Windows 8 offers native ISO mounting support

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.

Comments closed
    • Malphas
    • 9 years ago

    It’s really about time, would be nice to able to ditch third part mounting tools. Still don’t see any compelling reason to bother upgrading yet though, just lots of minor tweaks and additions and a tablet UI I’ll likely never use.

    • xii
    • 9 years ago

    Linux has had loop device mounting of ISO images for as long as I remember, all the way back in the 90’s. And Mac OSX has been able to do this for quite some time, although I don’t have a clue when the feature appeared.

    It seems a bit funny to make such a big deal out of it…

    • bcronce
    • 9 years ago

    “it’s odd that the OS won’t allow you to create ISO files”

    Probably a monopoly issue.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    Who cares? The Windows zip utilty will still suck, so people will use 7-zip which is completely free and has opened iso files since year dot.

    It’s a useful feature that will mean people can autorun ISO’s instead of having to double click the iso and finding setup.exe within Winrar/Winzip/7-zip etc.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    I can only say this –it’s about freaking time.

    I’ve used either MagicISO’s MagicCD, or (more often now) SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive, but this is a feature that shouldn’t have required a bolt-on starting with Windows 7 for sure.

    If MS had really wanted to make a worthwhile “Windows Ultimate Extra” back in Vista days, this would have been it.

    • Scrotos
    • 9 years ago

    It’s been missing for so long that I can’t find myself caring. I know the mac haters will vote me down, but this kinda stuff has been around in Mac OS since, what, the 90’s? Mounting disk images? I think even AmigaOS did this as well in the 80’s? It’s like MS takes one part [url<]http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm[/url<] and one part 7-Zip and leaves out some useful features (as mentioned in the article) to transform this from a "yeah whatever" to a "hey, that's pretty nice!" ability.

    • kc77
    • 9 years ago

    WooHoo…. first it was multi-transfer progress bars and now this..OMFG… what’s next? Grub? How about reading ext3/4 partitions…..no one has done that before!

    • Ryu Connor
    • 9 years ago

    You can already mount VHD files in Windows.

    Vista needs a tweak to unlock it, but Win7 does it natively.

    [url<]http://www.edbott.com/weblog/2008/05/vhd-support-in-windows-vista-has-it-already/[/url<] [url<]http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd440865(WS.10).aspx[/url<] [url<]http://blogs.msdn.com/b/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2006/09/01/734435.aspx[/url<] You can boot from a .VHD file in 7 Enterprise and Ultimate.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    Wow I can almost ditch daemon tools now which I’ve had installed ever since XP…

    Unfortunately I can see Microsoft eventually encrusting this with DRM and when you try to load an image that has a known copyright associated with it it will tell you that you can’t and possibly send a notice to a big bad database somewhere. The start of it is the fact that you can’t make ISOs to begin with…

    A bootable USB drive would be the awesomest feature they could ever add to the OS, but that unfortunately still does not exist even though the ‘make DOS boot disk’ option still does. So I’m stick having to hobble together a few different utilities to make one, including the famed HP USB Boot Disk maker.

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    At first I felt this was lame news, since I hardly ever mount any ISOs ever, different era and I don’t mind installing Daemon Tools, but the mounting VHD is really great news.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 9 years ago

      If you have an MS TechNet subscription, everything is a downloadable ISO.

      I really like having .ISOs stored on my home server, and having less waste (I end up burning discs and losing them or scratching them up). I use Slysoft Virtual CloneDrive, but Microsoft should have done this long ago.

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        I mean yeah, I understand that it’s very useful, and I have a bunch of ISOs of every CD program that I ever had, just to throw out the CD and have less clutter. I just mean that with programs like Dameon Tools and some others ones the news wasn’t such a big deal. Now the mounting of VHD I really like.

    • I.S.T.
    • 9 years ago

    This will piss off the game companies…

      • xeridea
      • 9 years ago

      Why? Daemon tools has done this for as long as I can remember. It also has copy protection workarounds (some require specially ripped ISOs to preserve copy protection information). I don’t think the Win8 solution will do this. I do it just so I don’t have to keep my playdiscs sitting around, also it is a lot faster to access of HD than optical.

        • axeman
        • 9 years ago

        Daemon tools got banned for all time once they started to bundle spyware.

        • lycium
        • 9 years ago

        some of us are old enough to remember fakecd 🙂

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t think they’re going to try to emulate DRM, which is what Daemon Tools does and game companies don’t like.

