Accessing data in ISO and VHD files

In continuing with the improvements in core Windows functionality and also oft-requested features, we are adding native Explorer support for ISO and VHD files in Windows 8. While terabytes of storage are available to all of us, managing disk (or disc) image formats remains important for a number of mission-critical operations in many organizations and among power users. We know even more support for VHD is a big request, so stay tuned. Rajeev Nagar authored this post. He is a group program manager on our Storage & File Systems team. --Steven

The trend of incredibly large and small form-factor hard disks means we can store ever increasing amounts of data without worrying about running out of capacity. Windows 8 enables easy access to the contents of two important storage formats, ISO and VHD files. While we generally think of these formats when they appear on media, they are also very useful as files within a file system and that is where native support in Explorer comes in handy.

Working with ISO files

While optical discs continue to be useful in many situations, large hard disks allow us to decrease our dependence on them. Personally, I’ve spent a load of my time (legally) ripping about 900 GB worth of music, and more recently almost 1TB of home video DVDs into my collection. I know that my backup of our photos and home movies is probably the most important data in my house. Together with backups, storing the most basic things in my house now requires terabytes of space. Just a couple of years ago that was an unimaginable amount of storage. These days, however, I know I can buy a 3TB hard disk for less than $200.

Given cheap hard disks and our mobile lifestyle, we have little interest in carting around collections of discs. Also, we expect to be able to receive content as well as share and collaborate with friends, family, and colleagues in an instant – typically through online file transfers. Last but not least, our desire for thin and light form factors such as slates and ultra-mobile laptops often leaves no room for vendors to add optical disc drives. This is exactly the feedback we received from many of you who used Windows 7 – the ability to directly use ISO files (also known as ISO images) without requiring a physical CDROM or DVD drive is very important.

A quick refresher on ISO files might be helpful. ISO refers to the International Organization for Standardization which is an international standard-setting body, and a world leader in developing and publishing international standards. For the purpose of this blog entry, our interests lie in a couple of standards published by ISO, namely ISO-9660 and ISO-13346. Simply stated, these two standards each describe a method by which photos, video, applications, documents or other content (excluding CD audio) are organized on CDROM or DVD optical media. The reason for the popularity of these standards is they allow CDROM and DVD media content to be easily interchanged across systems from different vendors e.g. you can create a DVD on a Windows PC and read it in your living room DVD player. An ISO file is simply a disc image stored as a file, composed of all of the contents of a CDROM or DVD disc. You can also think of an ISO file as a full-fidelity image (digital copy) of the optical disc.

ISO files are used by vendors to distribute software. Backup applications also store content in the ISO format and many utilities allow creation of an ISO file from existing CDROM or DVD media. Once created, these files can be sent around, downloaded, and stored just like any other file – however, before you can access the photos, video, applications, documents, or other content contained within the ISO file, you either have to “burn” the ISO file to a writable optical disc or download and install software that allows you to “mount” and access the ISO file contents directly (i.e. without burning). With Windows 8, we have eliminated this last step – you can simply access the contents of the ISO file without needing either needing to burn a new disc or needing to find/download/install additional software just to logically access the ISO.

So how does this work in Windows 8? It’s quite simple – just “mount” the ISO file (you can select mount from the enhanced Explorer ribbon or double-click or right-click on the file), and a new drive letter appears, indicating that the contents are now readily accessible. Underneath the covers, Windows seamlessly creates a “virtual” CDROM or DVD drive for you on-the-fly so you can access your data. Let’s walk through the flow that will enable you to access such an ISO file.

As you see in the figure below, we have three ISO files in a local folder. The one we will work with contains the (legally obtained) Office application suite. To mount the ISO, you can either double click the file or click Mount on the Actions tab.

Mounting a new ISO

Once you mount the ISO, a new drive letter appears for the virtual CDROM/DVD drive that Windows seamlessly creates. The contents of the ISO are accessible just as they would have been had you inserted the CD/DVD media into a physical optical drive. Only, operating on the contents happens at the speed of your hard drive, not an optical drive.

The mounted ISO appears as a new drive letter

Once you are done using the ISO, you can (virtually) “eject” it, and the virtual drive disappears.

Virtually ejecting an ISO

In case you need a utility to create ISO images from existing optical media, there are many tools that give you that capability. One I use is the Oscdimg command line tool that is available as part of our automated deployment kit.

