Use ISOs on Linux

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ISOs are used for many purposes and frequently, you just want to have a look inside without actually burning the ISO. With Linux and unlike on Windows, you can simply mount the ISO without any additional utilities, since an ISO file is just the same binary data as the CD (ISO 9660) without any meta data.

Mounting an ISO

You can just mount the ISO using a loopback device:

mount -o loop filename.iso mountpoint  # run as root

Mountpoint should be a (empty) directory you created before, preferable in /mnt or /media but that is not required.

If you need to mount the same ISO often and want to get rid of the need to become root, you can create a entry into fstab, which might look like this:

/.../filename.iso  mountpoint  iso9660  loop,ro  0  0

Of course, if you like, you could also tell the system to auto-mount the ISO, so it is mounted, when booting the system or running "mount -a":

/.../filename.iso  mountpoint  iso9660  loop,ro,auto  0  0

Converting other CD image formats to ISO

  • For MDF:

Install mdf2iso (available as package "mdf2iso" for Gentoo and Ubuntu) and run "mdf2iso filename.mdf".