      • I.S.T.
      • 9 years ago

      What? This got downvotes? Why? Look at how many game companies use copyright protections that disabled virtual drives.

        • just brew it!
        • 9 years ago

        I can understand why they’d want to disable virtual drive tools that specifically try to work around the DRM. But if all the tool does is mount the ISO, I don’t see what the problem is.

      • just brew it!
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t see why it would. I’m sure it won’t do anything to disable DRM.

      • yogibbear
      • 9 years ago

      Windows 8 INCOMPATIBLE with Securom. WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! PLEASE BE TRUE!

    • Vasilyfav
    • 9 years ago

    Microsoft: adding yesterday’s free necessities to your OS, today!
    (and charging you $150 for it)

    Aside from snide remarks, it’s good to finally have it.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    Alcohol fitty two is already free…

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      7-zip, as well!

        • xeridea
        • 9 years ago

        Also utilities for 95% of common tasks (pretty much everything except advanced video editing, some free ones, but buying this is probably better if you do it a lot, and more likely support for GPU accel, and perhaps some image editing, but OS alternatives pretty good here). I am a web developer and I only use Open Source or free software (probably bout 87% is Open Source). I have a TON of software, and it is ALL OS or free, except some games. Everytime MS adds a feature like this to new OS I think thats neat, but its nothing new I couldn’t do for years before.

    • maxxcool
    • 9 years ago

    Dumbasses… this has only been around in 3rd party app for for what ??? 7 years… fu m$

    • Kaleid
    • 9 years ago

    When will I be able to change the background color from white in windows explorer to whichever I want?

      • eofpi
      • 9 years ago

      Windows 11, but only in Ultimate and Server versions.

      For the rest, Windows 13.

        • Wirko
        • 9 years ago

        No, because MS never keeps a consistent OS naming for more than two generations. 8’s successor, when it reaches RTM, will more likely be called Newhorn or Intel-shorn or 1001 or [OS formerly known as Windows] than plainly 9.

    • thanatos355
    • 9 years ago

    If it’s anything near the quality that they produced when integrating disc burning, then I’ll be sticking with third party solutions.

    • thefumigator
    • 9 years ago

    I bet this feature will only be available in professional and ultimate editions.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 9 years ago

    Now if only software installers could transition to always be packaged in images. It’s always been convenient in OS X that software generally come in a dmg image that can package together installers with support documents so that there’s only 1 file to worry about and not having to extract everything.

    • puppetworx
    • 9 years ago

    Yes.
    Yes.
    Continue.
    More.
    Yes.

    • Firestarter
    • 9 years ago

    I doubt it can replace the specialized tools that we use for our .. uses. You know.

    • PenGun
    • 9 years ago

    Linux does “mount cdimage.iso -r -t iso9660 -o loop /mnt” since time … well for a long time.

    • fyo
    • 9 years ago

    It’s always interesting to see how much OS makers copy each other. Linux (and I assume OS X) have had this for years and years. About time Microsoft copied this particular feature.

    It goes all ways, of course, with everyone happily copying everyone else… to the benefit of everyone.

      • jstern
      • 9 years ago

      For some reason this doesn’t feel like a copy, since it’s not a new technique that was recently developed, or something Windows users who care about these things weren’t able to do before by installing it. It’s something that has been around for many, many years so because of that to me at least doesn’t feel like a copy.

      • xeridea
      • 9 years ago

      Its kind of annoying that anything one OS adds that another OS has already had, so many people say it is a copy. Its just an added feature. By most peoples standards, 90% of features of any software is copied from someone else, but of these, 90% of these aren’t really “copying”, but just adding features that are nice to have. Such as new web standards support in new browsers, its not really “copying” so much as getting around to implementing them (usually about 5 few years later for IE). I would call it copying if it would probably not have been added if someone else hadn’t did it (such as tabbed browsing in IE7 was copied from…. pretty much every other browser had had for years. I wouldn’t call 80% of what Apple says everyone copied as copied, but just like common sense.

      Not saying nothing is copied, just that many features are just things that make sense to have that may have just taken longer to implement.

    • TEAMSWITCHER
    • 9 years ago

    From what I’ve see thus far Windows 8 should be free. I’m not going to upgrade for features that I can get already for nothing. And some of these have been in Mac OS X for years. Windows 8 is starting to feel like a con job. Fan boys will sing their praises, but people who know, will just laugh at them for paying another $129.00. Ouch!

