How to open an ISO file – 5 ways

How to open an ISO file on Windows in order to run the installation, change the contents of the disk image, play the multimedia contents of the ISO file. Many users are faced with the need to open or run “.ISO” files on a computer.

An ISO file is a CD or DVD image file in which all of the contents are saved as a single file. This is a complete digital copy of the original CD. All information within an ISO file is saved as a single disk image file.

Users often come across ISO files when they download games, multimedia discs, programs, operating systems, etc. from the Internet to their computer. The question arises: how to open ISO image files on a computer?

How to open an ISO file on a computer

In a normal situation, a user burns an ISO file to an optical CD/DVD, then runs this disk to install an operating system, program, launch or install a computer game, play multimedia files, and so on.

This method is not always justified, because to use it, you must have a drive on your computer to play optical discs, in addition, you will need the optical disc itself to burn the ISO image file to it. Some optical discs are protected against unauthorized use.

What should I do if my computer does not have a CD/DVD drive? On modern laptops, this device is increasingly being abandoned, because recently optical discs have not become very popular among users. How to open an ISO file without a disc on a computer?

There are several ways to open an ISO file:

  • using a bootable flash drive;
  • mounting an image on a virtual drive using a program or built-in operating system tool;
  • opening an ISO image using a program.

The use of a bootable flash drive is necessary to burn an ISO image of the Windows operating system, an anti-virus healing disk, a system recovery disk from a specialized program, or in other similar cases. First, the user writes a disk image to a bootable USB flash drive, and then boots to a computer from a USB drive to perform certain actions, for example, to install Windows.

The most common way is to mount an ISO image file using a virtual CD/DVD drive. A specialized program creates a virtual drive in Windows. The system works with it as with a regular physical drive, the disk image is used like a regular CD.

Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 operating systems have a built-in tool for creating a virtual drive, so there is no need to use third-party software to open ISO files.

If the question arises of how to open an ISO file on Windows 7, then in this case, you will have to use the services of third-party programs that will help you mount the ISO image on your computer.

The third way is to open the ISO file in an imaging program or archiver. What program to open an ISO file? For example, UltraISO, Alcohol 120%, Alcohol 52%, or Daemon Tools Lite (there are other similar programs), or archiving programs such as WinRAR or 7-Zip are suitable.

Mounting an ISO file in Daemon Tools Lite

DAEMON Tools Lite is a free version of DAEMON Tools for emulating virtual drives and creating disk images. Install the program on your computer in the Windows 7 operating system to run or open a disk image in ISO format.

After installing the application, a virtual BD-ROM drive will appear in Explorer. The free version of Daemon Tools Lite allows you to mount up to 4 virtual drives.

Follow these steps to mount the ISO file in Daemon Tools Lite :

  1. Click on the “Quick Mount” icon located in the lower left corner of the Daemon Tools Lite window. Another way: right-click on the program icon in the notification area, select “Mount”.
  2. In the Explorer window, select the desired image, click on the “Open” button.
  3. In the AutoPlay window, select the desired action. In this case, you can immediately start the installation of the program or open a folder using Explorer to view files.

The Explorer window displays the mounted disk image in the virtual drive.

View an open ISO image in a virtual disk.

To launch an application from an open image folder, click on the corresponding file inside the folder.

To extract an image from a virtual drive in Daemon Tools Lite, do the following:

  1. Right click on the virtual drive in Explorer.
  2. Select “Extract” from the context menu.

How to open ISO file in UltraISO

UltraISO is a program for working with disk images on a computer. In the program, you can open, create, edit, save a disk image, burn it to a CD / DVD, create a bootable USB flash drive.

The UltraISO program adds its own virtual drive to the computer to open and run the disk image in ISO format. When installing the program on a computer, you need to select the option “Install ISO CD / DVD emulator (ISODrive)”.

A virtual CD will appear on your computer. If you missed the option to create a virtual drive when installing the program, you can add the required number of virtual drives from the UltraISO settings, including for the portable version of UltraISO Portable.

Now let’s see how to open an ISO file with UltraISO.

To open a disk image file in the program window, do the following:

  1. In the UltraISO program window, enter the “File” menu, in the context menu, click on “Open”.
  2. In the Explorer window, select the disk image in ISO format.
  3. The contents of the file will be displayed in the UltraISO window in the upper right area.

Now the files from the disk image are available for performing the necessary operations: copying, modifying, writing to a CD or DVD, creating a bootable flash drive, etc.

  1. Enter the “Tools” menu, click on “Mount to virtual drive …”.
  2. In the “Virtual Drive” window, click the “Mount” button.

2 way to mount a disk image in UltraISO, go through the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the virtual drive.
  2. From the context menu, first select “UltraISO” and then “Mount”.
  3. In the “Open ISO file” window, select the disk image, click on the “Open” button.

To open the image folder in Explorer, right-click on the virtual drive, select “Open” from the context menu. To autorun the image on a PC, right-click on the virtual drive, select “UltraISO” from the context menu, and then “Startup”.

You can extract an ISO file from the virtual drive emulator in UltraISO in the following way:

  1. Right click on the virtual disk.
  2. In the menu that opens, select “UltraISO”, and then “Extract”.
  3. Restart the Explorer window.

How to open ISO file on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8

Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 operating systems have a built-in tool for mounting disk images in a virtual drive. Therefore, it makes no sense to install third-party software on your computer, because there is a system tool on the PC.

  1. Right-click on the disk image, select “Mount” from the context menu.
  2. A virtual DVD drive with a disk image will appear in Explorer.

The user can open a file in a folder or run a program.

To remove a virtual drive from Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the virtual drive, select “Eject” from the context menu.
  2. The mounted image will disappear from Explorer along with the virtual drive.

How to open ISO file in WinRAR

We will now open the ISO file in the WinRAR archiver. To open ISO format files, you need to add format support in the archiver settings (ISO format support is disabled by default).

  1. Open the main window of the WinRAR program, enter the “Options” menu, select “Settings …”.
  2. In the “Settings” window, open the “Integration” tab. In the “Associate with WinRAR” section, check the box next to “ISO”, click on the “OK” button.

Right-click on the disk image in ISO format, select “Extract Files …” from the context menu.

The ISO disk image will open in the WinRAR archiver window. Files from the image can be copied, extracted, modified.

Opening an ISO file in 7-Zip

The free 7-Zip archiver supports opening ISO files.

  1. Right-click on the “.ISO” file.
  2. From the context menu, select “7-Zip” and then “Open Archive”.

Article Conclusions

To open an .ISO file, use a Windows operating system tool running on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or third-party software. Daemon Tools Lite and UltraISO create a virtual disk drive on the computer, in which you can open a disk image, just like on a regular physical drive. WinRAR and 7-Zip archivers support extracting content from ISO files.

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