HomeWinBuzzer TipsHow to Mount or Unmount ISO and IMG Files in Windows 11

How to Mount or Unmount ISO and IMG Files in Windows 11

We show you several ways how to mount or unmount ISO files and IMG files in Windows 11.

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ISO images hold the information on physical media like CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs in an archival file format using the file ending “.ISO”. Software makers and developers employ ISO files to deliver programs, utilities, and in this format which then can be used to create exact physical copies of those CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs or to attach (mount) those as virtual discs directly to a running system

For a long time, Windows didn't provide built-in support for ISOs. Before Windows 8, you had to utilize third-party utilities. What you should know about ISOs on is provided below.

The Difference Between ISO and IMG Files

The older IMG file format was designed to allow exact backup copies of floppy disks in a single file, just as ISO does for optical discs. It works by creating a bitmap of each sector of the disk that has been written to. Since the demise of floppy disks, the IMG format has been primarily used for the creation of hard disk image files.

You may view the entire contents of an ISO image or an IMG image when you mount it on Windows 11. ISO files can be used to distribute software via bootable media images and IMG files to create exact copies of hard drives/SSDs as backups or for easy deployment of similar workstations in large organizations.

When you mount an ISO file / IMG file, your computer will handle it as if you had loaded/connected a CD, DVD, Blu-ray disc, or HDD/SSD on your system

How to Mount ISO or IMG Files Opening Them Directly

You should always proceed with care when mounting ISO files since they may include malware or other potentially unwanted applications. In Windows 11, you can mount ISO / unmount ISO files in a straightforward way by just opening them.

  1. Directly Mount the ISO File
     
    Simply double-click the ISO file or select it and press “Enter” to mount it as a virtual drive.
     

    Windows 11 - File Explorer - Double Click to Open Iso

  2. Alternative: Select the ISO file and press “Enter” to mount it
     

    Windows 11 - File Explorer - Select Iso - Press Enter

How to Mount ISO or IMG files from File Explorer Command Bar

You can also mount the ISO file with the File Explorer Command Bar as shown in the following step.

Navigate and Mount
 
Click the three dots in the File Explorer's top right corner, then select “Mount” to attach the ISO or IMG file as a virtual disc.
 
Windows 11 - File Explorer - Select Iso - Mount

How to Mount ISO or IMG files using the Mount Context Menu

Mount Using Right-Click
 
Right-click on the ISO file and choose “Mount” from the context menu to quickly attach it as a virtual drive.
 
Windows 11 - File Explorer - Context Menu Iso File - Mount

How to Mount ISO or IMG files using the “Open with”-Context Menu

You can also mount the ISO file using the “Open with” option from the context menu.

Mount with ‘Open with'
 
Right-click the ISO file, go to “Open with“, and select “Windows Explorer” to mount the file.
 
Windows 11 - File Explorer - Context Menu Iso File - Open With - Windows Explorer

How to Unmount ISO or IMG files using Eject

Unmounting ISO files / IMG files is as easy as mounting them. Just follow along with the following procedure.

  1. Eject to Unmount via the File Explorer Command Bar
     
    Click the three dots near the mounted ISO file and choose “Eject”, or right-click the mounted file and select “Eject” from the context menu to unmount it.
     

    Windows 11 - This PC - Select Select Mounted Iso - Eject

  2. Eject to Unmount via the File Explorer Context Menu
     
    Right-click on the mounted ISO file and select “Eject“.
     

    Windows 11 - This PC - Context Menu Mounted Iso - Eject

How to Mount or Unmount ISO or IMG files in PowerShell

You can also use PowerShell to mount or unmount ISO images and files. 

  1. Launch Terminal
     
    Right-click the Windows icon, select “Terminal“.
     
    Windows 11 - Open Windows Terminal -
  2. Open PowerShell
     
    Click the new tab button and pick “Windows PowerShell“.
     
    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Open PowerShell
  3. Mount with PowerShell
     
    Execute the command Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath YOUR_ISO_File_Location to mount your desired ISO or IMG file.
     
    Windows 11 - PowerShell - Enter the Cmd to Mount Iso
  4. Assign a Drive Letter
     
    Type in the following command to assign the desired drive letter to the mounted ISO file / IMG file.
    Dismount-DiskImage -DevicePath YOUR_Drive

    In the command above, replace with the DVD drive letter (for example, “E“) of the mounted ISO or IMG file you want to unmount.
     
    Windows 11 - PowerShell - Enter the Cmd to Unmount Iso

  5. Unmount the Image File
     
    Type in the following command to unmount the ISO file / IMG file using PowerShell.
    Dismount-DiskImage -DevicePath "Filepath"

    Alternatively, paste the path of your ISO file in the command, and it will unmount that specific ISO file or IMG file.
     
