ISO and VHD native support in Windows 8 detailed

Microsoft have announced in another post over at the Building Windows 8 MSDN blog that Windows 8 will have native and in-built support for both ISO disc images and VHD (virtual hard disk) files. The Windows 8 team have stated that support for both of these files types in Windows Explorer has been heavily requested and will improve the core functionality of Windows.

Through the Windows 8 enhanced Explorer ribbon, users will be able to easily mount ISO files without the need for any third party software. This will create a “virtual” mounted drive in the filesystem with the contents of the ISO file inside. Once you’ve finished with the ISO, you can simply eject it using the easy to access button.

While some software allows you to easily manage and replace content inside a disk image, at this stage it looks like Windows 8 will not be supporting this functionality, rather keeping ISO files as read-only like their optical disc counterparts would be. Also, there will not be support to create an ISO file easily from within Explorer.

VHD files will also be managed in a similar way to that of ISO files. You can mount the virtual hard disk and it will appear alongside your physical hard drives in Explorer; from there you will be able to add, remove and modify files just as you would with a standard drive, with the ability to format it as well. Once you’ve finished with the VHD you can simply eject it.

Yesterday the new Windows 8 ribbon-based Explorer was revealed through the MSDN blog, and previous to that we have seen information such as the improved copy-and-paste functionality to be included. Windows 8 is rumoured to be shown off more thoroughly at the BUILD conference between September 13 and 16 where Neowin will be in attendance.

Update: Below is a video of the new functionality in action. Note the work-in-progress Metro Start Menu that also appears towards the start of the video.

Images courtesy of Building Windows 8

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Playstation 3D Display will now have two PS3 games

Next Story

Apple launches developer beta for iTunes Match

63 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Well this VHD/ISO shell integration would be also apreciated in Windows 7 SP2, and probably this should also come to W7 the VHD is already supported it's only a matter for shell integration so that insted launching Virtual PC, browse the contents of the Virtual Disks, as for the iso it is also just a easy update.

I think the back/forward button address bar thing needs to be integrated with the Ribbon bar (UI purposes). Maybe when the Ribbon is closed down it should look like that, but if the Ribbon is expanded then I should think the UI should be one, rather than the Ribbon then a separate bar underneath it. Makes it very untidy. To me, the buttons have always been at the top. Maybe they could push the Ribbon buttons over to the right and put the Back and forward buttons with them and maybe have the address bar below the Ribbon or something.

Also, I need to emphasis this more about the Ribbon: The Ribbon can be hidden or changed to a mini-icon tool bar. If you go to the MSDN blog about the Ribbon bar UI, you'll see a screenshot of the whole bar being minimised to very small icons with no text. This should suit people who don't want to the large buttons.

Also about the Ribbon bar, it's there to make options that are hidden in context menu's etc to be more prominent to the end user. You can still use your shortcuts and context menus if you wish and hide the Ribbon bar. You have to remember that this OS will be tailored towards Tablets as well, so while we'll have the new Start Menu screen with the tiles etc, these Ribbon buttons will be so much easier to use.

this is wonderful. I remember a few weeks ago we were all asking for this feature in a post and some said anti competitive laws prevent microsoft from having this feature...

I am glad that microsoft is still working to give us techi folk something to talk about and be excited for.

Awesome! ISO mounting would have been great to have. VHD mounting would hae also been great to have. So both of them... fantastic!

Wasn't sure how I'd like the ribbon in explorer when it was first rumored, but looking at it, I think it's great. Though I'm in Office applications all day long, and my own software that I develop uses the ribbon, so maybe I'm just more used to it.

htcz said,
No classic "File, Edit, View" etc menu.......

Just ribbon.....*sighs*

Guess what? I never use those menu items in Explorer ever! My guess is the ribbon will enhance my UX!

KingCrimson said,

Guess what? I never use those menu items in Explorer ever! My guess is the ribbon will enhance my UX!


Just because you dont, doesnt mean others dont either...

Its about time. Being able to add files to an ISO would be a good idea tho. Make it happen. But yes I get sick of installing 3rd party apps for images. However we need support beyond ISO.

TechieXP said,
However we need support beyond ISO.

If jackass burning software authors would stop creating new formats every time they release a new program, and just stick to the standard ISO, then you wouldn't need support for other formats.

Incoming lawsuit that Microsoft is making 3rd party developer tools useless by providing much needed functionality to its Operating System. Sad part is you know it's true.

FuhrerDarqueSyde said,
Incoming lawsuit that Microsoft is making 3rd party developer tools useless by providing much needed functionality to its Operating System. Sad part is you know it's true.

Let me guess, the EU will have a cry and force MS to have a ballot screen for us UK people?

burhan9k said,
Mounting Added, now burning capabilities, so i don't have to install 3rd party softwares...

