Today's Building Windows 8 blog post is from Rajeev Nagar, and describes how Windows 8 can natively mount and work with files stored in ISO and VHD files.

For those of you who don't know, ISO files are images of CDs or DVDs that can be stored on your hard drive and burned to a disc - many install disks, including Windows and most Linux distros, come in ISO format when they're downloaded. Windows 7 introduced the ability to burn ISO files natively, but you still have to download a third-party program to actually mount them without burning them to a CD. ISO mounting in Windows 8 replaces those third-party programs with similar functionality - Windows will assign a drive letter to a virtual optical drive, at which point you can browse the ISO and do what you need to with the files, and the unmount it when you're done.

Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files are similar to ISOs, except that they store the contents of an entire hard drive. Virtual machines created using programs like Virtual PC, VMWare, and VirtualBox use (or can use) VHD files to store an entire bootable OS without the need of a physical disk. Working with VHD files in Windows 8 is a lot like working with ISOs - they're assigned a drive letter and then treated as a physical hard drive by the OS, allowing for viewing, adding, or modifying of files.

None of this is ground-breaking technology, but I like to keep my OSes as clean as possible, and I always appreciate it when new Windows features obviate the need for third-party plugins.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • SmCaudata - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Security essentials if free and works well enough for me. Not only that, it is much less CPU and RAM consuming than 3rd party bloatware that you get with AV packages now.
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I have been helping a lot of people with computer issues and having to re-image computers that have been infested with viruses instead of cleaning them and leaving them half damaged. I have used many boot-disk making programs. I prefer to use a thumb drive and found that most programs don't work on all computers. Many boot-disk creating programs would work on newer computer but would fail on older ones and would be unreadable.

    I used Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool and it has worked on everything. Even computers that came with 256-512 MB of memory. I have yet to have it not be compatible with anything. I will say it is extremely simple and doesn't provide any options, but IT WORKS! And it's free.
  • SmCaudata - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Right, but you have to seek it out and download it. Having it seamlessly work as part of the OS is much better. But I too have used that program and found it to work really well. Also, being able to work with the ISO without having to use a thumb drive is a nice feature to have around.
  • naikrovek - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    VHD support is already in Windows 7, I use it every day. One can use Disk Manager to create a .vhd, then "attach" it (it's not called 'mounting' in W7) with the same tool.

    One can even boot to a VHD with Windows 7, and I'm not talking virtual machines. You can create a VHD, and set it up in the boot configuration, then install another copy of Windows 7 onto it. It's like dual booting, but rather than having two OSs on one or two drives/partitions, the VHD OS lives in a single file that can easily be backed up.

    It's not a huge deal, but someone might read this and think it's not already included. It is.
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    You need Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise to boot from VHD though, and I don't think you can at all from an ISO.

    The VHD features of Windows 7, or what remains of them, are pretty buried on the Home Premium and Business editions. Most of the clients I deal with are not terribly familiar with how to launch the Disk Management snap-in to the MMC or how to work with VHDs once they get there. Support should be much more transparent and universal, and not arbitrarily crippled. For instance, double clicking on a VHD or ISO should attach it or at least offer to do so.
  • dfgddfdf - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    Come go and see, will not regret it Oh look


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now