Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How I use ISO images

What is ISO?

An ISO image is an archive file of an optical disc using a conventional ISO format that is supported by many software vendors. ISO image files typically have a file extension of .ISO but Mac OS X ISO images often have the extension .CDR. The name ISO is taken from the ISO 9660 file system used with CD-ROM media but the term ISO image can refer to any optical disc image.

- Wikipedia


The usage of ISO extension file is wide but the main purpose of me creating images is to backup the files. I find that it is quite easy to organize files and folders by ISO images.

For example, if you have tons of photos from your previous trips to various places such as Paris, Japan, US and Malaysia, then you can create different images to identify the photos or even group them altogether into one ISO image but different folders.

Example 1 - Different image to categorize

In this case, you will have Paris.ISO, Japan.ISO, US.ISO and Malaysia.ISO. What you will see from your hard drive is only four ISO files and all the photos are stores inside.

Example 2 - Only one image file

Create only Photo.ISO but have four different folders as Paris, Japan, US and Malaysia

My article about Backup and Restore Your Hard Drive Using ISO has described that you do not have to go through the installation process if you compile an ISO image of your hard drive.

For your information - PSP

ISO images are also used in PSP. The games are extracted from UMD disc and compiled into ISO or CSO files. CSO is a compressed format of ISO. Playing games from ISO is much faster than playing from the UMD drive.


Having one ISO file is like having a mini hard drive. You cannot read ISO files just by double-clicking it. Daemon Tools is a popular tool where you can mount the ISO files as another drive.

For example, if your C and D drive are hard disk drive and E drive is you DVD-ROM, then you can mount your ISO file as F drive or G drive and so on. Once mounted, you can view your files in the ISO file through the drive you have assigned to.


ImgBurn is a freeware that allows you to burn ISO images into CDs or DVDs. You can also create ISO images using the software. Do not worry. If you use the image burn function, the software will extract all the files in your ISO images and burn the files into the CDs or DVDs. However, if you use the normal copy function, the CDs or DVDs will only show your .ISO extension files.

Nero does the same but I find that it installs quite a lot of craps.


* Files store in ISO files cannot be deleted or moved easily like your files in your hard drive * Once you mount the image drive, you can drag the files to your hard drive

Some little problems

* To add files into your ISO images, you need to re-compile * If you delete the ISO file and remove from recycle bin, that's it

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