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ISO File

ISO file extension is used by files which store optical disk images in ISO 9660 file format also known as CDFS. ISO files could be used to store images of CD-ROM and sometimes DVD disks (though DVDs more frequently use UDF file system and Blu-Ray disks only use UDF). Recently ISO files also became a popular software distribution mechanism both over internet and in enterprise environments.

ISO files are not archive files, they are disk image files and operating system mounts them as a drive instead of opening as a file. When ISO file is mounted it becomes visible as a drive with all files within it accessible to the user. There is no need for original optical disk to be present when ISO file is mounted but there could be compatibility issues with audio/video players due to ISO formats specifics and copy protection mechanisms on CD and DVD disks.

Many software vendors use ISO images as a convenient way to distribute software to their clients. For example Microsoft Windows ISO could be downloaded from Microsoft website. The ISO image could be then mounted and used to install Windows OS. License for Windows OS could be purchased online and used to activate Windows OS during install. This way there is no need for Microsoft to send user DVD disks – entire installation process could happen through internet with help of ISO files.

ISO file format is also supported by most of the virtualization software packages which makes it a good mechanism to distribute operating system to machines in server environment. Same ISO file could be copied to multiple machines and operating system could be distributed simultaneously to all of them.

Operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, Unix and Linux support mounting and reading from ISO disk images. Mac OS also allows creating ISO disk images using Disk Utility software. Windows needs special software installed in order to be able to create ISO files.

 

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BIN Quick Details
Binary File
MIME Type
  • application/mac-binary
  • application/macbinary
  • application/octet-stream
  • application/x-binary
  • application/x-macbinary
Opens with
  • MultiEdit32
  • Notepad
  • CDRWIN
  • FAR
  • Any Hex Editor