That is it! Accessing ISO files has now become a snap with Windows 8. Regardless of whether you have an optical drive accessible to you or not, accessing your data is never a problem.

Working with VHD files

Another place we’ve simplified access is with Virtual Hard Disk files. Virtual Hard Disks are the format used by Virtualization software Hyper-V or Virtual PC. In a future blog post, we’ll talk more about the enhancements to Windows Virtualization technology, Hyper-V.

The Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is a publicly-available image format specification that allows encapsulation of the hard disk into an individual file for use by the operating system as a virtual disk in all the same ways physical hard disks are used. The VHD format is used by Hyper-V to store information for Virtual Machines. In Windows7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 we have the ability to boot the system off a VHD file, and we had command line and MMC plugins for managing them. VHDs are handy for portability of system settings or to play back what has been saved as a snapshot of a system.

Accessing a VHD in Windows 8 is as simple as what we’ve done with ISO files, but there is one important difference: rather than appearing as a removable drive (as is the case with ISO), VHDs appear as new hard drives.

Accessing a VHD

Underneath the covers, Windows provides a virtual drive letter pointing to the volume within the VHD. You’ll notice that the icon for the drive G: below is the same as the icon for a VHD file.

The VHD appears as a hard drive

You can then work with the virtual hard disk just like any other file storage in your system, whether you are modifying, adding or removing files.

Ejecting the VHD

Once you’ve finished working with the VHD, like an ISO, you can right-click it and click Eject (or just use the Eject button on the ribbon). Any changes you’ve made remain saved within the file.

Here’s a quick demo to show you what it looks like to mount ISOs and VHDs on a new “Windows 8” system.

Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4


Comments (310)
  1. Valentine says:

    You guys rock!!!! This is going to be the best operating system ever!!! Great for a "power" user like me who needs as many features as possible built right into the OS so that add ons don't slow me down

  2. M.Ahrens says:

    This is terrific news (the ISO mount) for tablet owners! – espacially when the actual tablet itself doesn't have a disk drive, and you don't want to carry an external one around with you on the go.


  3. Goodbye POWER ISO.. This is what I want..

  4. Goodbye POWER ISO.. This is what I want..

  5. Adrian says:

    This is so cool, no need for 3rd party.

    Also, can you make iso burner to usb stick???

  6. Windows 8 Enthusiast says:

    @Steven   I was one of the writers of blog previously and almost EVERY user wanted to know WHEN kinect can be used to control Windows like Minority Report. Hope you do not disappoint the millions of users waiting for kinect integration with Windows 8. Give us some hint atleast. We have waited long enough.

  7. qs7000 says:

    ISO/VHD mounting is a great and long overdue addition. Thumbs way up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Erik Svensen says:

    Super nice … can't wait to try it out – is going to be a great help in my work

  9. Programming Thomas says:

    Excellent – I've been needing Windows to do this for ages, no more 3rd party programs!

  10. Ravikanth says:

    Cool. Now, I just hope there is a built-in PowerShell cmdlet or WMI API to do that. Please don't make this a DISKPART only feature within the CLI space. Thanks!

  11. Jeroen Ritmeijer says:

    Excellent. I hope there will be no silly restrictions such as not being able to do any of the mounting over a UNC path.

  12. bmoura says:

    Native ISO support – love it !

  13. Great to see this supported natively. No more having to have a virtual drive program installed when I only need to mount something a few times a year.

  14. Did you guys notice the video on this post showed new start menu logo?Anyone from Microsoft can tell us what it really is? Is it really new start menu or sort of small menu of Metro UI? Why it gets back the word "start"? and why theme is black while around it is a glassy taskbar which look just unfit and conflict each other.

  15. Morp3g says:

    It will be possible to boot on a mounting VHD ?

  16. sekhar padikkal says:

    Steven and guys rock!! You blog posts are extensively detailed.. I remember your blog post for disk defragmentation for windows 7 was an awesome article…  Windows 8 FTW!!

    Here is what i think about windows 8.  An eye candy start screen with apps with an ultra powerful interface underneath!

  17. Mike says:

    This is great, thanks!

    But I think it would be useful to move the user to the newly created drive after the double click. A non "power-user" may get confused and have the feeling that nothing happened otherwise since there's no visual clue apart from the new driver appearing on the left pane. Alternatively, a bubble (the one that appears on the lower-right of the screen) would be great!

