How to Install From an ISO File

By Michelle Strait

ISO is an all-purpose acronym created by the International Organization for Standardization. The letters are used so they mean the same thing in every language. A file with an ISO extension is an image that is an exact copy of a CD. It contains all the files and folders contained on the original disc. The contents contained in the ISO have to be compiled into a usable format and burned onto a CD. If your ISO is a copy of a piece of software, you’ll have a fully working installation disc after you burn the ISO. Special software is required to complete the process.

Things You'll Need

  • ISO file
  • ISO burning software
  • Blank CD

Installing from an ISO File

Step 1

Download your ISO file. Make sure the ISO is a legal copy of the software. There are legal and illegal ISO files on the Internet. An illegal ISO could contain a virus to infect your computer. Scan the file for viruses before going further.

Step 2

Install the software needed to burn the ISO to disc. Nero and Easy CD Creator are two popular paid programs with ISO burning capabilities. If you don’t have either of those, you might prefer one of the dozens of freeware programs specifically designed to burn ISO files. Active ISO Burner is a highly rated free ISO burner (see Resources section).

Step 3

Open your ISO burning software. Go to the folder where you stored the ISO file, and select it. Insert a blank CD into the CD drive on your computer. The blank CD must have enough space to save the ISO image.

Step 4

Tell the ISO burning software which drive contains the blank CD. Computers have multiple drives; the software needs to know where the blank disc is located.

Step 5

Burn the ISO to CD. Programs differ in how to accomplish this step. Look for an option to “Burn,” “Burn ISO to Disc,” “Burn Now,” “Burn Image,” “Start” or something similar. Finalize the disc when the burn is finished. Your software should do this automatically. The computer will not be able to read the disc if it’s not finalized. Close the software when the disc is finished.

Step 6

Remove your newly created CD from the disc drive and reinsert it. Your computer should detect the CD just as it would detect any installation disc. Install the program when you're ready. If the CD isn’t detected, something might have gone wrong with the burn. Repeat the process. If it still doesn’t work, try a different ISO burning program.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure your computer has enough space to store the ISO file and run the software.
  • Scan ISO files for viruses.
  • Only download and burn legal ISO files.