What is an ISO file or “ISO image”? Wikipedia says: “An ISO image is an archive file of an optical disc, a type of disk image composed of the data contents from every written sector on an optical disc, including the optical disc file system. ISO image files usually have a file extension of .iso. … ISO images can be created from optical discs by disk imaging software, or from a collection of files by optical disc authoring software, or from a different disk image file by means of conversion.” ISO images it may be written to an optical disc such as CD or DVD.
How To Geek says: “An ISO file is a complete disc image of a CD or DVD bundled into a single file. You can mount an ISO file to make it available as a virtual CD or DVD, allowing you to convert physical discs to virtual ones.”
How To Geek lists three reasons why you might want to use ISO files.
- providing a disc to a virtual machine program
- saving a copy of a disc so that you can recreate it in the future if you need to
- to use old game or software discs on a modern computer that doesn’t have a disc drive. Although, you should note that some DRM copy protection schemes won’t work with ISO files, unless you jump through additional hoops
How To in Windows
Windows 8 and above can natively mount ISO files without any additional software, however, Windows does not have any built-in software to create ISO files. You need third-part software to do this. How To Geek suggests using the website ninite.com to download your software.
If you purchase an optical drive it may come with software. I have seen CyberLink software packaged with a drive more than one time. CyberLink’s Power2Go software application provides you with the ability to convert a CD or DVD to an ISO file, among other things. In Power2Go, select the Copy Disc menu (click the Copy Disc icon on the main page of the program). Click Save Disc Image. In the To section, change it to Save as type ISO.