  18. Chris says:

    Excellent Addition! Well done Guys ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Sugadevan says:

    Thnx.. good to see improvements.. can i edit and save the ISO image contents??

  20. Thx. Thats makes it more easier to work with Iso's and Vhd's.

    Does the VirtualDrive also supports BluRay Iso's?

  21. Windows 8 Enthusiast says:

    @Steven Please atleast acknowledge that you guys are working with bringing kinect to windows 8. People are craving for kinect !!

  22. Chimel says:

    Excellent, mounting ISOs and VHDs is one of the few third-party utilities I use.

    Now if Microsoft would not require inserting the first DVD when playing MS games, that would be perfect.

    This is one of the few areas where I use VHDs or download hacked copies of Age of Empires just so I can play a game I purchased legally.

  23. Marcel says:

    This is a great feature! I use this daily, now I don't need an additional program to do this. Thanks Microsoft!!

  24. Eric A. says:

    First of all, I love the new feature, keep them coming.

    That said… It's great that the all mighty FOSS-crowd hyped HTML5 is the (distant) future of the web and all, but in the meantime, any chance that we pragmatic people can still get our working, old-fashioned full-screen Flash video back? It's quite ridiculous being forced to download the video just so I can watch it full screen…

  25. Ooh says:

    One question: Does it also work with VHDX files?

    And another one: Why is the user experience so … unintuitive? When you double-clicked something in Windows Explorer in the past, it was automatically opened. Now the ISO/VHD is just mounted but not automatically shown. Why is that?

  26. raider says:

    Very cool, thanks for adding native ISO mounting.

    PS: that new Start menu just takes the UI to a melee between Metro and Aero. Only one clear path is possible, not two. Fix it!

  27. Stephen says:

    Tremendous step forward! But why not go all the way with the support and allow ISO creation natively — even if just shipping Windows 8 with the Oscdimg command line tool included?

  28. Can Windows 7 now natively open RAR files?

  29. says:

    Awesome. Could you please add more visual cues to show that the disk or the drive has been mounted. A normal user might be clueless as to what has happened. And also adding the ability to backup a disk as an ISO will be much appreciated.

  30. Can i open 2 Iso the same time or only 1 Iso will be the VirtualDrive?

  31. It's very interesting!

    Q: Will this new feature to come into conflict with such third-party programs like Daemon tool's and others?

    When we open an ISO image or a virtual machine disk, in windows 8,  there is mounting the virtual drive, or simply an open folder with an icon of a iogo media? How much memory does it take?

    What about starforce?

    It's good news! =) Thx!

  32. FZB says:

    Yay! Was annoying that you could use an iso in hyper-v guests but not on the host, so nice addition

  33. Martin says:

    You should add support for .RAR, .ZIP files, etc. would be easier if we didnt have to install a 3rd party program for extracting those files all the time =3

  34. Michael Greenhill says:


    Will there be command line tools to mount and unmount (eject) ISOs and VHDs? Is there any way to select the drive letter for the virtual drive? We currently have a V: drive and mount ISOs with batch scripts (that then also execute commands) using Slysoft's Virtual Clone Drive.

    Also, I notice in the video there was no autoplay menu presented when either VHD or ISO was mounted. Is this a design decision?

  35. Great feature, but I think reusing imagery and terminology from different types of devices is confusing. Just as network drives look different from physical drives, so should VHDs look different. Perhaps simply an overlaid "VHD" or "ISO" on the icon, and names like "Virtual disk" and "DVD image".

  36. spongman says:

    great stuff, but shouldn't it open the virtual drive after mounting it? it seems kinda clunky to have to search around in your drive list for the thing you just double-clicked on…

  37. Francis Jupiter says:

    Please add .PDF reading support to Windows 8.

    To be able to open .PDF files without an external program I think is important.

  38. This feature will be available in all versions of windows 8?

  39. @Kinect

    First we need a new Kinect adapter , which is only for the PC and which also supports a higher resolution, like 720p/1080p

  40. Björn says:

    How about native support for WIM files?

  41. V. says:

    I'd like to suggest that the newly mounted ISO/VHD automatically opens in a new explorer window (or autoplays, if it's a software or game ISO) for ease of use and clarification of exactly what that double-click action did for the user.

  42. Black Jack says:

    So we can see the new START button in the video, with only 4 items and like the "tiles" touch screen experience.