You can already burn disc images from Explorer if that's what you mean.

burhan9k said,
Mounting Added, now burning capabilities, so i don't have to install 3rd party softwares...

ehmmm maybe because you can already do that? yeah surprisily you can burn ISO files!

Daemon has been doing a great job over the years but having the ability to mount images from the OS will be excellent

FMH said,
I want to see the faces of those Mac fan websites when Windows 8 launches.

Why bring that up in a post about VHD and ISO mounting? Unless you mean that's an amazing feature that blows the pants off of OS X. In which case you'd be wrong, seeing as how OS X has had ISO, DMG, CDR, etc. mounting for 10 years now.

Elliott said,

Why bring that up in a post about VHD and ISO mounting? Unless you mean that's an amazing feature that blows the pants off of OS X. In which case you'd be wrong, seeing as how OS X has had ISO, DMG, CDR, etc. mounting for 10 years now.

So what? Go use your iToys, iSheep.

KingCrimson said,
So what? Go use your iToys, iSheep.
Happily.

Just so you know, all I was trying to do was get his story straight. It's like he was trying to blast OS X for something it's been doing for a long time.

I'll be honest. I don't know what ISO and VHD is. As I was reading this article, I had a thought about how good W8 would be , and would love to see those bashers eat their words, when it would launch. They have been making some really premature conclusions about it. So, I just posted my thoughts on a W8 article.

FMH said,
...

Ah right, that explains it. For a second, I thought you were just trolling/flame-baiting in a completely non-Apple-related Windows 8 article. *sigh* Don't worry though, KingCrimson holds the crown for being the first to bring Macs into this discussion pointlessly.

FMH said,
I'll be honest. I don't know what ISO and VHD is. As I was reading this article, I had a thought about how good W8 would be , and would love to see those bashers eat their words, when it would launch. They have been making some really premature conclusions about it. So, I just posted my thoughts on a W8 article.

ISO its just virtual dvd in your comp, you know when you get an amazing cd (which thanks to internet its less and less used) and you want to keep your game safe so it wonrt scratch, you will be able to burn as a file that cd. xD when you download cracked games you will probably find that useful though hahahahaha.
its nice addition, but honestly... i like extracting ISO or any virtual dvd file, because its better that way.

VHD... its Virtual Hard Disk , its used for Virtual PC machines like xp mode, so mounting that, you will not have to start the virtual pc software just to get a file you left accidentally there. its not something you will use all the time, but it might be useful for some people same as ISO.

windows 8 looks amazing and this kind of stuff at least is better than nothing. not like windows 8 would be bad without it, but natively is better than 3rd party in this case since you just dont have to install anything.

Yeah, I've been using Virtual Clone Drive for a long time now. It will be nice to not have to use a third party app, assuming the Windows version is just as good...

bruNo_ said,
That's nice, at least we won't need to mont ISOs using 3rd party tools.

Unfortunately they won't support all of the third party image files, so I'll still need Daemon Tools

dotf said,

Pirate.

Just because someone uses Daemon Tools doesn't make them a pirate. I use it to make local iso's of games I own and therefore can play without taking the physical disc with me.

Kushan said,

Windows 7 can boot from a VHD so I don't see why not.

Only Ultimate and Enterprise supported that. I would like to see Windows 8 expand that though and make it so that all the others did it as well.

Hmmm.... So it looks more and more that when I rip movies I need to save them in .iso format, since I assume that Windows Media Center, or its new iteration, will be able to easily "see" this virtual DVD drive.

And hmmm..... if they would also build in the codecs for HD video, that would be sweet.

Good! Don't know why that took so long, it's not like pirates are the only people using iso files,
I have to use them whenever I download from MSDNAA for example, burning every iso to a disc makes little sense...

That start menu is odd, I get it's a work in progress but where are the programs/applications? I hope they put a search bar in there too and not just the search button, I usually just press the start button on the keyboard and type the first few letters of whatever I want to open and I'd like to be able to use this start menu.

Bogdan Calapod said,
I think I'll find it very hard to get used to a ribbon explorer UI :-\

I love how this article is just about some new functionality in Windows 8 and people keep complaining about the unfinished, switchable ribbon just because it occasionally shows up the pictures.

Coi said,

I love how this article is just about some new functionality in Windows 8 and people keep complaining about the unfinished, switchable ribbon just because it occasionally shows up the pictures.

That's part because it's a new feature (draws attention) and part because people still think it's ugly (draws negativity). If you, day after they reveal the ribbon ui in a blog post, post news with 4 out of 4 screenshots showing the ribbon, of course you are going to get meny reactions like these.

