WinZip's GZ Opener Functionality

WinZip's ISO Opener Functionality

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What is an ISO file extension?

An ISO file is, simply put, a digital file format replicating a physical CD, DVD, or BD. The ISO file extension does not just store files and folders; they house all the vital file system information about the disc’s structure. This information stored on the ISO file can be “mounted” and used on your computer without a CD player, be opened to explore the contents, or simply burned onto a physical disc of your choice.

Unlike many other file formats, the ISO file extension does not use compression, as it’s a full digital copy of the original disc.

What are ISO files used for?

ISO files are most commonly used to create backup discs on physical CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs. Since the ISO file format is capable of storing a 1-1 digital replica of a physical disc, there is no compression involved since it is intended to be used as it is without extracting.

You may also mount an ISO file in a virtual disc, provided your operating system supports it. By mounting an ISO file, you’re virtually “inserting” the disc without the need for an external disc reader. By doing this, your computer will treat the mounted ISO file as if you inserted a physical disc.

One notable usage with ISO files is the distribution and usage of large programs. For example, Windows and Linux operating systems can be used by burning the file to a USB storage device or a CD.

How to Open and Read ISO Files

You can open and read any ISO file on Windows and macOS by using WinZip. By following these steps, you’ll be able to unpack, open and read ISO files on your computer:

Method 1

Open ISO Files - Step 1
1. Find the iso file you would like to open on your computer and double-click on the file. This will open up WinZip and display the file.
Open ISO Files - Step 2
2. On the panel on the right side of the screen, click "Unzip to:" and choose the location you would like to save your file to, for instance the desktop or an external hard drive.
Open ISO Files - Step 3
3. Click "Unzip" to begin the process. Within a few moments the files within the ISO file will be available to view and use in the location you specified.

Method 2

Open ISO Files - Step 1
1. Right-click on the ISO file and hover over "WinZip" to display the secondary menu.
Open ISO Files - Step 2
2. Click on "Unzip to..." and choose the location you want to save the file to.
Open ISO Files - Step 3
3. Click "Unzip" which will open up the contents of the ISO file.

How to Create ISO Files

Microsoft has created a Media Creation Tool for Windows 10. After downloading the tool from the Windows 10 page follow the steps below to create an ISO file of your desktop.

  1. Open the tool and select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO) for another PC. Then select Next.
  2. Choose the language, architecture, and edition of Windows you are using and select > Next.
  3. Select “ISO file” and then select Next. The tool will then run and create your ISO file for you.
  4. In order to use the ISO file as a backup for your computer or to install it onto another PC you will need to burn it onto a DVD.

Mounting ISO Files

When mounting an ISO file, you’ll be able to use it as if it were a physical CD or DVD. But before we dig into how to mount an ISO, you’ll first need a virtual drive in order to do so.

ISO files can be mounted directly in Windows 10. Follow the steps below to mount your .iso file directly to your desktop.

  1. Locate your ISO file on your computer
  2. Right-click on the ISO file and select Open with > Choose another app
  3. When the window appears select the checkbox by “Always use this app to open /iso files. Then select Windows Explorer from the list
  4. Your ISO file is now mounted to your desktop

Converting ISO Files

There are hundreds of other disc image file formats to choose from when converting your ISO files. However, most of these formats each have very specific procedures in order to convert.

However, the ISO File format can be opened with WinZip, which allows you to extract the files and create a new file in the disc image file format of your choosing.

To reiterate, there is not a “one-size fits all” iso converter solution for your ISO files, but it is, nonetheless, still possible to convert. If you wish to convert your ISO to a format that is compatible with WinZip, you may want to convert your ISO to a DMG, BIN, or IMG format.

If you would like the individual files in the ISO file converted to zip then follow this detailed guide:

  1. Follow the steps above in “How to Open ISO Files”.
  2. Now select the files you wish to ZIP from your PC, network, or cloud services in the files panel.
  3. Click “Add to Zip”.
  4. In the actions panel, click “Save as”.
  5. Choose any local, network or cloud location where you wish to save your new ZIP file.
  6. You may also choose to email it, share it in an instant message or via supported social media platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ISO files safe?

While there’s always a risk of malware on any file, ISO files are generally considered safe. This is simply because the ISO files are very large, and malware could be more easily inserted into smaller executable files. It’s always a good idea to scan your ISO files with antivirus software before using it.

What can I do with an ISO file?

You can launch the ISO file with a virtual disc reader, store it as a backup or burn it to a CD or DVD. The ISO file extension is essentially a virtual disc; hence it’ll be used in the same way as a physical disc.

Can I install windows with an ISO?

Yes, with an ISO file, you can install Windows OS. To do this, you’ll need to store it on a USB storage or hard drive and use it while booting up your PC.

What is a bootable ISO?

A bootable ISO is designed to execute when you boot up your PC. There are many examples of this, but one would be when using an ISO to install an operating system.

Open ISO files on Windows or Mac

WinZip 28
  • Windows 11
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Internet Explorer 8 or later
WinZip Mac 10
  • Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, or 10.10
  • Intel 64-bit processor
  • Supports Apple Retina Displays

WinZip opens and extracts ISO Compressed Archive Files—and many more formats

We designed WinZip to open and extract from the widest range of file formats, including all of the following:

Get WinZip now to open your ISO file(s) on Windows, then enjoy all that the world's most popular compression utility has to offer, including the easiest and most practical file compression, encryption, packaging, file management and data backup capabilities.

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