    It will require to get used to that.

    No more "All programs" ?  Where can I access my programs now when I'm into the desktop interface? ๐Ÿ™

    I suggest you lower the price this time, be humble.

    You should have done it for users switching from Vista (a total failure at full price) to 7, bad move not doing it…

  43. Neolander says:

    @Eric A. : Actually, the "mighty FOSS crowd" is not happy either ๐Ÿ™‚ Choosing a video file format struck by patent insanity (H.264) that only works in a minority of web browsers, which happen to include IE, is a bit low to say the least.

  44. Excellent – native ISO and VHD support is something I've been wanting for a long time, and now there's no need to use any 3rd party software to do what I want. A cleaner, simpler, faster, and more streamlined experience.

    Can someone explain what's happening with the Start menu? Looks like the beginnings of Metro implementation within Windows – that's what I'd really want to see in W8!

  45. Thomas Lee says:

    When will the detailed aganda of BUILD conference be posted? Will this area  be represented with a talk?

    Why has MS not actually published the agenda is BUILD still going ahead?

    If so please publish the detailed agenda to allow delegates like me who are flying in from a long way away to organise themesleves.


  46. Thanks for including the ability to read ISO files right in the Windows. Windows 7 already has the ability to read VHD files. Iโ€™ve used Daemon Tools since the era of Windows XP. I still remembered that during the beta period of Windows 7, Daemon Tools had some compatibility issues with Windows 7. Of course, with the release of newer versions, the compatibility issues have long been fixed. Daemon Tools not only allows Windows to read a couple of disc images natively, but also allows the end users to copy the entire CD/ DVD contents into a single disc image. Moreover, itโ€™s free for non-profit use. If Microsoft is going to add the virtual CD/ DVD capabilities, please at least add the โ€œfullโ€ capabilities, including the ability to copy the entire CD/ DVD contents into a single disc image.

    No, Iโ€™m not ready to give up CD/DVD yet. The main reason is that while over the years the price of portal hard drives has dropped significantly, writable CD/DVDs are still one of the cheapest available local storage options. In case you do not notice, cost does matter a lot to me, especially when Iโ€™ve a lot of data to be stored. I do not need to move my entire data collection ALL THE TIME. Itโ€™s true that moving entire CD/DVDs collection from one place to another is inconvenient at best, not practical at least. Even though we now have portable PCs, in terms of display size, price, and performance, I still need desktop PCs as my main PC. When I do need to travel, Iโ€™ll copy the data I think I need to the portable hard drives I own.

    The writable Blu-ray discs sound promising, except for the fact that it has yet to be at the price comparable or lower than current price of CD/DVDs.

    The main reason I use virtual Disc tool such as Daemon Tools for years is not that Iโ€™ve long given up CD/ DVDs. On the contrary, I need those to store data but reading optical discs directly, frankly, often have performance issues. The PC, technically, read faster and more stable from data stored in hard drives. So, instead of trying to read the data from CD/DVDs directly, I copy them into a single disc image stored in local hard drive first. With a virtual Disc tool, the performance of CD/DVD and its reader is no longer an issue for years.

  47. Thomas Lee says:

    At last – native ISO support. I've used 3rd party tools for decades now (ever since NT 4 days) – it's nice to see MS finally putting this support into Windows.


  48. Awesome says:

    Please consider

    1. Buying RARLabs to add .rar support

    2. Return animated .gif support for picture viewer. Viewing gifs in browser is STUPID STUPID STUPID

    3. Add power calculator from Power Toys

  49. DanglingPointer says:

    Nice addition. Now goodbye to powerISO. Can you guys make me say goodbye to Free Download Manager — FDM — by enabling the support for "create download" in IE10's download manager…/create-download-in-ie-download-manager ?

    -Thanks in anticipation & keep coming the great features.

  50. I love it! I've been wondering where this feature has been for Windows all along. :]

    One thing that I must strongly suggest is that when you double click the ISO/VHD, not only should it mount but it should also open it. If you were to click mount on the right click menu or the ribbon, then it is understandable that it will just mount; however, double-clicking on a file/disk should open automatically. As for the mounting of an ISO/VHD, I think it should be more visible in a way someone definitely knows what just happened. When I was watching the video at first I didn't know what happened when he double clicked the ISO. I didn't notice that there was a virtual disk drive added until he actually went to click it.

