Microsoft has a new post up on its Building Windows 8 blog. This time, the company is detailing the operating system's native support for ISO files. Double-clicking on an ISO will automatically mount it using a virtual optical drive. To kill the virtual drive, simply eject the virtual disc.
In addition to mounting ISO files, Windows 8 will perform a similar trick with the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files used by virtual machines. The approach here is almost identical: double-click the VHD file, and the OS will mount it automatically. Rather than popping up as an optical drive, the virtual disk will appear as a separate hard drive... with an eject button.
While it's good to see native ISO support added to Windows 8, it's odd that the OS won't allow you to create ISO files. As one of the blog post's commenters points out, it would also be nice to have the ability to easily create a bootable USB thumb drive from an ISO source. Numerous third-party utilities exist to handle those tasks, but that sort of functionality should probably be integrated directly into the operating system.