How To Mount an ISO with PowerISO
ISO comes from ISO 9660, a standard published by the International Organisation for Standardisation, which defines a file system for CD/DVD media. An ISO file is essentially a cloned image file of the data stored on a physical CD or DVD. Mounting an ISO file is the processing of creating a virtual drive which is “loaded” with the ISO image. As far as the operating system is concerned, the mounted image is an actual disc drive, containing a DVD or CD.
There are many advantages to mounting ISO files over burning discs. Firstly, physical media such as DVDs and CDs are wasteful (particularly if you intend to use the contents only once), they can be scratched or damaged and they need somewhere secure to be stored in the “real” world. Secondly, ISO files can be easily mounted and accessed over a virtual private network. Finally, ISO images are many times faster to mount and read than real, physical discs.
The concept of mounting ISO files is not a new one, and consequently, there are a number of applications worthy of your time and money available on the internet. PowerISO is one of the better and more established solutions, and this guide will talk you through mounting an ISO file using this tool. Just follow the simple steps below to get started.
Once you have downloaded PowerISO from the URL provided, double-click the installer and follow the on screen prompts to complete installation.
After installation is complete, PowerISO will be integrated into Windows (meaning a PowerISO sub-menu will appear when files are right-clicked). Locate the ISO file to be mounted on your PC and right-click it.
In the PowerISO sub-menu, select Set Number of Drives and 1 Drives. This action creates a virtual drive. Locate My Computer on your PC, and you should be able to see a new drive (depending on how many actual drives you have, this may be named ‘F’, ‘G’ or something else).
The next step is to mount the ISO file to the new virtual drive you created in Step 3. Locate the ISO file on your PC again, right-click it and select PowerISO, Mount Image to Drive (x) (whatever PowerISO has labelled the virtual drive as).
The ISO file will now be mounted on the virtual drive. You can access it in My Computer in the same way you would a real drive. Double-click the virtual drive to open the ISO “disc”. Depending on the contents, your PC will either open the disc for exploring its contents, or launch the application installer/video.
Tips & Advice
- You can set up multiple virtual drives, all containing different ISO files – the limitation imposed by PowerISO is eight simultaneous drives, but less powerful PCs (particularly those with insufficient RAM) may experience performance issues with this.