What are ISO Image Files and how do I use Them?

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Many products are posted as ISO-9660 image files. An ISO-9660 image file is an exact representation of a CD or DVD, including the content and the logical format. The most common use of an image file is to write its contents to a blank CD-R or DVD-R, resulting in an identical copy of the original disc, including file names, directories, and volume label information. ISO image files may also be opened and their contents copied to a local directory, much like ZIP files. ISO files may also be virtually mounted and accessed as a device. These three methods of using ISO images are described below. Note: you may have to rename the file extension from .IMG or .UDF to .ISO, depending on your software.

Writing ISO files to CD-R or DVD-R

Testing CD-Rs and DVD-Rs

After a CD/DVD-R has been written, you can use the CRC tool to verify that the file was successfully written.

  1. The CRC305.exe tool can be downloaded from MSDN Subscriber Downloads in the Tools, SDKs, DDKs folder.
  2. From a command prompt, run CRC305 filename (where filename is the image file name.)
  3. Run CRC305 x: (where x is the drive letter of the drive containing the CD/DVD-R). The CRC values should match.

You can also use the ScanDisc option in Nero CD-DVD Speed to test the CD/DVD you burned.

The contents of image files may be accessed directly using third-party tools. Using this method you can extract the files from an image file to a temporary folder on your hard drive, then run setup. The following tools offer such image file support:

The products listed above have been known to work. Other products that can manipulate ISO files may work, but have not been tested.

Mounting ISO files virtually
The following tool for Windows XP allows image files to be mounted virtually as CD-ROM/DVD-ROM devices. This tool is provided here for your convenience and is unsupported by Microsoft Product Support Services.

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