ISO images are essentially the data content of an optical disk (CD/DVD) in an uncompressed format saved normally in .iso file extension. This would be a true digital copy of the original. There are few advantages of creating and using .iso files:
- Files are uncompressed unlike the physical optical disk
- ISO image can be a collection of multiple files merged into one single .iso file
- ISO can be mounted and seen under the operating system as an optical drive (i.e. CD/DVD drive E:\)
It is often the practice to convert operating systems or installation disks to ISO images so that we can do the installation process from a file rather than an optical disk. This will increase the speed significantly specifically in a virtualized environment.
There are a number of software available in the market that creates ISO images. I personally use ImgBurn because it is light and FREE to use. You can download the software from their official site at:
So, the best example to demonstrate how to create ISO images is by converting a compact disk to an ISO image. Here are the steps:
1. Download and install ImgBurn
2. Run the application after the successful installation and you will see the first screen:
3. As you can see, there are a number of choices. For this exercise we want to create an ISO image from a compact disk so we select this option.
4. The next screen will ask to choose the source (in case you have more than one optical drives fitted on your machine), otherwise, we select the default CD/DVD drive
5. We then need to specify the destination where the .iso file going to be stored:
6. And finally click on the Blue arrow to start the process. The next screen will show you the progress bar including a separate window with detailed log:
7. When the process is complete. You will find the image file with extension .iso available at the destination directory which you specified (note the size of the file is big 4.3GB):