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What is meant by an ISO image of a Operating System? How can I make an ISO of an OS? When would you use ISO images of an OS?

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4 Answers 4

Most of the time, People often say ISO when referring to installation disk (images) of of either Officially released Microsoft or Linux Operating Systems. (The other times, it usually refers to a pirate version of any software available on disk).

For example, what a ZIP file is to a folder/files, an ISO file is to CD... an ISO file maintains all files and folders along with the entire disk structure (to a limit) and a few other bits of information.

This makes it the best way to transfer a CD across the internet. For Example, on Technet or MSDN (both require membership), Microsoft give their Operating Systems (and many other pieces of software) away as ISO disk images. After downloading, using a third party tool such as CDBurnerXP (or native now in Windows 7), you simply point the ISO file to a real disk, and it will burn.

Alternatively, you can mount an ISO file to a Virtual Drive using a tool such as Virtual Clone Drive or extract files from it using 7-Zip or Winrar.

If you have any CD file burning software installed, you may want to take a look as some allow you to create an ISO file during the last step where you would target an optical drive.

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i just downloaded CDBurnerXP, didn't work. Note: CDBurnerXP (despite its confusing name) does NOT work natively in XP, it requires to install dotnet framework. thanks, but no thanks. :) –  Molly7244 Dec 6 '09 at 19:14
Download the older version from their site - it doesn't require the .net framework... but many many people do have it - but it does work on xp!... –  William Hilsum Dec 6 '09 at 19:27
will check that ... and i'm sure it does work (IF .net is present). –  Molly7244 Dec 6 '09 at 19:33

Wikipedia has a good definition. The short answer is an ISO is a way to send a CD or DVD as a single file that can then be burnt to a disk as a complete file system. The most common use of an OS ISO is to distribute a Linux OS.

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  1. What do we mean by ISO image of a Operating system?

    (If we're only concerned with their uses for operating systems,) an ISO image is a binary file representing the entire filesystem of one of the following:

    1. Install CD: These are not capable of running an OS, only installing it.
    2. Live CD: You can run an OS from these, or install the OS (generally)
  2. How do we make a ISO of any OS?

  3. When do we use ISO image of OS?

    • When you want to download an install CD or a live CD from the internet and burn it to a CD yourself.
    • When you want to distribute your own custom CD over the internet

So short answer: Downloading an ISO is the digital way of picking up a CD.

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When you would like to copy your OS disk into another disk / HDD you can create an .iso format image.You can run it by using virtual cd tools like Daemon Tools / Power ISO or write your ISO file to an other cd/dvd to use it later.

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