An ISO file, also known as an ISO image, is a file that contains all of the installation files for a single program. Some software, especially larger ones, is sometimes available as ISO files, including Microsoft Office and the Windows operating system. How you install an application from its ISO file depends on the version of Windows you are using.
In Windows 10 or 8.1, you can mount the ISO file as a virtual drive and install the software from there. If you’re still using Windows 7 (you shouldn’t be), you’ll need to download a utility that can mount the ISO file for you. You can also burn the ISO file to a disc or copy it to a USB drive and install it from the CD or drive. If you download Windows 10 as an ISO file, you will need to burn it to a bootable DVD or copy it to a bootable USB drive to install it on your target computer. Here’s how to install an ISO image on Windows.
Mount the ISO file in Windows 10 or 8.1
Download the ISO file, then open File Explorer and right click on the file. In the context menu, select the Mount command.
Sometimes a third-party program can disable the built-in Mount command so that it does not appear in the menu. If so, you will need to reset your default program to restore control. In Windows 10, go to Settings> Apps> Default apps and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click it Set default values ââper application connect. In the list of applications, click on the one for Windows Disc Image Burner and click Manage.
Click on the name of the third-party program and change it to Windows Explorer.
Go back to File Explorer and right-click the ISO file again. The Mount command should now appear in the menu. Running the Mount command opens a virtual drive visible in the File Explorer sidebar, from which you can install the software. On this virtual drive, you should find a setup.exe or similar file to install the program. Double click on this file to install it.
Once the installation is complete, open the This PC folder in File Explorer so that you can see all of your disk drives. Right click on the virtual drive. (It will likely have a drive letter of D or E, depending on your setup). In the context menu, click the Eject command. This removes the virtual drive, although your ISO file is still alive and well.
Mount ISO file in Windows 7
The Mount command is only available on Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. If you are running Windows 7, you can instead turn to a free virtual drive utility, such as Virtual CloneDrive. After installation, open Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and right click on the ISO file you want to install. In the context menu, click on the Mount (Virtual CloneDrive) order.
The virtual drive is created. A small window will appear asking if you want to run the setup file or open the virtual drive folder. Choose the option to run the setup file.
The installation then continues. After the program is installed, right-click the ISO file in Windows Explorer and click Unmount from the context menu to remove the virtual drive.
Burn ISO file to disc
Another option to install a program from an ISO file is to simply burn the file to a CD or DVD, or copy it to a USB drive and install it from there. This is a useful method if you want to store the program on a disk that you can install in any version of Windows. You would also do this to install Windows from an ISO file on a clean machine.
To burn the ISO file to a disc, insert a blank CD or DVD into your PC’s disc drive. Open File Explorer or Windows Explorer and right click on the ISO file. In the context menu, select the Burn a disc image order.
The Windows Disc Image Burner tool appears and should point to your CD / DVD drive. Click the Burn button to continue. The ISO file is burned to your CD or DVD. Your disc drive can then open so you can remove the disc.
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Depending on your installation settings, you can then install your program from the disc automatically by placing it in the drive of a PC or by double-clicking the installation file as it appears in File Explorer or Windows Explorer.
Another option that gives you the option of burning the ISO to disc or copying it to a USB drive is the Windows USB / DVD Download Tool, a free utility from Microsoft. This tool copies the contents of the ISO file to a CD, DVD, or USB drive so that you can then install the program from the disc or USB drive, which becomes bootable.
This is a good method if you want to install Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 on a clean computer or as part of a dual-boot setup. Microsoft no longer offers this utility on its website, but you can still find it on other sites, including FileHippo and Major Geeks.
After downloading the Windows7-USB-DVD-Download-Tool-Installer.exe file, right click on it and choose it Execute as administrator option. Once the installation is complete, launch the tool and then locate and choose the ISO file you want to burn. Click Next, then choose a USB device or DVD.
If you choose USB, the next screen will ask you to insert the USB media. If you have multiple USB drives plugged into your PC, make sure you choose the correct one. Click Start Copy to copy the file to the drive.
If the USB flash drive still contains data, it will be erased. Click on Erase the USB stick to make room for Windows files. After the files are copied, the tool will tell you that the bootable USB device has been created successfully. You can then use your USB device to install the program.
If you choose a DVD, insert a blank DVD into your drive and click Start Burning. The tool will notify you once the DVD has been burned successfully. You can now use your bootable DVD to install the program.
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