- 1 What are ISO files and what are they used for?
- 2 The best programs to open ISO files on Windows and MacOS
- 3 Differences between images and ISO files
- 4 How to work and mount an ISO image
- 5 Advantages of ISO files
- 6 What do I need to burn an ISO image to USB
- 7 Things not to do with an ISO image
- 8 What is the best tool to use when mounting an ISO file?
Do you want to know the best programs to open ISO files on Windows and macOS? ISO is the most popular program on the Internet to make identical copies of the contents of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray. It is used to back up optical drives or to spread operating systems.
To open files in ISO on Windows and macOS programs are generally used. These allow you to modify the files stored on the computer. In this guide you will find a list of the 15 best and some issues related to ISO files.
What are ISO files and what are they used for?
ISO files, also known as ISO image, is a file format used to save a completely exact copy of an optical drive’s file system. When making a copy of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray with this format, the result obtained will be an identical disc from that optical drive, and when you load it into the computer it is as if you were using the original disc.
Due to its ability to preserve the original format, it makes it very useful for Internet distribution of those files where it is necessary. prevent data loss from occurring or prevent the original structure from being modified when the transfer is made.
It is the most used format to make the distribution of copies of operating systems, such as Windows 10 or GNU/Linux-based operating systems, because downloading it is as if downloading from the original disk. It is also used to make digital backup copies of an original CD, DVD or Blu-ray or other applications.
The extension of these files is .iso, and they can be obtained different types of programs to make copies of optical drives to this format, and thus be able to take a CD or DVD to other types of media such as a USB drive or a hard drive, being sure that the content will remain intact.
The best programs to open ISO files on Windows and MacOS
To allow them to be create and open, in an easy and safe way, any ISO file, There are applications for both Windows and MacOS computers, which offer you a variety of tools that are necessary to carry out the entire process.
It’s one of the best programs to open ISO files in Windows, and it is one of the most recommended tools for open ISO images in an easier way. In addition, it also allows you to make backup copies on CD and also on DVD and Blu-Ray, and even allows you to create boot disks for the operating system.
The program interface is completely intuitive and very accessible to all users, since it is very easy to handle and also provides excellent power in any process that is executed. One of the advantages of this program is that it takes up very little memory space.
This is another one of those best programs to open ISO files addressed to the MacOS operating system users. It is a program that allows you to mount different types of image and VHD files, and has the necessary tools to be able to play FLAC and APE audio files. It is not a free application and it is priced around 18 euros, but you can do a free trial for 20 days.
Among some of the other features offered by this program are that it allows create and open images of CD, DVD and HDD discsas well as features that allow you to unzip files, organize your favorite documents into a smart collection, and create bootable USB drives for Windows, Linux, and MacOS operating systems directly from your Mac.
More guides on ISO files and images:
This is another of the alternatives available for Mac. Another of the best programs to open ISO files that has the ability to open virtual disk images such as ISO, CDR, BIN, NCD, DMD, CUE and many other features. It comes to be one of the best solutions to generate your own discs, that is, a CD, DVD or Blu-Ray from the comfort of your computer.
In addition to its main features, it should be noted that it has an extensive range of security measures, which prevents you from losing disks due to errors in creating the image. Additionally, it is a very easy to use application, it allows you to format rewritable discs, it has the ability to create different types of content and it supports virtual images.
Furious ISO Mount
This is one of the applications that offers more advantages to the user, as well as different functionalities, based mainly on create ISO, BIN, MDF, IMG and NRG image files automatically. It also has the ability to create a mount point within your home directory and create log files of all the commands that are required to manually mount and unmount images.
Among its main features are that it can automatically unmount image files, makes it easy to delete the mount directory and thus restore the home directory to its original state. It has the function of recording files in ISO and IMG format on an optical disc. The downside is that it’s only available for MacOS and Linux operating systems, but it’s free and easy to use.
This is another tool aimed at Windows users, either version XP or later, and who also have 64 MB of memory and at least 10 MB of free space on the computer’s hard drive. This allows it to be downloaded and installed without any problem, and to be able to use it to mount ISO files. It allows create a large number of virtual drives to mount ISO. Additionally, the program can generate ISO images from a real CD or DVD and is one of the easiest programs to use.
Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel
A tool offered by Microsoft Windows and that was developed by the company itself with the aim of simplifying those processes in which the user needs open ISO disc image files as a virtual CD-ROM drive.
It is considered a good option for users of any version of Windows who have the need to read disk images, with the aim of being able to recover backup files of the images that have been selected or to be able to install a specific program on the computer. It is a free tool.
This program is available for Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux, and is completely free. It has the ability to burn optical discs in a simple way, so you can save an ISO image file to a CD or DVD without any difficulty.
If you wish create an ISO image with Nero Express, you just have to click on the Nero Express program icon when the computer starts, and once inside the program, click on Image / project / copy, and then click on Disc image or saved project. When you verify that everything is correct within the final recording configuration window, you just have to press the Record button and that’s it.
Pismo File Mount
This is another one of the best free ISO file openers that has a CD and DVD image file reader, which can instead be saved as a read-only folder to allow access to the content. It has a compact file set reader and offers the possibility to run the applications that are contained in them.
