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What is the .ISO File Extension?

.ISO File Extension Description:

The file extension ISO is based on the ISO-9660 standard for making copies of CDs and DVDs. The ISO 9660 is the standard set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for defining the CD-ROM file system so that the data contained within the media can be used for exchange of files between different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X.

The ISO file extension often identifies the ISO image contained in a CD-ROM media using a conventional ISO format. But the ISO image itself can be any optical disc image. On Mac OS, the CDR file extension is used for ISO images rather than the file extension ISO.

In addition to ISO images, files with the .iso file extension also contain all the metadata file system such as the boot code, attributes, and structures. These properties are great alternatives to physical media properties for distributing software because of their simple nature when being transferred over LAN or Internet. These files cannot be used for audio CDs because they are not in multi-track image formats.

Files with the .iso file extension can be used as mount virtual drives that can emulate physical CDs or DVDs. Running an ISO image in the hard drive where the speed is many times faster than a CD or DVD drive attains this. The ISO image represents the software title that you want to use and is written in such a way that a physical disk is required to be present in order to run. Most of the software titles in this category are game applications.

The most important use of the file with the .iso file extension is when you are duplicating of backing up a CD or DVD. This is because the file copies every bit of data exactly from the disc and as a result, you can restore the disc exactly to its original version.

Copying all the files from the disc is a very different process because the header of the disc is lost in the procedure, which is not appropriate for distributing content. Hence, the files with the .iso file extension were created to remove these restrictions and with that, they can be accessed on a variety of equipments.

Based on ISO specifications, files with the .iso file extension can use the first 32768 bytes of the disc. Afterwards is a series of volume descriptors, which provide in details the characteristics of the file system present on the volume of the CD-ROM. At least one primary descriptor is present in the disc to describe the file with the .iso file extension and a terminating descriptor to indicate the end of the descriptor sequence.

Author: International Organization for Standardization
Author URL:
Related Applications: ISO 9660
Common Path: N/A


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Do you have errors with .ISO files?

The Typical Reason for .ISO files Errors:

A typical and frequent explanation for .ISO files errors is corruption in the Windows registry - repairs are needed to avoid more damage in other applications and/or hardware devices. During the time the errors persist your personal computer stays at risk for likely blue screen errors, hardware failure and fatal crashes.

Symptoms of .ISO files Errors:

.ISO files error symptoms include software freezes, start up or shut down troubles, slow system operation, sluggish behaviour, input freeze, internal speaker beeps, trouble saving application files as well as issues during application installs.

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