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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

What is an ISO file and what do you do with it?

This is a question that puzzled me months ago & I also keep hearing this from colleagues.

I read the best plain-English description of it in Channel 8's DreamSpark user guide (by Kris Athi)

"The best way to think of an ISO is as a “Container File” that contains all of the files that you would expect to find on the product CD.

An ISO file is a CD Image. Try to imagine that somebody has taken of the files off the product CD and put them inside in this single ISO file. But what do you do with this now?

You cannot burn this file directly to a CD, this will not work. You need to expand the ISO file on to a CD instead. Unfortunately, this is not supported directly in Vista or XP directly, and a free piece of software is needed.

There are many applications out there to burn ISO files, but I find ISO Recorder the easiest to use. This can be downloaded from http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm and the site also has a quick step by step on finding out your windows version if you don’t already know

Once this is installed, burning an ISO file is a breeze, simply right click the downloaded file, and select the “Copy Image to CD option”

When complete, if you view the contents of the CD from My Computer

You will see that the ISO has been unpacked and you now have a disc that functions in exactly the same way as one obtained at retail."

BTW, Microsoft's Channel 8 is to students what Channel 9 is for developers. DreamSpark is a new program from Microsoft that makes professional-level developer and design tools (including Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, XNA Game Studio 2.0, SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition, Windows Server, Standard Edition & Expression Studio) available to students around the world at no charge! Unfortunately it is not available for students in India...yet.


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