An ISO file (ISO image) is a single file, which represents entire CD, DVD or BD. The easiest way to think of an ISO file is more like a .zip or .cab archive file but without the compression. The actual difference is that, an ISO is a byte for byte copy of low level data which actually stored on a disk. Whole content of a disc can be precisely duplicated in a single ISO file or else you can say it is just a raw data from the disk. Just imagine ISO file as a box which holds all the parts to something which needs to be developed. The ISO file works in much the same way. The file itself is not so good unless it can be opened assembled and used. Every ISO image has file extension ISO and are often used to distribute large number of programs over the Internet because of the fact that all program’s files can be neatly contained as a single file.
There are number of ways to deal with ISO files, one of them is burn ISO file to a disc. ISO files are frequently used to distribute CD or DVD images, for example, if you download a popular Linux distribution, what you will most likely download is actually an .iso file. With the help of CD or DVD burning program, you can then write ISO file to an actual disc.
Another way is, treat the ISO file if it were a disk. There are numerous utilities out there that will treat an ISO file as if it were a disk drive. One of such product is Daemon Tools. With the help of this utility, you can mount the ISO file and it appears as an additional disk drive on your computer.
Treat the ISO file as if it were in an archive. The popular archiving utilities, including WinRAR and 7 Zip, can also read and extract the content of ISO files. You just need to use those tool’s view or extraction functions on the ISO file to examine its content or extract some or all of the files you require.
Making or creating ISO files of CD’s or some other disks that you own is a convenient way to backup, archive or share them. And it is actually quite easy to do. You can create an ISO file either from actual disk or from collection of files.