Using ISO files in Windows

ISO files are becoming an increasingly popular way of distributing software, and perhaps you would like to learn more about exactly what they are and how to manipulate them. First of all we should look at what an ISO is and why they are so common.

What is an ISO?

The name ISO was taken from a standard used for CD media file systems, namely ISO 9660. In a nutshell an ISO contains all the files that would have been contained on a CD software program disc. ISO first came in to being in the days of CD’s but later included DVD’s and BD’s. Even though we could always have copied all the folders and files on a disc, sometimes in the thousands, an ISO contained all the files in one non compressed file that meant no individual file became lost or corrupted during handling. Providing care was taken during the creation of the ISO no amount of copying or handling of the file would result in an unreliable copy.

Mounting and Burning ISO’s.

“BURNING” an ISO as the name infers means to take a number of folders and or files and combine them into an ISO, or maybe use an existing ISO file and “BURN” that file to a CD or DVD. To make a copy or BURN an existing ISO file in Windows 7, 8, and 10 simply right click the ISO file and choose “Windows Disc Image Burner” from the menu or if you have more than one application that can do the task, select it from the “Open With” menu.


This Dialogue box will appear, place a CD or DVD in your drive and click “Burn” If you select “Verify” the written disc will be checked against the original file for accuracy, and therefore highly recommended.

The term “MOUNTING” is commonly used in association with ISO files and simply means to be able to look inside an ISO file and get access to the folders and files contained in them. It is the subject of this guide.

With versions of Windows up to and including Windows 7 it is necessary to use 3rd party, or add on software to access files contained within an ISO file. There are many commercial and free offerings to choose from and for this tutorial we will use “WinCDEmu” a free offering that works on every version of windows from XP onwards including both 32 and 64 bit systems. Download the software from HERE

Right click the .exe and select “run as administrator” accept the user account warning if applicable, and allow the driver and app to be installed.

Using the app is very straight forward, navigate to the ISO file you wish to mount and simply double left click it and the following dialogue box will open.


The default options should be fine for most users, but if necessary change to your preferences. Click OK. Another dialogue box will open and show any available options for the particular ISO file.

For this file, a windows 10 install ISO, we can run the setup program to install it, or open Windows Explorer to view and perhaps copy one or more files from the ISO. If we click “Open folder to view files” Explorer will open as shown below.

Here you can view, copy and carry out many folder and file actions like any other Explorer window.

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