What is an ISO image?

An ISO image is a special type of file. It is called image because it is an exact “reflection” of everything that contains the CD, DVD or BD (Blue-ray Disc) from which it was created. The ISO name comes from the acronym in English of the International Standardization Association, which defined its characteristics. Files of this type have the .iso file extension.

Advantages and disadvantages

It is best that you reduce the multiple original folders and files to a single file. It is a big advantage. Especially to transfer large programs or large amount of data through the Internet, e-mail or a home network.

Many programs are therefore available in the form of ISO. For example, Microsoft gives the option to download Windows in that format, in addition to buying it as the traditional DVD. And it is the standard format of the trial versions, such as Windows 8.1 . Instead of having to transfer each of the folders and files (Windows or whatever), just transfer a single file that contains all.

An ISO is not the same as a compressed file like WinRAR. The ISO does not reduce the size of what is stored in it. Just join it in a single file, as I said. That is a certain inconvenience, because it can have a large size (those of the most recent Windows occupy about 2 GB).

Create an ISO

Special programs are needed to create an ISO , such as the one explained in that link. The most normal is to do it from a CD or similar. Although it is also possible to create it from folders or files on a hard disk or USB.

Burn it to a CD or USB

If what you want is to copy a Windows ISO to USB or CD, use the program I am talking about in that link. It has four fundamental advantages over many others:

  • It is free and allows you to burn the ISO on USB as well as on DVD.
  • Check the integrity of the Windows ISO. It doesn’t let you record it if someone has changed it, as sometimes happens with pirated files that contain viruses or worse.
  • The USB or CD that are created are “bootable”. To be able to start your computer with them without having to add a boot file by hand.
  • You don’t have to worry about the recording speed. Many Windows DVDs created from an ISO do not work because they are burned at too high a speed. To make matters worse, he often only realizes one when he needs it and checks that it doesn’t work. This problem is avoided by using the program I am talking about in the link above.
  • Note: If you decide to use a different program, you should always burn the Windows ISO at a speed of 4x or even only 2x, regardless of the maximum recording speed of your CD / DVD reader / writer. Or you risk being badly recorded.

To copy to CD or similar an ISO that is NOT Windows, there are many free programs. Like BurnAware, which you can find and download on the Internet.

Dismantle an ISO

In this case it is called “unmount” to restore what it contains as it was originally, with the original CD / DVD / BD folders and files. Special software is also required to do so. One of the best is the free WinRAR program. It allows disassembly on a hard drive or USB. It is done the same as to unzip files with it.

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