It’s just compatible with Windows operating system. Some of its features include: it has a ZIP reader, it has options to create private folders that can be used to store confidential data, it also has a complete integration with system explorer, as well as full Windows file system support. Additionally, the interface allows for scripting and automation.
This is one of the best known programs to handle ISO files, since it offers a large number of functionalities, and especially because it is very compatible with Windows, MacOS and Linux. It is one of the most recommended tools for processing CD, DVD, BD image files. It is also used to perform other operations with CDs or DVDs.
PowerISO offers different options for you to open, extract, create, burn, edit, compress, split, convert between ISO/BIN and other formats, and encrypt a wide variety of ISO files, as well as mount them with internal virtual drive. The program allows making bootable ISO files, as well as create bootable CD and DVD discs. It is totally free and you can get it in different languages.
This application makes it easier creating bootable media of different types from external drives such as SD cards and USB pen drives. It also allows you to open and mount ISO images on a USB or a bootable CD in order to be able to carry out tests.
It is another of the best programs to open ISO files for free, which is constantly updated in order to offer the best service and provide greater versatility, such as the ease of formatting a drive and install linux disk images, Windows and FreeDOS. However, it is a slow program when it comes to processing the tasks to be executed.
Virtual Clone Drive
It is a free application that despite being virtual works exactly like a physical CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray drive and that offers support for all the most popular image formats used by users, such as ISO, IMG, BIN, DVD, CCD and UDF. It can also emulate CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray drives.
It is noteworthy that the ISO image files can be inserted from a network drive by simply clicking on the virtual drive from the hard drive. This program allows images to be mounted as if it were a local disk, and one of its advantages is that it offers support for even work with 15 units at the same time, allows it to be integrated into Windows explorer and automatically mounts the last image created.
This Windows app can run on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and even older operating systems like XP up to W10. It works like a CD, DVD and BD emulator, and allows you to open disk images quickly and safely, just by clicking on them in the browser.
It is an open source program, which you can download for free and that offers you support for an unlimited number of virtual drives. It allows you to save images as ISO, CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, IMG and also offers a portable version and excellent data and image support for DVD-VIDEO and BD-VIDEO. The program is available in more than 20 languages.
WinX DVD Ripper
Here you have another one of the best software to open ISO files that offers a high quality to copy or convert the DVD ISO image information in the most popular video formats used on Macs, since it is only compatible with this operating system.
With this application you can also do backups to DVDs, that are completely identical and that also maintain the quality of the original. In addition, it also allows you to make copies to a USB memory, with great clarity, efficiency and in a direct way.
It is available for both Windows and Mac, and it allows open an ISO file extension and even, you can extract the contents of such an archive very easily. It is another option that can be found for free.
For open ISO files with WinZip, you have to save the selected file on the desktop and when you start the program, you have to open that compressed file from the File menu. After doing this, choose the files and folders and then click Unzip, so you can locate the extracted files in the destination folder.
Another solution developed to be used in MacOS and that stands out for having a very easy to use interface, which makes it appropriate for any type of user, even if they have no experience in the use of these applications. It is also a free program that has specific options for opening and burning CDs and ISO disc images.
The program was designed to allow burning ISO files in a very simple way, since it is only enough to drag and drop the files, and then select the recording format that is required. This format can be ISO 9660, Apple ISO (ISO/HFS+) among others. One of its features is that it offers the option of adding comments to the copy that is made.
Differences between images and ISO files
It is necessary to take into account that ISO images are not themselves a file format, but it is a protocol with which it is encapsulated, known as ISO 9660 or the UDF, (Universal Disk Format). The most popular are ISO images, which have an .iso file extension, but there are many more on the market, with a large number of developers dedicated to creating this type of application in order to read and create ISO images.
The best known and accepted extensions are the ISO CUE, BIN and ISO type images, but many others can be found, including NRG, the Nero Burning Rom format, CIF, the Adaptec Easy CD Creator format, CCD the Clone CD format, MDF, the of the Alcohol 120% program, UIF, the MagicISO format, DAA, the ImgBurn format, the PowerISO format, IMG, and others less known such as the CSO format, the Daxter Creator format, BWI, which is the format of the BlindWrite program, the ISZ extension, the UltraISO program format and P2I, which is the Power2Go format, among many more
Each of these formats have its own advantages and disadvantages, that will depend on the features that their developers have included in each of the respective applications designed so that these proprietary ISO images can be read and written.
How to work and mount an ISO image
Before you can use an ISO image it must be created first, which can be done very easily, with any program that supports this function, such as one of those mentioned above. When you have the image of the hard drive, CD, DVD or BR ready, you can start working with the file:
- The first step is to keep in mind that an ISO image can be store and execute or mount by some third party software, such as Virtual Clone Drive, Daemon Tools or even with the tool that is already included in the most modern versions of Windows.
- It also can record to optical disc or on a flash drive using one of the various applications that exist on the market to carry out this type of task: Nero, CDBurner XP, Free DVD ISO Burner, among others.
