How do I read the contents of an ISO file?

I’ve just got a catalogue from a product supplier and the file he provided is a .ISO file. How do I access the contents?

I got this question from someone who received a product catalogue from a supplier who specialises in boots made by UGG Australia. The catalogue was downloaded off their website and consisted of one great big .ISO file. Windows doesn’t actually read this type of file natively but there are a couple of options you can look into to handle this file. First of all, let’s have a look at what a .ISO file is. It’s actually an image of a complete DVD or CD that lets you create a perfect mirror of what the original disk looked like. It’s a great way to package disks up in a way that allows someone else to produce a perfect copy. So, what can we do with a .ISO file?

  • Burn it to physical media: One option is to create a CD or DVD and access the data from the disk. Most disk writing packages today let you do this without too much hassle. Personally, I like using Nero for this but there are other pacakges out there that will let you do this too.
  • Access the file directly: If you don’t need to have a physical copy of the disk, you may also access the disk directly. This is a process called “mounting” the disk that makes your operating system think you have an extra drive. One free tool that lets you do this is Virtual CloneDrive. Once this is installed you can right-click on the ISO file and mount it as an extra CD/DVD drive. You can then copy files directly off it without having to actually burn a disk.

Virtual CloneDrive is actually one of my favourite Desktop Management Tools because it lets me access data directly even it I’m remotely attached to a machine. I no longer need to burn a disk but can access data and programs directly off it. This has been particularly useful now that software manufacturers (particularly Microsoft) supply their media as .ISO files

1 thought on “How do I read the contents of an ISO file?”

  1. Winrar and winzip will allow you to extract the files in /dir order on your hard drive.

    You can them examine to your hearts content..

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