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What is a .iso file (disk image) and how to use it?
What is a .iso file?
A .iso file is a disk image, meaning it's an exact copy (sector by sector) of a disk, e.g.: CD, DVD, USB stick, hard drive, etc... ISO images have been the most used file format for cloning or duplicating disks for a very long time, namely since the late 1980's along with the first consumer CD-ROM products.
How to use or extract ISO images contents?
ISO images are mountable and burnable/clonable onto real media universally (on any OS). You can also browse and extract specific files from ISO images using small shareware utilities such as PowerISO. Mounting a .iso file makes a new drive appear on your OS, effectively letting you use it as if you had the original media inserted.
ISO images can also be attached to almost all emulators since it's universal. Namely, SheepShaver, QEMU and Basilisk II all support you attach a .iso disk image to them. It will mount as it were a hard drive on the emulated desktop.
-- How to burn/clone disk images onto USB sticks super easily under Windows and under Mac OS X
Under Classic Mac OS (before Mac OS X)
Mac OS 8.5 to Mac OS 9.2.2: Toast 5 Titanium
Mac OS 7.0 to Mac OS 9.2.2: Virtual DVD-ROM/CD Utility
Under Mac OS X
Use Disk Utility bundled with every Mac OS X environment: Launch Disk Utility > FILE menu > Open disk image...
Open it using PowerISO
The most comfortable choice will depend on whether you prefer to work with a GUI or at the command line, which desktop environment you chose, and whether you want to burn the image, mount it, or just copy files out without mounting it.
For GUI users who want to burn a disc, there should be an option to do so in your desktop's standard CD/DVD mastering tool. (eg. Tools > Burn Image in KDE's K3b.)
Mounting ISO images in the GUI varies from file manager to file manager. With PCManFM for LXDE and LXQt offering disk mounting in the Open With... section of the context menu while Dolphin for KDE relies on its integration with the Ark archival GUI.
However, comprehensive support for the myriad things that can be packed into a
To burn a disc from the command-line (eg. for use in scripts), you can find advice in places like the Debian wiki.
The most important caution when using the tools you may see your GUI delegating to is to use
Additional options to control things like the burning speed (
In the event that your optical device is not
Mounting an image at the command-line is achieved via the
You will also likely need to manually specify the filesystem as, in my experience, the
You may also be able to copy files into and out of such images without mounting them using the tools from the