Coi said,

I love how this article is just about some new functionality in Windows 8 and people keep complaining about the unfinished, switchable ribbon just because it occasionally shows up the pictures.

It's an infestation of Mac trolls.

KingCrimson said,

It's an infestation of Mac trolls.


Huh?? Until you, no one here has even mentioned anything about a Mac. Hell, if you want to bring it up, you could at least point out that OS X has had native ISO mounting for a decade now.

KingCrimson said,

It's an infestation of Mac trolls.

ROFL. You get "first!" to bring Mac into the discussion. Way to troll like a pro!

roadwarrior said,

Hell, if you want to bring it up, you could at least point out that OS X has had native ISO mounting for a decade now.

OMG, really? I'm switching to Mac right now. I don't need those free other tools in Windows anymore.

cope said,
Ribbon in explorer, sorry - that's just plain ugly.

first.. you havent used it, second you can minimize it and use quick access toolbar if you want. and third its not final product... i used the milestone and it used a different ribbon, like wordpad, and now they use a office 2010 style.

so its just PLAIN silly to judge a non finished product. and i mean a not even beta product...

EmilyTheStrange said,

..so its just PLAIN silly to judge a non finished product. and i mean a not even beta product...

Well, feedback is all part of the testing process.. So not quite silly to judge..

cope said,
Ribbon in explorer, sorry - that's just plain ugly.

I thought that at first, too, but after seeing it in action, I think it makes perfect sense.

itsthenewDC said,
Well, feedback is all part of the testing process.. So not quite silly to judge..

Judgements and critiques are more than welcome but what the original poster offered was neither - a snarky one post wonder then runs off to sit on the hill and hope that a flamewar erupts. If there is something wrong with the ribbon then he or she should explain why the offer an alternative - "Ribbon in explorer, sorry - that's just plain ugly." is a pathetic reason given that starters the term ugly is subjective and non-descriptive.

EmilyTheStrange said,

first.. you havent used it, second you can minimize it and use quick access toolbar if you want. and third its not final product... i used the milestone and it used a different ribbon, like wordpad, and now they use a office 2010 style.

so its just PLAIN silly to judge a non finished product. and i mean a not even beta product...

Windows 95 and 98 had the same kind of 'toolbar', but XP and later Vista and 7 had less emphasis on this. Perhaps they got feedback that people missed it.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Judgements and critiques are more than welcome but what the original poster offered was neither - a snarky one post wonder then runs off to sit on the hill and hope that a flamewar erupts. If there is something wrong with the ribbon then he or she should explain why the offer an alternative - "Ribbon in explorer, sorry - that's just plain ugly." is a pathetic reason given that starters the term ugly is subjective and non-descriptive.

So you're saying the aesthetics of the OS should be ignored by MS?

geoken said,

So you're saying the aesthetics of the OS should be ignored by MS?

No, he is saying that what the op said was not helping improve the aesthetics. It was just a rant.

EmilyTheStrange said,

so its just PLAIN silly to judge a non finished product. and i mean a not even beta product...
You're right. Things will change as they always do in Microsoft development: look at the alpha feature set, drop the top 2/3 features and half-ass the remaining 1/3 into the feature-frozen beta.

The Explorer ribbon UI looks just like the **** ribbon that's currently on Wordpad and Paint: ugly and out of place.

I think there are more ranting comments here against the OP than the OP him/herself. Why is it that it's always the same rehashed "comments" going on against criticizing beta content?

EmilyTheStrange said,
so its just PLAIN silly to judge a non finished product. and i mean a not even beta product...
Not really. It's perfectly fine to critique, especially since Microsoft is showcasing these features as the awesome, new things in Windows 8.

cope said,

Windows 95 and 98 had the same kind of 'toolbar', but XP and later Vista and 7 had less emphasis on this. Perhaps they got feedback that people missed it.

they are hearing a 10 year old feedback?.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Judgements and critiques are more than welcome but what the original poster offered was neither - a snarky one post wonder then runs off to sit on the hill and hope that a flamewar erupts. If there is something wrong with the ribbon then he or she should explain why the offer an alternative - "Ribbon in explorer, sorry - that's just plain ugly." is a pathetic reason given that starters the term ugly is subjective and non-descriptive.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion. In the OP's point of view, Ribbon's ugly. Of course it's subjective (duh?). It is descriptive (albeit not very elaborate). It is a judgement. I'm guessing you would've reacted in the same way had the OP simply posted: "Ribbon looks nice". "Offer an alternative"? Is that a requirement now?

I didn't see it as a comment trying to encourage a "flame war", but if you did then just ignore the bait. If it makes you feel better, I look forward to using Ribbon in Explorer as well as the native support for mounting ISOs.

Edited by Manish, Aug 30 2011, 8:38pm :