Today's Building Windows 8 blog post is from Rajeev Nagar, and describes how Windows 8 can natively mount and work with files stored in ISO and VHD files.

For those of you who don't know, ISO files are images of CDs or DVDs that can be stored on your hard drive and burned to a disc - many install disks, including Windows and most Linux distros, come in ISO format when they're downloaded. Windows 7 introduced the ability to burn ISO files natively, but you still have to download a third-party program to actually mount them without burning them to a CD. ISO mounting in Windows 8 replaces those third-party programs with similar functionality - Windows will assign a drive letter to a virtual optical drive, at which point you can browse the ISO and do what you need to with the files, and the unmount it when you're done.

Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files are similar to ISOs, except that they store the contents of an entire hard drive. Virtual machines created using programs like Virtual PC, VMWare, and VirtualBox use (or can use) VHD files to store an entire bootable OS without the need of a physical disk. Working with VHD files in Windows 8 is a lot like working with ISOs - they're assigned a drive letter and then treated as a physical hard drive by the OS, allowing for viewing, adding, or modifying of files.

None of this is ground-breaking technology, but I like to keep my OSes as clean as possible, and I always appreciate it when new Windows features obviate the need for third-party plugins.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • ant1pathy - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I hear you there. The more native functionality for these things that are baked in, the less I have to hunt for other programs to do what I need.

    And I like the ribbon. And I love the rate of change we're seeing in the computer and mobile space. The future is awesome.
  • nglessner - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    You (and I) might like it, but I'm pretty sure it was this kind of thing that got Microsoft in trouble with anti-trust suits.

    Don't get me wrong, I do like features like this... another one (if you're listening microsoft) would be something similar to notepad++. Just improve the original notepad to have some similar features. I can't tell you how many times I log into a server and am frustrated by the lack of a quality text editor.
  • jordanclock - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    No, the thing that got Microsoft into anti-trust lawsuits was offering discounts to resellers for NOT carrying competing products.
  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    At this point, simply including useful features in Windows isn't grounds for anti-trust and frankly some features need be included in the core OS. I appreciate 3rd party developers for all theyve done, but none of their plugins go through the same level of testing a Microsoft product does.

    Besides, I wait for the day anti-virus companies sue Microsoft because Windoes is secure enough, you don't really need an AV program installed (if you lock down Windows 8 such that only App Store apps can run, that day might be sooner than you think).
  • slyck - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I don't think you know Microsoft very well.
  • SmCaudata - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I'm pretty sure that Apple has paved the way for MS to include whatever they want without feat. With a mac I can print to PDF by default, play music, make movies, video chat, browse the internet, check email, etc.... These are all products that MS makes, but don't come baked in. I really hope MS puts in some of these programs that come with OSx by default. If Apple can do it without fear why can't they?
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Because Microsoft is dominant in the market. You don't go after the little guys, you go after the big guys because the losing team bribed others to do so...I mean, what?
  • genzai - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    It is often in the comments (and rightfully so) of articles written about new versions of Mac OS exacerbating that a feature that has long been in windows is finally in OS X. This is one good opportunity to say "finally, as OS X has had this feature forever". I always loved how easy it was to work with ISO files and (DMG) disk images in Mac OS. I hope it works just as well in win8.
  • JNo - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    "None of this is ground-breaking technology, but I like to keep my OSes as clean as possible, and I always appreciate it when new Windows features obviate the need for third-party plugins."

    Good stuff - I concur!
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I think it's awesome. Just think of how crazy it is to pay for anti-virus. Many companies charge $40-50 a year for their survice. This ends up costing you more than the OS after a few years. That's just crazy to me. Utilites like win-rar and such should also be like $5 instead of $30.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now