      • mcnabney
      • 9 years ago

      Actually, Win7 (aka Vista SP2) should have been free.

      I wonder if Win8’s real name is Windows 7.0 (since W7 is 6.1)?

      Bah, anyway – I don’t see a future in Windows. A full desktop OS will remain for productivity, but the other 99% of the computer market could easily migrate to tablet/nettop platforms. WP7 has already proven that the market really isn’t interested in helping MS extend their desktop monopoly into the mobile/ARM-centered segment. If you are wondering why the share price of MS hasn’t done anything in years, it is trends like this. The decline of the desktop.

      /currently has two HTPCs, two laptops, one netbook, and a WHS at home
      //could easily see that evolving into two nettops, two dockable tablets, and a NAS
      /// the end of Wintel and the beginning of AndrARM?

        • xeridea
        • 9 years ago

        Difference is Win7 was a huge improvement to usability, speed, and memory usage of OS, while also adding nifty features that boost productivity, Win8 is only adding a few features I could live without, and many that hinder productivity. The new Explorer interface with the ribbon is HORRID. Way to much space, and everything that is on ribbon can be done right now via keyboard shortcuts, or context menu a lot faster. Oh but you get that ghetto I will never use tiles thing. That thing looks terrible, like the WP7 OS. I don’t see how anyone could possibly stand to use that.

          • axeman
          • 9 years ago

          Call me a noob, but can you move the ribbon on this thing or Office to run vertically instead? It seems like this might make the feature less hateful given the proliferation of 16:9 displays. I’m not fond of unity, but putting things on the side rather than stacking horizontal elements seems like the way to go now. This is the other direction, which is probably outmoded thinking. Go to 1:00 minute or so in this demo:

          [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoRlMIx1vwM&feature=player_embedded#![/url<] Look at all the whitespace on the right of the screen.... and I don't even think that's 16:9, it's 16:10? Hopefully the final product is better, but I won't hold my breath. edit: nope, it's been requested even since Office 2007 apparently, and may be considered for the "next" version of office. Seriously, Microsoft, what the shit? I open a new Word doc on a 4:3 display, get big black margins on either side, and a vertical scroll bar, but we can't have the ribbon run vertically? The more I look at Office objectively, instead of just accepting it because that's the way it is, the more this looks like a pile of fail. AutoCAD, you can have it either way, both ways, and customize the shit out of it. Out of the box, it even comes with two sets of ribbons organized different ways you can choose from.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            This is a good idea. Side-bar style ribbon better uses vertical screen space. They’re probably afraid that 2:1 or even wider aspects are on the way, though.

            • BlackStar
            • 9 years ago

            I actually hope they don’t. This will hopefully allow LibreOffice to implement the side-ribbon first, without fear of a patent lawsuit.

            The only thing keeping LibreOffice behind MS Office is the UI. Everything else is ahead, comparable or at least very close in quality as to make a 100% valid alternative. Fix the UI and MS Office will finally die a well-deserved death.

            • A_Pickle
            • 9 years ago

            Agreed.

        • PeterD
        • 9 years ago

        Tablet’s won’t end Windows, just as pc’s didn’t end mainframes. IBM is still a huge company thanks to, amongst others, mainframes.

          • Joe Miller
          • 9 years ago

          Wrong thread?

        • bcronce
        • 9 years ago

        Vista->Win7 was a huge change on the back-end, just not the front end. Win7->Win8 is another huge change, more so than 95->XP.

        Microsoft did offer a Vista to XP downgrade. I just pretend like Vista never existed.

        Anyway, Opensource ATI drivers, Wayland, DX11 support coming soon….. Go Linux!

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      I presume you have always and will always use linux and other free OS’s, right? Because if you purchased any version of windows, or Mac then you have paid for many features that were free in other systems.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 9 years ago

      While “free” is going too far, I don’t think it’s out of line to hope for a $29 upgrade for Windows 7 users.

        • axeman
        • 9 years ago

        Everyone said the same thing about Vista -> Win7 users. No soup for you. They could have easily done a special upgrade that only worked from Vista -> 7 to prevent further unnecessary suffering, but nope. They did do the 3 pack for a while, then stopped, then brought it back when someone decided that made sense after all, but then that was still 50 bucks a crack and not much of a deal unless you had 3 PCs to upgrade.

      • PetMiceRnice
      • 9 years ago

      Of course you also pay a lot more for comparible Mac hardware, so I guess certain things should be free.