    Windows 11 - PowerShell - Enter the Cmd to Unmount Iso

How to Mount or Unmount ISO files / IMG files in Command Prompt

  1. Open Terminal
     
    Right-click the Windows icon, choose “Terminal“.
     Windows 11 - Open Windows Terminal -
  2. Open Command Prompt
     
    Select “Command Prompt” from the dropdown options.
     

    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Open Cmd Prompt

  3. Mount via Command Prompt
     
    Type in the following command to mount the ISO file / IMG file using the command prompt.
    PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "path of ISO File"

    Use the complete path and filename of the ISO file in the above command instead of “path of ISO File“, and it will mount that specific ISO file.
     
    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Cmd Prompt - Enter the Cmd to Mount Iso

  4. Unmount Using Command Prompt
     
    Use PowerShell Dismount-DiskImage -DevicePath \\.\ or PowerShell Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath to unmount your ISO or IMG file.
     
    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Cmd Prompt - Enter the Cmd to Unmount Iso
  5. Alternative command
     
    You can also use the command  PowerShell Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath to unmount your ISO or IMG file.
     
    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Cmd Prompt - Enter the Cmd to Unmount Iso

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Mounting and Managing ISO Files in Windows 11

Can I mount an IMG or ISO file on an external hard drive or USB flash drive?

Yes, Windows 11 allows you to mount IMG or ISO files stored on any accessible storage device, including external hard drives and USB flash drives. Simply connect the device to your computer, navigate to the IMG or ISO file using File Explorer, and follow the standard mounting procedure by double-clicking the file or using the right-click context menu to select ‘Mount'. The virtual drive will appear alongside your other drives in File Explorer.

How can I set a default program to automatically mount IMG or ISO files when I double-click them?

To ensure ISO files automatically mount when double-clicked, set Windows Explorer as their default program. Right-click on any IMG or ISO file and choose ‘Properties'. In the ‘General' tab, click ‘Change…' next to ‘Opens with'. From the list of programs, select ‘Windows Explorer' (or ‘File Explorer' in some versions) and click ‘OK'. Confirm by clicking ‘Apply' and ‘OK' in the Properties window. This makes Windows Explorer the default handler for ISO files, enabling them to be mounted with a double-click.

What are the limitations of mounting IMG or ISO files in Windows 11 compared to using third-party software?

While Windows 11 provides basic functionality for mounting IMG or ISO files, it lacks the advanced features offered by many third-party IMG/ISO management tools. For instance, Windows 11 cannot create, edit, or convert IMG or ISO files natively. It also doesn't support disk image encryption, compression, or the creation of bootable USB drives from IMG or ISO files. Third-party tools offer a broader range of disk image management features, including the ability to modify the contents of ISO files, create ISOs from folders or CDs/DVDs, and more sophisticated mounting options like using virtual drives with customizable drive letters.

How do I fix issues with IMG or ISO files not mounting in Windows 11?

If you encounter issues mounting an IMG or ISO file, first ensure the file isn't corrupted by trying to mount it on another computer or checking its integrity if a checksum is available. Restarting your computer can resolve temporary software glitches. If the issue persists, check that the IMG or ISO file association hasn't been altered by navigating to ‘Settings' > ‘Apps' > ‘Default Apps' and resetting the default app for ISO files to Windows Explorer. If none of these steps work, the ISO file might be incompatible or damaged, in which case you might try obtaining it again from the source or using third-party software to access its contents.

Can mounting an IMG or ISO file in Windows 11 introduce security risks?

Mounting an IMG or ISO file can potentially introduce security risks, particularly if the ISO originates from an untrusted source. IMG and ISO files can contain malware or other harmful software that can execute upon mounting or accessing the files within the ISO. Always ensure the source of your IMG or ISO file is reputable and secure. It's advisable to scan IMG and ISO files with antivirus software before mounting. Additionally, be cautious when running executables or opening files from an IMG or ISO, as these actions can activate malicious software.

Is it possible to mount part of an IMG or ISO file or select specific files within an ISO to mount?

Windows 11 does not support mounting portions of an IMG or ISO file or selecting specific files within an ISO to mount. The mounting process treats the IMG or ISO as a single unit, similar to inserting a physical disc into a drive. To access specific files, you must mount the entire IMG or ISO . If you only need a few files from the IMG/ISO, consider using third-party software to extract the desired files from the IMG/ISO image without mounting it, allowing you to access the files directly without the need for virtual drive emulation.