In the case of mount an image Using any of the tools mentioned, you can have the software available on your computer without having to resort to optical media, that is, instead of inserting the media (a CD) into the reader, you directly access the image that is stored on the computer.
This process of saving applications in an ISO image is very common in games that are very large, and they are executed in the same way as if they had been executed from the reader, but with the advantage that it will be done much faster, because the program does not have to wait for the rotation times that the reader performs, just as other factors that slow down the reading of data.
In case you only want to make an exact copy of the contents that are stored on the optic disc In order to have a copy of security of them, you just have to re-record the ISO image obtained directly on another optical medium and even on a memory or USB flash drive.
Steps to mount ISO image in Windows 10
The Windows 10 operating system is the first operating system from Microsoft that is capable of offering native support for ISO files, this means that Windows is responsible for performing the entire procedure itself. When you select the file that you are going to mount, you must click on the ISO file so that it is mounted automatically. Then you must perform these steps:
- Select mount: Right-clicking will open a context menu displaying various options. You must click on the Mount option from the context menu so that Windows 10 can do it automatically.
- Press DVD drive: When the ISO file is mounted, you should open the toolbar, and then in the left column you can see a new optical drive that is inside the This PC menu. Whether it’s a CD or DVD will depend on the file, and when you click on it you’ll be able to see inside it, just as if you were looking inside the original drive.
- Option to play with: If it is the case that the ISO file is from a music CD or a video DVD, when you right-click on it, you will see an option in the context menu to play it by selecting the compatible program that you have installed on your computer.
Steps to mount ISO image on macOS
Unsurprisingly, Apple also offers native support for ISO files on macOS, which means that you will also be able to use it on any iMac or Macbook. Just double-click on the file as you do with any external drive, and in this way macOS will proceed to mount it automatically.
In case you don’t want to do it automatically, you can also right click on the file. By doing so you will see a context menu, where you must click on the option When you do this, a submenu will appear, where you will have to choose the DiskImageMounter option, which is the system utility that will allow you mount the files in ISO format.
After a few seconds of loading, macOS goes to create a new optical drive, and when you click on it you will have the option to open. In the event that it is a video or audio CD or DVD, you must drag it into the native playback application so that you can use it.
Advantages of ISO files
The main advantages of the ISO files are:
- Speed up: The main advantage of use an ISO image to do an installation, is that the reading speed is increased. The ISO image has the ability to read at speeds up to 10 times faster than modern physical CD-ROM drives.
- No physical damage: an ISO image It cannot be broken, scratched or damaged. Compact discs do get damaged, but ISO images don’t go out of use as often as a CD does.
- Attach file: Its alot easier to be able to put or upload an ISO image on a server or in a virtual machine, than using physical media. Access to a physical server is generally limited by distance, security control, or company policy.
What do I need to burn an ISO image to USB
For store or burn an ISO image on a pen drive or USB memory it is done the same as with any other file: it is dragged to the drive and left there. But if what you want is to record an ISO image of an operating system on a flash drive so that it can boot from the drive, the steps change completely. To be able to record an ISO image on a pen drive or USB memory card, the following steps must be followed:
- The first thing you are going to need is a flash drive or memory card with at least 8 GB capacity, although this will depend on the size of the ISO image you want to record.
- In this case, you must take into account if you are going to use the image to run the operating system on the flash drive, which is a method known as OS Live, so you will need the storage unit to have enough space to be able to work.
- But if you are going to use the ISO image on the pendrive only to install the operating system or some memory testing application, such as TestMem86+, it is enough that the storage unit has the necessary space for it to work correctly.
- Finally, you will need the ISO image that you want to burn to the flash drive. You can get this directly from its official sites or at any of the recognized download pages for free or paid applications that exist on the Internet.
Things not to do with an ISO image
When to perform a ISO image file there are some things not to do:
- The first thing is do not unzip the iso inside a directory on the hard drive.
- You should not burn this directory as if it were a data disc.
- ISOs that are downloaded and verified, when the medium is changed to another physical medium, can cause distortion in the links and thus lose their functionality.
- Note that the ISO is a file that is similar to a compressed, but that it is not the same, but rather an exact copy of it and its relationships within a given file system found on the CD.
- If the files are transferred to another file system, such as the hard disk, NTFS or FAT format, it is possible that the relationships between the files will change to be able to adapt to the system of the new disk and therefore it will no longer work. be executable. can only copy an ISO file to hard drive as ISO, without unpacking or trying to change its properties.
- Whenever possible, it is recommended not to download the ISOs with download managers. If you have a manager that opens when you start a download, it’s a good idea to disable it before you start. This is because the managers split the file into several parts, which are then joined when the download is finished, but the program can tell if the parts occupy entire files or only a part of them, which can cause small parts to be lost. of information, thus leaving the ISO almost useless.
What is the best tool to use when mounting an ISO file?
Although the new versions of Windows already come natively with a function to mount ISO files, the PowerISO program is without a doubt one of the best options that exist for third party software to mount ISO files. They offer additional features and tools and are very easy to use, even for inexperienced users.
The best programs to open ISO files facilitate handling and operation, in a simple way, guaranteeing the integrity of the data. The new versions of these operating systems already integrate their tools natively to carry out this operation.