Since its introduction in Windows 8, File Explorer has been able to mount and unmount ISO disc images without requiring users to install third-party software. This feature now also exists in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 and, as you will see in this guide, it is very easy to use. Let’s learn how to use File Explorer to mount and unmount any ISO image file you need to work with:
What is an ISO disc image?
A disc image is a file which stores the entire contents of a single optical disc. This disc can be a CD, a DVD or a Blu-Ray disc. The contents of the disc can be anything: a game, a movie, a music album, a random collection of files, etc. The most popular file format for disc images is ISO. When you encounter a file with the extension “.iso ” , you are dealing with a disc image.
In Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows you had to install third-party software applications in order to use ISO disc images. In Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you no longer need to do that. All you need is File Explorer.
When you open a disc image, you see its contents, as if it were the disc that it is cloning and you can use the disc image the same way you would use the original disc.
How to mount an ISO disc image in File Explorer?
If you have not installed a third-party program for working with ISO files, then mounting a disc image in File Explorer takes a few clicks or taps. First, open File Explorer and navigate to the “.iso ” file that you want to open. Select it by clicking or tapping on it.
With the ISO file selected, click or tap the Manage tab on the ribbon and then press the Mount button.
Alternatively, you can right-click or press and hold the ISO file. Click or tap Mount from the right-click menu.
If you have installed a third-party program that works with ISO files and you don’t want to use that program but you want to open it using File Explorer instead, then right-click or press and hold the ISO file. Then, click or tap Open with , followed by File / Windows Explorer.
No matter which method you use for mounting an ISO file, the result is the same: the disc image is opened in File Explorer , as if it were the physical disc that it is cloning. Also, if you have AutoPlay enabled, the disc's AutoPlay menu will display and prompt you to select an action.
You can now copy files from the disc image, run them and so on. The files from the ISO disc image work as if they were on a physical disc.
How do you unmount or eject a mounted ISO disc image in File Explorer?
Once you're done working with a mounted ISO file, you'll want to unmount it. To do this, open File Explorer and go to the This PC section. Select the drive where you mounted the ISO file and click or tap the Manage tab on the ribbon. Then, click or tap Eject.
Another method is to right-click or press and hold the drive where you mounted the ISO file. In the right-click menu, press Eject.
The ISO file is unmounted immediately, without any other prompts being shown.
While this feature has been easy to find using free software for some time, every third-party application requires that you waste system resources including disc space and memory to install and run it. By including it in File Explorer , Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 make working with ISO files easier than it's ever been.