Did you download the ISO image of a software or game from the Internet and do not want to waste floppies or CDs to install it?
No problem. There are extremely easy-to-use applications that create virtual drives and allow you to use all the data in ISO images without consuming CD, DVD or Blu-Ray.
Yes, you read correctly! These software perfectly simulate the presence of a disk inside the computer and “trick” the system to allow the installation (or use) of programs and games without consuming physical media.
If you want to know more, take five minutes of free time and continue reading, we are going to find out how to open ISO files in an easy, fast and free of cost.
How do you say? Do you use a Mac and not a Windows PC?
No problem, even Macs can open ISO files and “mount” them in virtual drives. But now let’s not lose any further chatter, let’s take a look at the best software to open the CD, DVD and Blu-Ray image files and find out how to make the most of their potential. I assure you that you will not encounter any difficulty in using them.
How to open ISO files on Windows
If you are using Windows 10 or Windows 8.x, know that you do not have to use any external program to open ISO files, you can do everything with the features included “standard” in the operating system.
Do not you believe it? Then right click on the image file you want to open, select the item Mount from the menu that appears and wait a few seconds.
A virtual CD / DVD drive will be created in which you will find all the data in the ISO file. To access it, select the item Computer or This PC from the sidebar of the Explorer and double click on the virtual drive icon created by Windows.
If you are using a not very recent version of Windows, you can open ISO files with Virtual CloneDrive.
It is a free application made by the same developers of CloneCD and CloneDVD (who founded a new company after the closure of the historical software house SlySoft) that allows you to “mount” ISO, BIN and CCD files in a maximum of 8 virtual units. Works with all versions of Windows, from XP onwards.
To download Virtual CloneDrive on your PC, connect to the manufacturer’s website and click on the Download button located next to the program name.
At the end of the download, open the installation package called SetupVirtualCloneDrivexx.exe and click in sequence on Yes, Accept, Next, Install, Install and Close to complete the setup.
At this point, start Virtual CloneDrive and select, through the appropriate drop-down menu, the number of virtual drives where you want to “mount” the ISO files.
When done, right click on the image file to open, select the item Mount (Virtual CloneDrive X 🙂 from the menu that opens (where instead of the “X:” there is the letter of the CloneDrive unit) and the ISO file will be “mounted” instantly.
To “unmount” an image previously opened with Virtual CloneDrive, go to My Computer/This PC, right click on the virtual unit of the program and select the Eject from the menu that appears.
WinCDEmu is another excellent program to open ISO files for free without burning that creates a virtual CD/DVD drive on your PC and allows you to “mount” any ISO file as if it were a real disk inserted in the PC. Here’s how it works.
First of all, open the Internet site of WinCDEmu and click on the green button Download two consecutive times to download the program on your PC.
When the download is complete open, double-click on the file you just downloaded ( WinCDEmu-xx.exe ) and, in the window that opens, click on the button Yes and then Install and OK to complete the setup.
When installation is complete, start WinCDEmu settings by clicking on the icon present in Start> All Programs> WinCDEmu. In the window that opens, make sure that there is a checkmark next to the item Ask before mounting an image.
At this point all you have to do is click with the right mouse button on the ISO image to “mount” and select the item Select a unit and mount the image from the menu that appears.
In the window that opens, select the letter to be assigned to the virtual drive of WinCDEmu from the appropriate drop-down menu and click on the OK button to “mount” the ISO file.
It’s done! In a few moments you will see the icon of a new CD/DVD drive in My Computer/This PC and, by double clicking on it, you will be able to browse the content of the selected ISO image.
The ISO image is “unmounted” by the virtual drive with a simple system restart (or by selecting the Eject item from the Windows context menu).
Daemon Tools is the most popular software in the world to open ISO file. It allows you to create many virtual drives that simulate the presence of CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray of any kind in the computer.
It is extremely easy to use and is available in two versions: a basic one, which is free but has promotional content that you need to “dodge” during the initial setup, and a more advanced payment. To open ISO files, just move to free.
To download the free version of Daemon Tools on your PC, open the Internet site of the program and click on the Download button.
At the end of the download, open the installation package called DTLiteInstaller.exe and click on Yes first and then on Free license with ads.
Then wait for all the components necessary for the software to be downloaded from the Internet (it should not take long) and start the actual Daemon Tools setup by clicking on the Install button.
In the window that opens, put the check mark next to the item Free license, go forward twice in a row, remove the check from the options for installing additional promotional software (eg REACHit) and end the setup by pressing first on Next and then on Install, Install and End.
To use Daemon Tools, start the program, skip the initial tutorial and click on the Quick mount icon located at the bottom left to select the ISO image to “mount”.
When you have finished using the ISO image, you can “unmount” it using the Eject Explorer command or by clicking on the yellow icon to eject the ISO file in the main Daemon Tools screen (next to the drive icon, lower left).
How to open ISO files on Mac
If you use a Mac you can “mount” ISO files without resorting to any third-party application. All you have to do is double-click the image to explore and, almost like magic, it will become available in the Finder.
The merit is DiskImageMounter, the software for the management of the virtual units “standard” integrated in OS X.
If DiskImageMounter is no longer the default application for managing virtual drives on your Mac, to “mount” the ISO file you have to click on its icon and select the items Open with> DiskImageMounter from the menu that appears.
To restore DiskImageMounter as the default application for managing virtual drives on your Mac, right-click on any file in ISO format and select the Get Info item from the menu that appears.
In the window that opens, expand the Open with menu, select DiskImageMounter from the drop-down menu that appears at the bottom and click on the Change All button to save the changes. In this way the ISO files will be “mounted” automatically after double click.