    Second feature I suggest is the ability to create ISO natively in Windows. It should be able to burn ISO into CD/DVD/USB easily, maybe create a button to burn ISO in the ribbon? That'd be a great addition to this.

  51. Chris McGrath says:

    Looks good haven't had a chance to look at the video yet but from the comments would seem it doesn't go to the drive after it's mounted.

    Although I can sort of see the logic here I think it's a bit of a problem. My solution would be to add a "Mount and open" option to the ribbon. This would not only provide the functionality, but would also give the hint that mounting does not open the drive and that has to be done manually. Also maybe double clicking on a mounted image could then go to the drive.

    Can I request 7zip support. The LZMA algorithm is public domain. There's a good chance I'd still use 7zip but it would be great to be able to send 7zip files to people with confidence that they can open it.

  52. r3loaded says:

    In addition to the calls for reading from RAR archives, I'd also like to see 7-Zip support. It's open source, and uses the LZMA algorithm (which I know is already used in WIM images) so natively supporting it should be a doddle.

  53. Abdullah says:

    I have to many harddisks both internal and external and I dont want to eject any one of them by mistake .. so it would be nice nice if the vertual dvd & HDD icons where different than the real ones

  54. JoeH says:

    Nice job! I suggest giving mounted drives a different name than simply "Local Drive" for clarity. Maybe "Mounted Drive"?

  55. Eugene says:

    It would be logical to add the same support for wim files

  56. Raphael says:

    I'd like to have an icon in the left panel to eject the removable drives (like Ubuntu)

    Itโ€™s much faster than the โ€œsavely remove hardwareโ€ dialog and much more accessible than the new eject on the Drive Ribbon or the context menu solution.

    A lot of newbies do not find the way to eject a drive savely and just unplug it.

    Ribbons are not the solution for everything!

    Then Iโ€™d like to see a MacOS like column view in the explorer. Itโ€™s very fast to copy file and folders around.

  57. Paul from Italy says:

    Great job!

    Continuing the "embedding all basic functionalities", you might want to add a "check if a driver update is available for your peripherals, if so, download it and install it" would be great. A "check" only would be great too.

  58. random_internet_guy says:

    things you can do with linux since … i can't remember because so much time has passed since then

  59. Salvador Jesús Romero says:

    Do you realise from the comments that we folks want out-of-the box features and don't like to install third party plug-ins? You're on the right way, but please, listen, do more, go make Windows worth every cent! And thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. Nice! Now we don't need third-party apps just for mounting ISO files, now with VHD too. I wonder if still works mounting VHD even we are running VirtualPC from that drive.

    I would like also to support for having a visual cue when you have successfully mounted ISO/VHD file, something like bit flashing of selection on the mounted drive (I think yellow would work, just like in Windows taskbar behavior). Or also with notification balloon from the mounted drive icon or toast notification in explorer.

    For me personally everything seems enough but maybe what about how to distinguish between mounted ISO/VHD and physical CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/HardDrive. Some tiny icon in the corner could work also that indicates that it is a virtual mounted drive.

    I would like also to consider about having an Eject button on the right side of the drive in the Navigation pane for instant ejecting drive not just Virtual drives but also to other drive especially removable ones (e.g. Flash Drives).

    Another thing I like to support as stated by @Awesome but I know it's not much related to this post is having native RAR support on Explorer. .gif files on Picture Viewer.

    By the way, this is off-topic but is that what you are working on with new Start Menu?… The clock is similar also what we see on D9 but its already on the right side. I wonder what will be the new taskbar. I know its early for that to disclose.

    Can't wait for something more from Windows 8!

    Anyways great work for that! Looking forward more on Build.

  61. Rami Alam says:

    Please add the ability to create IS0 files into windows natively. Having to download a 3rd party tool defeats the point of having all the ability to mount and load IS0 files in Windows.

  62. Would really like to see multiple panes supported, rather than having to open multiple windows, and subsequently arranging on the screen to do simple drag and drop. Something like Xplorer2. Unless my memory fails me this used to be supported way back circa Win95.

  63. It is absurd that you add the support to read ISO and VHD files but not the way to create them..

  64. It is absurd that you add the support to read ISO and VHD files but not the way to create them

  65. Mike says:

    @ peteruncle9

    You can create VHD files and in Windows 8 also VHDX files. So where is the problem?

