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How to Mount an ISO File

How to Mount an ISO File

If you are clueless about mounting ISO files, this article will certainly be a helpful read. Here, I present ways in which you can easily get it done.
Omkar Phatak
With advances in computing technology, there has been an exponential increase in the number of file formats that are used. There are image file formats, document formats, and archive file formats that you need to know about. Every one of these formats opens up exclusively, in a specific type of software program.

What is an ISO File

This is a widely used archive format, used for CD and DVD duplication. Also known as an ISO image, it is actually an archive file for optical disc data. It stores the entire data written on a DVD, CD, or even a Blu-ray disc, as it is.

That is, the data is uncompressed and of the exact size as written on the optical disk. The image enables you to easily create copies of the data or setup files on other optical disks. These files can only be opened by specific programs.

How to Mount it

There are two ways in which you can mount these files. One is to burn the ISO file onto an optical disk of appropriate storage size and then access the data thorough the optical drive. The other way is to use an emulator software that can open an ISO file, without the need of burning it onto a DVD, CD, or Blu-ray disc. In the following lines, you will find information about opening such files on a Mac, Windows, or Linux-based machine.

On a Mac
On Mac OS X, you can mount ISO images using the DiskImageMounter utility. It supports many other disk image formats, besides ISO. You will find the program in '/Library/CoreServices/' in Mac OS X installations.

On Windows XP and Windows 7
Recognizing the need of Windows users to mount ISO files, without the need of burning them to DVD drives, many programs were created by developers. To mount such a file on Windows 7, Windows XP, or Windows Vista, all you need to do is download and install 'Virtual CloneDrive' software. It lets you open the files directly, as though you are accessing them from an optical drive. With this program, you can access the files directly from your hard drive. There is no need to burn them onto optical disks.

On Linux
The facility for opening an ISO file is built into a Linux installation. Here are the steps to open such a file called 'grayp.iso'. The first step to mounting such a file in Linux is to enter the following command to create a mount point. (Make sure that you are logged in as a root user).

# mkdir -p /mnt/disk

This will create a mount point for the ISO file. Then enter the following command.

# mount -o loop grayp.iso /mnt/disk

This will open the files on the image at the mount point. With the following command, you'll be able to access and see the list of files inside.

# cd /mnt/disk
# ls -l


All you need to do is get hold of an emulator software, appropriate for the kind of platform that you are on (Windows/ Mac/ Linux). As I said before, this will save you from piling up DVDs for every ISO image that you use.