Windows 8 has native mounting support for ISOs, VHDs

By on August 30, 2011, 8:00 PM

Details about Windows 8 continue to trickle out this month as Microsoft reveals another new addition to its upcoming operating system: native support for widely used image file formats. Unlike previous Windows editions, Redmond's latest and greatest software will be able to mount ISO and VHD files without installing third party software such as Daemon Tools or PowerISO.

The ISO options will appear in Windows Explorer's ribbon interface and right-click menu. When you mount an ISO image, Windows automatically creates a virtual optical drive allowing you to explore the file's contents. Ejecting the mounted image is just as simple: select the entry and click a button in the ribbon. We assume there'll also be an option in the context menu.

You're probably less familiar with VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) files, but the Microsoft-owned format is commonly used as a virtual machine's hard disk and should be equally straightforward to manage. Such files will appear as new hard drives (instead of removable drives like ISOs) and you'll be able to add, remove or modify files as with any other storage drive in your machine.

Mounting an ISO in Windows 8

Ejecting a VHD in Windows 8

Considering the accelerated unveiling of Windows 8's features, it seems liley that Microsoft is building hype for a beta unveiling sometime this year. Based on previous info, the operating system is expected to hit Release Candidate (RC) status in January 2012, followed by RTM between late spring and mid-summer, while a retail launch is anticipated for holiday 2012.

For whatever it's worth, Microsoft is supposedly committed to a three-year release cycle and that timeline jibes with Windows 7's release schedule. The beta software leaked to torrent sites in December 2008, an official beta was released in January 2009, the RC was made available in April, RTM was reached in July and the operating system finally launched in October.

Many power users still question whether Windows 8 will be a worthy successor to Windows 7 and the addition of long-demanded features like native ISO support along with an optimized file management system will help piqué their interest. A few months ago, we asked if you planned to purchase Windows 8 and most replies effectively said "maybe" or "no." Has that changed?

User Comments: 30

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Guest said:

I'm still a "maybe" but ISO support certainly helps.

Emin3nce said:

No. Took me 5 years to prepare for a roll out of windows 7 over all of our XP machines. Even now we have 2 software packages that still bug out.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I'm curious enough to try the beta.

Guest said:

I will buy a notebook with Windows 7 pro & Widows XP Mode.

aj_the_kidd said:

ISO mounting is a nice touch, still not enough to upgrade

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Its "typical". Ever since XP, and certainly XP SP2, Microsoft has been taking freeware apps, and making them into the OS. CD burning, firewall, malware, av, burning isos, now mounting? They are one by one killing 3rd party developers.

Guest said:

Well, when Apple bundles their own software, no one complains about it.

Guest said:

"They are one by one killing 3rd party developers."

Really who used a paid app for this anyway?

Still, I'm not too inspired by the changes. There isn't a killer feature being added. Making the OS slightly more efficient to use by moving menus around isn't a game breaker of a change. There is a lack of imagination here... just turning the wheel.

KG363 KG363 said:

I was a "no". I am now a "maybe"

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Pretty good idea.

As far as cost when it comes to upgrading again, figure $200 for Windows, times 3 years, that comes out to 19 cents a day. Compare that to 2-3 dollars a day for your cell phone, etc, etc.

Besides, if you buy Windows 8, just think of it as freeing up another Windows 7 license for another build. =)

aj_the_kidd said:

SNGX1275 said:

Its "typical". Ever since XP, and certainly XP SP2, Microsoft has been taking freeware apps, and making them into the OS. CD burning, firewall, malware, av, burning isos, now mounting? They are one by one killing 3rd party developers.

Thats one way to look at it or another way is they just wanted to make things more convenient for users, if all these programs come standard with the new version of windows, why not add them in, they are free afterall. You will still be able to install 3rd party programs if you want, which most people will do particularly with the types of programs you mentioned.

blimp01 said:

i already liked how the VHD mounting worked in windows 7

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I am sort of in the middle from the start, I will wait till the RC and then make my mind about upgrading. TBH there is nothing which I can't do with Win7 atm, so the next upgrade will be more out of habit then anything else.

Guest said:

yup, will be buying windows 8 home premium (family pack-upgrade for 3 computers @150$ or 100$, eh microsoft?)

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I will upgrade to Windows 8 and probably buy a tablet too. Except it will be via work (HE) so will get quite a discount. Win7 Ultimate cost me £20 last year. Tablet will be cool for testing. Metro UI should work better than the current UI.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm still falling on the side of Win 7 with regards to the cost, like most people. This certainly aint no killer feature for me.

I'll probably give it a sniff when it's released, but i can't see myself handing out anything.

Win7Dev said:

Unless there is some major improvement like adding better native file extraction then I'm not buying.

Guest said:

nonnono according to some of these posters, we should be taking the OS BACK to barebones DOS.

That's it, DOS.

I like my OS all OLD looking and stuff.


Guest said:

I'm still on XP machine. Skipped Vista, was thinking of 7 but will wait unitl 8. So, my answer is: yes.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Some may not like the idea of changing OS's UI, but I am not one of them. I think as long as MS leaves the old interface/UI in place for these people, they should be okay. That will give everyone a chance to try out the new stuff, and if they like it they can stick with it, or simply go back to what they like.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

This is awesome! I'd much rather have my image mounting built into the OS. I'll definitely try an RC, and will most likely end up getting it. If I have an Android tablet by then, I may even try dual booting.


Xero07 said:

Nice upgrade. Could be quite useful on a tablet perhaps. I'll probably get windows 8 for at least one of my systems.

Guest said:

I'd upgrade from Windows 7 if the price were reasonable (e.g. around $20-$30 maybe). Of course this is Microsoft, so it won't be - they'll undoubtedly try to charge users over $50 or even over $100 for a tablet UI we'll never use and a few minor additions that can be added to Windows 7 via freeware programs anyway (i.e. TeraCopy, VirtualCloneDrive, etc.)

raybk said:

I don't think native ISO mounting is good reason for upgrade. I have free 3rd party ISO mounting software used for years! The 3rd party software can even support more disk formats.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Its a nice addition but IDK it will sell it to me. Depending on how Win8 preforms I might just skip 7 on my main gaming machine and jump straight to 8 (Still running xp right now :P).

ikesmasher said:

thats definately really nice!

And it will also help the pirates...haha

but who cares, this is awesome!

Michael Schmidt said:

Microsoft continues to play catch-up with Linux. We've had archive mounting for some time.

Guest said:

I think I'll stock with windows 7 four years ago , windows8 still not interest to upgrade to

edwaruma said:

i cnt wait for Win8 unfortunately i cant afford to download the beta version but im banking on the final version!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Quite frankly, mounting an ISO really isn't that big a deal. Many want to mount their game discs as ISOs, (myself included), so they don't have to crank the CD or DVD in and out of an optical drive constantly. I tend to think M$ isn't going to include any capability to go around DRM to mount these discs, possibly running afoul of the DMCA.

So, business as usual, you'd still have to get a clean ISO someplace else, before Windows would mount it for you.

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