Many users are faced with the need to mount a disk image on a computer in order to run a game, an operating system distribution, install other software, or access data. Disc images have become very common these days because modern PCs often lack CD/DVD/Blu-ray drives.
You can create a disk image file in the desired format with the necessary information yourself using the appropriate application. To access the content, you need to “mount the image”, accessing the virtual drive as if it were a physical drive inserted into your computer.
The original disc image files can be used to burn copies, creating duplicates. Disc image files contain a complete copy of a physical optical disc.
Some users have questions about how to mount an image of a game, operating system, app, tutorial, or other content.
What does “disk image” mean?
A disk image is a container format designed to store the contents of a physical disc (CD, DVD, or Blu-ray). Software developers typically use this format to distribute applications and tools without having to supply physical media.
For example, Microsoft uses this format to distribute different versions of Windows to users. In addition to burning to an optical CD/DVD, a disk image file can be written to a bootable flash drive. Alternatively, a mounted operating system disk image can be run on a computer to upgrade or install Windows over a previous version.
Disc image files come in many different formats: ISO, IMG, MDF, MDS, DMG, NRG, CCD, BIN, CUE, BWT, and so on. Some of the formats were originally created to work in a specific program, while other formats have become more universal. For example, the ISO format has become the unofficial standard in which disc image files are most commonly saved.
What does it mean to mount an image
If your computer has a CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive, you can insert a laser disc into the optical drive to automatically or manually launch a game, software, or tutorial. But, if your PC does not have an optical drive, then you will not be able to do this.
Optical drives are almost never installed on modern computers, so disk image files that can be easily downloaded and used on any computer are the most widely used. To use a disk image file, you need to mount it on your computer.
You can mount the image using a physical drive emulator. The software creates a virtual drive on the computer, and the Windows operating system treats it like a normal physical drive. A disk image is added to this virtual optical drive, so we need programs that mount the images.
You can find many imaging tools, and Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 operating systems have the ability to mount an ISO disk image without the need for additional software. On Windows 7, you must use a third party application to make this functionality available.
In this guide, you will learn how to mount an image with a disk emulator, using the built-in Windows tool, or using third-party applications.
Some third-party utilities have additional support for emulating various copy protection technologies, which allows copy protection discs to function properly. However, these methods are being phased out and are no longer supported by modern versions of Windows.
How to mount a disk image in Windows
Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 allow you to mount ISO disk image files without using third-party software. This feature works the same on these operating systems.
In this tutorial, we will look at how to mount an ISO disk image in several ways. As an example, we use an image file with the Windows operating system.
- Right click on the ISO disk image.
- In the context menu that opens, click Connect.
- The contents of the image in the virtual drive will open in an Explorer window.
Now you can run the desired operation or familiarize yourself with the contents of the image.
If you open the “This PC” location in Explorer, you will see a virtual drive there, which is connected to the PC like a regular physical disk.
Highlight the disk image in a folder on your computer, and then press the Enter key.
Double-click the ISO image to mount the Windows 10, Windows 11, or Windows 8 image.
- Select the desired disk image in Explorer.
- A Connect button will appear on the Explorer ribbon, which you need to click on.
- Highlight the ISO file on the PC.
- Click on it with the right mouse button.
- From the context menu, first select “Open With” and then “Explorer”.
- In the Windows search box, type “powershell”.
- Run the application as an administrator.
- In the “Administrator: Windows PowerShell” window, type the command, and then press the “Enter” key:
Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "path to ISO file"
Instead of “path to the ISO file” enter in quotes the full path to the file with the extension “*.iso” on your computer.
An example command on my PC looks like this (in your case, the location will be different):
Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\Users\User\Desktop\Win11.iso"
To unmount a disk image, right-click on the virtual disk drive in Explorer and select “Eject”. The drive will be unmounted and the virtual drive will disappear from the This PC window in Explorer until you mount the image file in the virtual drive again.
In order to be able to mount ISO disk images in Windows 7, or in modern versions of Windows, to mount images saved in other formats, such as BIN / CUE, IMG, NRG, MDS / MDF or CCD, you need to use third-party software.
How to mount an image in Daemon Tools Lite
First, we will look at how to mount a disk image in Daemon Tools, a popular program that is often used by users for this purpose.
DAEMON Tools Lite is a free version of the program for working with various types of disk images, which has support for the Russian interface language. With this application, you can mount images of different types without using a physical drive.
Once installed on a computer, Daemon Tools creates a virtual drive on the computer. In the free version, you can create 4 virtual drives.
Consider how to mount an image of a game or other software in Daemon Tools:
- Open the main window in DAEMON Tools Lite.
- Click on the “Quick Mount” button located on the left side of the bottom panel.
- Select the disk image file on your computer.
- Open the disk image in a virtual drive from Explorer, or the system itself will prompt you to automatically open it if the autorun function is used there.
In another way, we mount an ISO image or a file of another format into a virtual drive from the notification area:
- Open the notification area on the Windows taskbar.
- Right click on the Daemon Tools Lite icon.
- In the context menu, click Mount.
- After selecting the image file, you can open its contents in Explorer.
To unmount the image, click on the virtual disk in Explorer and select “Eject” from the context menu, or right-click on the virtual disk emulator icon in the bottom panel of the Daemon Tools Lite program window and select “Unmount”.
Mounting images in Alcohol 120%
Alcohol 120% is a program for creating images, copying discs, burning images to discs, emulating CD / DVD / Blu-ray discs. The application can create virtual drives with which you can work with various disk images.
The application supports a large number of disk image file formats. There is a free version of the Alcohol 52% program with reduced functionality, but also suitable for our purposes.
Do the following:
- In the Alcohol 120% program window, go to the “File” menu, click on the “Open …” menu item.
- Select an image on your computer.
- Right-click on the file, and in the context menu, click on the “Mount to Device” item.
- In the Explorer window, double-click on the virtual disk to open the image on your computer.
You can mount a disk image in Alcohol 120 from the notification area by following these steps:
- Right-click on the program icon in the notification area.
- In the menu that opens, click on “Simple Mount”, then select the virtual drive, and then “Mount Image”.
- Select a file on the PC to connect to the virtual drive.
To disconnect an image from a virtual drive, you need to right-click on the connected image in the Alcohol 120% program window, on the icon in the notification area or on the virtual disk in Explorer, and select “Unmount Image” in the context menu.
Mounting images in UltraISO
UltraISO is a powerful disk imaging software. Using the application, you can create or modify a disk image, convert it to another format, burn the image to an optical disk, create a bootable USB flash drive.
Go through the steps:
- In the UltraISO program window, select the “File” menu.
- In the context menu, click “Open …”, and then select the desired file on your computer.
- Go to the “Tools” menu, click on the item “Mount to virtual drive …”.
- In the “Virtual Drive” window, click the “Mount” button.
- Double-click the virtual disk in Explorer to open the contents of the file on your computer.
You can unmount the image from the Explorer window in the standard way, or from the UltraISO window by pressing the “F6” key, and then in the “Virtual Drive” window that opens, click on the “Unmount” button.
Some users do not know how to mount an ISO image to a virtual disk on a computer. Windows 11, Windows 10 and Windows 8 operating systems have a built-in tool that allows you to mount ISO images without third-party software. Image files of other formats can be mounted on a PC using third-party programs that can also be used in Windows 7 to emulate a virtual drive.