      • ManAtVista
      • 9 years ago

      If you can get everything in Win 8 for free, then don’t upgrade and just continue using what you have + your free utilities. I think people are getting the wrong idea, so far the information is just a trickle, I think Win 8 will have many major improvements, but MS are simply waiting for the proper time to reveal them. But I may be wrong, in which case just don’t upgrade.

      • internetsandman
      • 9 years ago

      I dunno why you’re getting downvoted. You’re completely right. MS charges way too much for their OS. It’s stupid. 200+ bucks for the home premium version, over 300 for the full ultimate version?

      Apple’s prices on their hardware are becoming much more reasonable lately (still not great, still rather exorbitant, I grant you) but they’re much better than they were. Combine that with their two latest operating systems coming in at under 80 bucks combined, and, IMO, Apple is starting to offer proper value for money.

      I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen people say that if it wasn’t for gaming, they’d switch to OS X. When people are outright saying that that’s the only benefit of your OS, it’s kinda insulting to charge them over 200 bucks to use it. And then they have the stupidity to wonder why their OS gets pirated so much.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    I hope it’s not as buggy as their dvd burning support. I’ve been using the Windows 7 built-in burning tools, and from time to time, windows will “forget” that it can burn dvds, and I have to reboot the computer before I can burn CDs/DVDs again.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    I think I can speak for lots of folks when I say “it’s about friggin time”

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      You spoke for me.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        -1 for that? Really?

          • axeman
          • 9 years ago

          I fixed it.

          edit: dammit

            • flip-mode
            • 9 years ago

            This is a tough crowd.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            I got ya back brah.

            • flip-mode
            • 9 years ago

            It’s best to bring friends ’round these parts.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            that’s what’s i’m for. bff’s

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 9 years ago

      The thing that gets me about these blog posts is how obvious the things they’re saying are and how oblivious they must have been in the past. Ignore the obvious and REMOVE configuration from Explorer! From all the talk of the Metro UI and how they were Touch First, I was beginning to think Windows 8 offered me nothing.

      I still see these minor changes and think they’re worthy of a Windows 7 SP, but hey… at least they’re glancing my way a little. I don’t think Ribbon on Explorer as the baseline UI is a good idea, though. It takes up way too much vertical space and the only reason they claim it’s the same space as now is because they removed the bottom panel (which I already did in Windows 7). Both having their bottom panels removed, my Windows 7 Explorer is walking all over that new Windows 8 Explorer on my 1366×768 laptop, which they admitted was the #1 resolution on modern PC’s by a lot.

      All that said, if they’d just throw in support for all the major formats, even the ones they don’t particularly like, they’ll seem a lot more open about things. They can also throw in a copy of every Halo, Gears of War, and Fable game ever made made to run in Windows 8 as freebie games and I’ll take that, too.

      Imagine the insanity if you install Windows and then you glance in your Games directory and there are links to stream download/start Halo Reach. No fanfare, no advertising, it just appears in the directory on launch day in everyone’s machine, even those that installed RTM. Madness ensues.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        What are you rambling on about? This news story is about natively mounting standard-format images, which lots of OSes have been doing for a decade or more.

      • Flatland_Spider
      • 9 years ago

      Seriously. Now if they will do something about not being able to mount drives — USB, network — in folders.

      • puppetworx
      • 9 years ago

      Microsoft did make a power tool for Windows XP that allowed you to mount images in virtual drives. I used it for years before it was removed, at which point I switched to using Virtual CloneDrive. I guess the MPAA/RIAA or someone made them kill it.

      • xeridea
      • 9 years ago

      I just use Daemon tools. Super low footprint (1 MB), support for copy protection alleviation (for games… leaving all your play discs within hands reach is so 90s, may require specially crafted ISOs), multiple mounting options, and OS integration/file association. Takes about 45 seconds to download/install on new system.

    • ew
    • 9 years ago

    ZOMG! This is the most amazing thing ever. Taking a file and treating it like a block device! Where do the come up with these ideas!

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    Oh you sneaky bastards. But this feature alone won’t convince me to get it.

      • Mystic-G
      • 9 years ago

      I feel the same way. Nice little things, but nothing that I see that’s a must have.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      BUT DIRECTX12/13/14 WILL IMPACT YOU IN YET UNKNOWN WAYS!

      • axeman
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, they need Flip4D then I’m all over that.

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