How to mount an ISO disk image in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10


A disk image is an exact copy of a physical disk. Commonly, the file extension of a disk image is a .ISO file.The ISO file can then be loaded or mounted in a virtual drive to run. In this post, we shall see how to mount an ISO disk image in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

What is a disk image or virtual disk?

  • In computing, a disk image is a computer file containing the exact contents and structure of a disk or of an entire data storage device, such as a hard disk drive, tape drive, floppy disk, optical disc or USB flash drive. 
  •  A disk image is created using specialized software, usually called Disk Image burner or ISO burner etc. The end product is what we can call a "Virtual Disk".
  •  The most common format is the open standard  ISO image format. The disk image format may be unique to a particular software application such as P2I for Power to Go images created using Cyberlink Power 2 Go Disk Image burner.
What is the advantage of creating and keeping virtual disks or disk images instead of physical disks?
To mention a few, here are some advantages of creating disk image:
  • Virtual disks or disk images are more convenient to store. Since disk images are computer files basically, they can be stored on hard disks, DVDs, USBs etc. easily. Thus, it is more convenient to store than physical disks.
  • Safer - physical disks have the risk of damage.
  • Easier to share, copy, transfer - if there is a need to.

How to create a disk image of a physical disk?

Disk images are created or burned using a specialized software, generally called disk image burners or ISO burners etc. There are many free disk image burners which we can download and burn disk images with. Just Google "Disk Image Burner" and you will get many results. Some common ones are PowerISO, FreeISO Burner etc.

Some computers may also contain propriety software preinstalled for disk burning and disk image burning such as Cyberlink's Power2Go software with which we can burn disk as ISO image.

How to mount an ISO disk image on Windows 7, 8, and 10?

To mount and read a disk image or virtual disk such as an ISO file, a virtual drive is required. Like disk burners, there are many free versions out there that will do the job. In some cases, disk image burner software will also provide a virtual drive for the purpose of mounting disk images.

In earlier Windows, we needed a third party software to mount disk images since Windows did not support that by default. But Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 now has the feature to mount disk image built in which is quite handy.

You you have an ISO file for example, this is how to mount a disk image in Windows 7,8 and 10:

  • Locate the ISO disk image file
  • Right click on the ISO file and click MOUNT
  • The ISO disk image or virtual disk is mounted in a Virtual Drive created by Windows. You can see this if you open 'My Computer' or 'This PC'. The Virtual drive may look like any other physical DVD-ROM drive in 'My Computer'.
  • You can then run programs from the disk image or explore the files in the Windows Explorer like any normal DVD.
  •  After usage, we can also EJECT the disk like a regular disk

If you are running an older version of Windows, you would need third party software to mount ISO or disk images.  WinCDEmu, is a simple and open-source disc mounting program. It supports ISO files and other disc image formats. WinCDEmu is also useful on Windows 8 and 10 for features that may not be available on the built-in Windows disk image mount. WinCDEmu allows you to mount the BIN/CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, and IMG image files that Windows still doesn’t offer built-in  program.

Another program that I liked using for mounting virtual disk images was: Daemon Tools Lite (Free Version).

Likewise, there are several disk image mount software out there. You just have to find one that fits your requirement and use any.

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