ISO Images

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An ISO image is a file that contains an image of a CD-based medium (CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc). They have a standardized format, which makes them well suited to sharing with others, since they can be processed by most programs. The basic difference between ISO and Virtual CD images is that ISO images cannot store additional or special information. Furthermore, special properties such as encryption are not available.



One significant difference between the two is that ISO images cannot store all CD types. Only one data track can be stored, which is sufficient for most media types. Media with other data, such as audio CDs, or CDs with several data tracks, such as Video-CDs, cannot be created as ISO images.


ISO images have the following characteristics:

Universally portable format.
The image cannot be divided into several parts; it is always stored as a single file.
Auxiliary data cannot be included.
Special properties (encryption, etc.) are not available.


The following files can be stored along with a ISO image:

< filename>.ISO: The actual ISO image.
<filename>.ICO: Icon file; defines the icon shown for the image in the CD Control Center.
< filename>.VBL: Log file containing information generated during creation of the image.
< filename>.vii: "Virtual CD Image Information File;" stores additional properties (such as a comment).


Icon files, log files and information files are not required parts of an image. They are created by Virtual CD as needed.

Virtual CD can define certain image properties, such as a description or a comment with additional information. Since ISO images do not have the same structure as virtual CDs, Virtual CD creates an additional file in the image's directory for storing the auxiliary information.



To use an ISO image in a different program, all you need is a copy of the .ISO file. The other files are required only for use in Virtual CD.



Windows 7 provides various functions for the use of ISO images, such as the Windows burner for media images. Similar functions are available for other Windows versions as well, but must be retrofitted.