  66. Excellent. No more MagicISO. We do need a visual cue to let us know these virtual drives have been created when we double click, otherwise, good job guys and keep rocking! It's Windows 8 all the way

  67. Quppa says:

    Very good and arguably overdue given how long ISO files have been distributed via MSDN.

    The most interesting thing about this video is the menu seen at ~0:24 – what's going on there? Is it meant to be a hint for the next blog post?

    (I'm trying to be careful about not double posting after last time, but it seems the 'Post' button requires two clicks to work, even in IE9.)

  68. NikCharlebois says:

    Ah….finally some real meat ๐Ÿ™‚ Now this is something I know I'm going to be using on a daily basis. Great work. I love how you guys, without re-inventing the wheel, manage to make small improvements to what is currently existing just to simplify our lives.

  69. Hans says:

    I agree with peteruncle9, native support to mount ISO but not to create them makes is a bit of a loss. Also, would this imply that software from the windows appstore will be pushed out as ISO's maybe? I can see how native ISO mount-support would make distribution of large software packages a lot easier.

  70. Jurgen says:

    Is it me or is it a bit confusing that doubleclicking a file creates the virtual drive, but it does not take you there? I can imagine a lot of people doubleclicking and thinking by themselves "I clicked but nothing happened?" because they were focussing their eyes on the file and the clicking, not on the left pane disks list where the newly created virtual drive was created. I agree it makes sense to a certain extent that you don't open it right away because people may not be aware of what exactly happened, but I tend to think that is rather a good thing.

  71. Quppa says:

    Oh, and I guess the tile screen at ~2:30 is pretty interesting, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  72. TEL says:

    Why the VHD is not a removable drive? Isn't it more like a USB-Drive?

    Maybe it would be the best to have a new category "Virtual Drives".

    Will it be possible to create ISO and VHD files?

  73. Great Work!

    But double clicking the ISO or VHD file should do something intuitive like taking the user to the newly created virtual drives.

    Also it would be great if you added similar support for VDI files.

  74. Alexander says:

    Good job, guys! I'm looking forward to this new version of Windows.

  75. cranberry says:

    Built-in support for commonly used file formats is a great example of features that are immensely useful for many power users and don't add any complexity to the UI that may distract less experienced users. Please add more of those (e.g. .rar/.7z read support, Matroska container support, integration of the RAW image codec pack).

    Now concerning ISO/VHD support:

    Like others have suggested I'd like to see an icon overlay that makes it easy to distinguish between real and virtual drives. Another option would be to show "Virtual hard disk" instead of only "Hard disk", or you could show the name of the ISO/VHD in brackets after the drive's name like so: Local disk (Windows XP.vhd) (G:)

  76. Wow! I can't belive how fast and intuitive is to mount iso and vhd files on Windows 8.

  77. mtamayoo says:

    Guys! This is gr8!

    Why not considering creation of ISO and VHD files the same as creation of ZIP files today? It is quite easy and I think it would help having a consistent set of actions to create those.

    Also, if we could add RAR, 7z or other formats it would be nice (maybe as add-ons to Explorer?)

    Keep going… you rock!

  78. Chris Deeming says:

    I wrote a long post and it didn't appear so I'll cut a long story short:

    Either include Oscdimg as standard in Windows 8 (so we don't have to download a 1GB file just to get it) or go the extra step and include the ability to write ISOs within Explorer as well.

    It seems silly to me that you would go this far with a fantastic feature and not quite finish it off and complete the solution with the ability to write as well as read.

  79. Chris Deeming says:

    I wrote a long post and it didn't appear so I'll cut a long story short:

    Either include Oscdimg as standard in Windows 8 (so we don't have to download a 1GB file just to get it) or go the extra step and include the ability to write ISOs within Explorer as well.

    It seems silly to me that you would go this far with a fantastic feature and not quite finish it off and complete the solution with the ability to write as well as read.

  80. Chris Deeming says:

    On another note, I notice that the WAIK has previously been deployed on Download Center as an IMG file. Will you be supporting other disc image formats too?

  81. "It is absurd that you add the support to read ISO and VHD files but not the way to create them.."

    I will politely disagree with this. I often need to read ISO files but not once in my life have I ever had a need to create them. "Absurd" is definitely not warranted.

  82. JasonBSteele says:

    Please add support for RAR as well.