How do I view the contents of an IMG or ISO file without mounting it?

To view the contents of an ISO file without mounting it, you can use third-party archival software like 7-Zip or WinRAR. These tools allow you to open IMG or ISO files similarly to zip archives, enabling you to browse, extract, and even modify the contents without mounting the ISO as a virtual drive. Simply right-click the ISO file and choose the appropriate option from your archival software's context menu, such as ‘Open with 7-Zip'. This method is particularly useful for quickly accessing files or when you're using a device where you don't have permissions to mount ISO files.

Can I mount IMG or ISO files that are larger than the available space on my Windows 11 system drive?

Yes, you can mount IMG or ISO files regardless of their size relative to the free space on your system drive because mounted IMG/ISO files don't consume physical disk space. When you mount an ISO, Windows 11 creates a virtual drive that simulates the presence of a physical disc. The data remains in the IMG/ISO file and is accessed as needed, so the size of the IMG/ISO file does not impact your system drive's available space. This makes it possible to mount large IMG/ISO files even on devices with limited storage capacity.

Why does my virtual drive disappear after restarting my computer?

Virtual drives created by mounting IMG or ISO files in Windows 11 are temporary and only persist for the current session. When you restart your computer, these virtual drives are automatically unmounted and disappear from File Explorer. This behavior mimics the physical action of removing a CD or DVD from a drive upon shutdown. If you need the IMG or ISO file to be available as a virtual drive after a restart, you will need to remount the IMG/ISO file manually or set up a script or task in the Task Scheduler to mount the IMG/ISO automatically upon login.

Can I use PowerShell or Command Prompt to mount IMG or ISO files in a specific order or with specific settings?

While PowerShell and Command Prompt allow you to mount IMG or ISO files using specific commands, the control over the order of mounted drives and specific settings like drive letters is managed by Windows and may not always follow the order of command execution. However, you can use the Mount-DiskImage PowerShell cmdlet to mount an IMG/ISO and then use the Get-DiskImage cmdlet followed by Get-Volume to identify the newly mounted volume and assign a drive letter using the Set-Partition cmdlet. This process requires administrative privileges and a good understanding of PowerShell cmdlets related to disk management.

How do I automate the mounting of IMG or ISO files on multiple computers in a network?

Automating the mounting of ISO files across multiple computers in a network can be achieved by creating a PowerShell script that uses the Mount-DiskImage cmdlet to mount the desired IMG or ISO file. This script can then be deployed and executed across the networked computers using a network administration tool, group policy, or remote script execution methods like PsExec or Windows Remote Management (WinRM). Ensure the script is tested in a controlled environment before widespread deployment to avoid potential issues.

Can I mount an ISO file as a removable drive instead of a virtual CD/DVD drive?

By default, Windows 11 mounts ISO files as virtual CD/DVD drives. To mount an IMG or ISO file as a removable drive, you would need specialized third-party virtual drive software that supports this feature. These tools create a virtual removable drive, allowing the mounted IMG/ISO to be treated similarly to a USB flash drive. This can be particularly useful for certain applications or testing environments that require the ISO content to be recognized as removable storage.

How do I handle IMG/ISO files with multiple volumes or sessions?

Windows 11 should automatically handle IMG/ISO files containing multiple volumes or sessions by presenting the user with the content of the last session or volume, which typically includes all previous sessions' data. However, if you need to access data from a specific session or manage sessions differently, you may need to use third-party IMG/ISO management software that provides more granular control over sessions within ISO files. These tools can allow you to view, extract, and sometimes even modify content from specific sessions.

Is it possible to edit a mounted IMG/ISO file directly to add or remove files?

Mounted IMG/ISO files in Windows 11 are treated as read-only, which means you cannot directly add, remove, or modify files within the mounted virtual drive. To change the contents of an IMG/ISO file, you would need to extract the IMG/ISO's contents to a folder, make the desired changes, and then use IMG/ISO creation software to compile the modified contents back into a new IMG/ISO file. This process allows for customization of IMG/ISO contents, but it requires additional steps and third-party software to complete.

Related: How to Create a Virtual Hard Drive or Virtual DVD Drive in Windows 11 and Windows 10

Creating virtual drives on Windows 11 or can be a beneficial way to manage your computer's storage and processing capabilities. Creating a virtual drive in Windows is certainly useful for numerous situations. For example, loading a DVD image in ISO format, partitioning ramdisk for apps that hog system performance, or creating a secure drive that is secured by a password. In our other guide, we show you how to create virtual drives in Windows.
 
Windows 10 How to create a Virtual Hard Drive

Last Updated on April 21, 2024 3:39 pm CEST

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.
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