I can certainly call that "wearing out".
Leo
09-Dec-2010

Daniel
December 24, 2010 9:27 PM

hi there leo,
im in a situation where i got a game off a friend, and it wasnt on a disk, but on a portable hardrive. The game was in "ISO" format....& and im a first timer when it comes to extracting "ISO" files... the game is for pc and i have the correct software 'NTI' to extract the file (i think).... are there any basic guidlines i can follow to get the file from an 'ISO' to the fully working game...
Cheers,
Daniel

Jim de Graff
January 4, 2011 12:21 PM

There was an earlier comment that stated "CD's (and DVD's too, for that matter) are read using lasers. Nothing physical ever touches them. In other words, they can never "wear out" the way a phonograph record might do."

In order to use the physical CD/DVD you must remove it from its sleeve/jewel case and place it in your CD/DVD tray. After using you must repeat the process in reverse. At any time the disk is subject to being scratched, fingerprinted or dropped. And, as Leo states, they can degrade over time.

And for anyone who has to maintain machines (workstations or servers) remotely, using iso files means you can mount/dismount virtual disks without having to be physically at the machine.

sabine
January 20, 2011 1:21 AM

If you want to make a CD/DVD copy of the ISO file then you have to burn it to CD/DVD.
If you want a copy just on your hard drive then just unzip it.
I used the open source software mentioned above and it is as good as any.

EJBarkon
January 28, 2011 7:58 PM

Is it true that changing a .img file to .ISO will make it readable as an ISO?

Also note: MSDNAA (Microsoft Academic Alliance) distributes (legal current version) software through Schools (if you are enrolled in CIS courses). They now often come in ISO format. If you're having trouble extracting it can be because of the way the file downloaded. School 'Help Desk' or the department that monitors the Alliance should be able to help.

I've never heard of IMG and ISO being the same things with different names. I would not expect it to work.
Leo
29-Jan-2011

John Carkit
March 17, 2011 3:25 AM

Hi Lio Could I put your articles about .iso files on my website.

I'm looking for some articles or links to go on it.

Thanks

John

Thank you for asking prior to just copying our content. :-)

By and large you may not post full articles, but you may post portions. In addition we do have a growing set of articles that are explicitly available for republication.

This article discusses the terms, what's available and where to find it: http://ask-leo.com/C1824
Leo
18-Mar-2011

Ajay
March 27, 2011 7:22 AM

Hi there Leo,
the situation is that I downloaded a game torrent from the internet, and it turned out to be in an "ISO" Format..how do I open it and play the game?
Cheers,
Ajay

Please read the article you just commented on. It answers this question.
Leo
27-Mar-2011

jacob
April 22, 2011 7:20 AM

I have been trying to use isos for games and i don't think i am doing it right. Do i need to use a disk for isos or something to that effect?

kevin
April 26, 2011 11:36 AM

I would like to burn a CD of my computer that I could use to "Ghost" to another PC. Where do I find this .ISO file to burn to a CD?

Richard
June 25, 2011 4:54 PM

Hi Leo
Strait and simple, my daughter in law was given by her father a Acer pc. Naturally I tried to make sure she did not go to certain sites (11 years old) Now I have the predicament on my hands. I forgot the Administrator password. The fact thazt I had to retire early, handicapped with enough pills to make the local pusher happy, it doesn't help me settle my problem. I'm kind of new with my PC friend so after asking I am told that if I get a ISO file with NTFC , FAT, FAT 32 Bottom line my problem will be solved when I am downloading my iso file. Well How do you download an ISO file and I read, and I read and Sir, I know what it is, what it is used for, how it originally was found but...lollI feel like saying now seriously guys how do I physically ...you see what I mean. You guys are really good at what you do and I have a lot of respect for that, on the other I'm not exactly what you could call an idiot. This is more venting then anything else. You've helped me a couple of times before and I wanted to bookmark you and then came Vista...

Mark J
June 26, 2011 12:52 AM

@Richard
Here's an article previously published on Ask-Leo which explains how to change the administrator password when you've forgotten it.

http://ask-leo.com/ive_lost_the_password_to_my_windows_administrator_account_how_do_i_get_it_back.html

Emma
August 5, 2011 5:54 PM

Hi!
I downloaded an ISO file for a game. I want to play it, but can i do so without copying to a disk?

Mark J
August 5, 2011 6:28 PM

@Emma
Programs like winrar can unpack an ISO an in some cases the game can be installed from that.

Kit
August 27, 2011 6:50 PM

Hi Leo. I had the same problem with iso file but then I followed your recommendation. I extracted the files from iso file and I can use them now. Thanks heaps!

Mike
September 12, 2011 4:46 AM

what program is .iso file associated with? I associated it with burn 4 free and that is not correct.

jamshid
September 14, 2011 1:57 AM

i had a iso file but changed it to mdx how to i get it back to iso

Riz
September 16, 2011 3:14 AM

hello
i have downloaded Driv3r PC game from utorrent.
After completion the download it came one ISO file. I could not find setup file. Please help me how can i install Driv3r PC game. there is no setup file.but file size is 3.49GB. please help me

Bobby Joe Jericho
September 23, 2011 12:31 AM

Thanks for your help.
We just need to use WinRAR, WinZIP, or 7Zip to extract or open it.

Tony
October 24, 2011 4:08 PM

So then can one do an iso of its operating system on a netbook that does not have a burner, and then share it to my other computer that does have a burner?

Will
May 11, 2012 11:38 PM

Thank you so much. 7-zip works so well

yael
May 27, 2012 10:35 PM

thank you! you've changed my computer life for the better!

Camran Manikfan
October 3, 2012 11:21 PM

Utilities like Magic ISO or Virtual CloneDrive (the latter from Slysoft.com) will mount the ISO image file on a virtual disk. :) Of course, if you just want to take a look at the things inside or view and open the setup.exe file, 7-Zip and WinRAR work just as well.

Camran Manikfan
October 4, 2012 8:46 AM

I forgot about this one which a college friend of mine uses - Power ISO.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.