  83. Pureinfotech says:

    This is really cool new feature. Right now in Windows 7 I am using WinCDEmu that works in the same way, but only works for ISO. I cannot wait to try this new feature in Windows 8.

    Question: There is going to be an option to create an ISO file as easy as mounting one?

    Thanks for all the work you guys are doing!

  84. +1 for WIM and 7z support

    +1 for creating ISO and VHD files from scratch, perhaps from the new menu

    +1 for a simple and obvious way to rip a disk to an ISO or VHD like ISO Recorder (

    +1 for being able to edit the content of ISO and VHD files

  85. Cantoris says:

    Excellent work once again.  Quick thoughts.

    – What about a Create ISO option in the ribbon tab for Disk Tools?

    – Mount an ISO as editable and then Commit/Discard changes – ie like DISM for VHD files?

    – Or even a Create ISO feature for the contents of an open folder.

  86. Greg says:

    Wouldnโ€™t it be nice to open up a pane to the right in the Explorer once you double click the VHD or ISO to act as a visual cue and to inspect the contents easily?

  87. Cantoris says:

    Forgot to give my +1 for WIM files too…!

  88. Francesco says:

    ๐Ÿ™‚  Look at the computer in the background at the end of the video: you will see Windows 8 for tablets with Metro UI!

  89. Double-clicking to mount should certainly automatically switch to the new folder after the mounting is complete just like opening a document or a ZIP file does.

  90. Deamon Tool is DEAD!

  91. Thanks a lot for these features!:-)

    Please consider also:

    – Adding support for creating ISO images.

    – Adding ability to create bootable USB drive from ISO image (just what โ€˜Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Toolโ€™ does today). This comes in handy when you want to install Windows from a flash drive to some PC/laptop.

    For example, the only way to install a fresh copy of Windows 7 SP1 onto a laptop without a DVD drive would be using a USB flash drive with a bootable image. For that, one has to first get such image (download iso from the internet most likely), then find a way to create a bootable USB drive (may take ages), then create a bootable drive, and only then install Windows. Being able to create an image from the DVD, create a bootable USB and install Windows in basic few steps could be very handy for a lot of users I would imagine.

    I was also thinking that Microsoft should consider ISO distribution of Windows and Office Suites more easily available to the general public. For example, to provide latest distributives of the OS (Windows 7 SP1) and Office 2010, Microsoft could create a portal with links to different file hosting sites as well as torrents (created in-house). Those would be official distributives and links meaning safe to download and install as well as easy to find at one place.

    This would make it much easier to upgrade/reinstall the OS for a typical laptop user (with just a Windows code/license sticker on the bottom of the laptop and nothing else on hand).

  92. Nate C says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    +1 for WIM support ( unless we can deploy a VHD via SCCM PXE :-).  Then maybe WIM isn't necessary. ).

  93. Anon says:

    I am not happy with you since other OSes had this feature since the beginning of time. Is it really so hard to also add ISO creation. If you support only mounting then 3rd party tools will still be needed for the other ahfl of the job which is creation. Again fail. How hard is it after so many years to support RAR and all compress formats? And ISO creation. Is it so so hard to write code for this support and make it available from the command line too. Why does it take you yeeeeeears and years to do what other OSes have done decades ago. Support all compression files and the creation of ISOs now. I could have written the code in 2 weeks. Why can't you. Seriously why? Not having command line support and ISO creation defeats the purpose of the feature. Please, I would like a blog post explaining why having such features is so hard tand why it takes you for ever to code them? Please explain. Is it the fact that you do not have many developers working on Explorer?

  94. I also like creating ISO file too, it would be a nice addition to Windows 8. Not just support for reading natively of that format.

    As I said before also we would like RAR to be natively support in Windows 8 at least reading it. 7zip also since there are many archives that uses 7zip format too.

    We also hope for some file format to natively support in Windows 8 such as MKV, RAW, PSD(viewer), PDF(viewer, actually I saw some rumors about this), GIF(viewer, not in browser), and FLAC.

    Great work Windows 8 Team! Keep it up guys! ๐Ÿ˜€

  95. Anon says:

    I am not happy with you since other OSes had this feature since the beginning of time. Is it really so hard to also add ISO creation. If you support only mounting then 3rd party tools will still be needed for the other ahfl of the job which is creation. Again fail. How hard is it after so many years to support RAR and all compress formats? And ISO creation. Is it so so hard to write code for this support and make it available from the command line too. Why does it take you yeeeeeears and years to do what other OSes have done decades ago. Support all compression files and the creation of ISOs now. I could have written the code in 2 weeks. Why can't you. Seriously why? Not having command line support and ISO creation defeats the purpose of the feature. Please, I would like a blog post explaining why having such features is so hard tand why it takes you for ever to code them? Please explain. Is it the fact that you do not have many developers working on Explorer?

  96. Nice feature, sub standard execution.

    * Why doesn't double-clicking automatically navigate to said mounted drive? Take away unneeded steps from the user.

    * Why can't we create a ISO?

    @Jurgen –  Of course it's confusing, you double click something and then nothing happens, but for whatever reason such a simple design decision was overlooked by the entire team that put this feature together. Outstanding.

  97. I agree with Ravikanth.  We need a way to access these features via the CLI. With Powershell being such an important piece of the puzzle at Microsoft now, it would be a shame to not see this feature available.

  98. HandNF says:

    These look like nice features, but I would recommend that you name the hard drives/discs by the same name as the file. That would remove confusion about multiple drives as shown here:…/6648.Ejecting_2D00_the_2D00_VHD_5F00_268635D9.jpg

    Even if you don't, this is still a great feature to add. Good job.

  99. Conrado says:

    Can we also eject an USB device for safely removal using that "Eject" button?

  100. Mikael Rodriguez says:

    Nice Features but can you make a easy way to create vhd or vhdx files on the Actions tab?

    You can add the possibility to boot on a mounting VHD or VHDX file as advanced option (button) on the Actions tab?

    That's will be so so great for advanced users who needs as many features as possible built right into the OS so that add ons.

    Thanks for everything, nice work ๐Ÿ™‚

  101. harishv says:

    From a UX flow perspective, double click should mount AND navigate to the ISO/VHD, hopefully thats part of the plan!

  102. Awesome. Know what else would be great? Native support to view .svg files in the windows photo viewer. The graphics would just scale to the window size, and it's currently quite difficult to find an easy way to preview .svg files.

  103. Mary Branscombe says:

    Nice timesaver, nice to see the backlog of requests is getting worked through ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Now, off topic; it makes sense that people will post off-topic questions here because it's the best way to reach the Windows team. How about a specific 'off-topic' post for people to append all those comments to, to keep discussions in the blogs about specific features more on topic?

  104. Mary Branscombe says:

    Nice timesaver, nice to see the backlog of requests is getting worked through ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Now, off topic; it makes sense that people will post off-topic questions here because it's the best way to reach the Windows team. How about a specific 'off-topic' post for people to append all those comments to, to keep discussions in the blogs about specific features more on topic?

  105. Tourniquet says:

    Im with Ooh.

    The doubleclick should do two things at once. Mount the ISO/VHD and also open it.

  106. I have a slogan for Windows 8. It goes something like this: "Windows 8, Simply gr8". or "Windows 8, Just gr8"

  107. David says:

    Slightly off topic, however watching these video's on my Windows 7 PC is almost comical. The lip sync is extremely bad – While you guys are doing a great job on micro improvements to the OS, something needs to be done about audio/video synchronization across the board. In this day and age, its simply not acceptable.

  108. These new features are going to be a wonderful edition to the Windows 8 operating system!  As an IT Professional, these features will be a great time saver and allow me to be more productive.  Keep up the great work!

  109. This is great! I have been wanting these features for years. It will be nice to not have to install third party software when the operating system should be able to do it itself.

    Keep up the good work.

    I can't wait until I can try this out.

  110. Dominic says:

    I wonder if the "start menu" thingy is accessed by a swipe up / right click like a jump list in windows 7…

    Keep up the good work (and keep the updates coming).

  111. SatoMew says:

    I already knew about these additions but it was nice to have a red on the insight behind them.

    @Morp3g: You can already do that in Windows 7.

    @Ooh: It works for VHDX and IMG files as well.

    @Bastian92: Yes.

    @Martin: ZIP files have been supported since Windows 98.

    @Francis Jupiter: PDF support in Windows 8 is here too.

    Now for my own suggestions and requests:

    – Could you guys add IMA support as well? Windows 7 already does support ISO and IMG files but it doesn't with IMA files. I'd like not to have to install WinImage to gain that support.

    – Could LZH file support be extended globally to Windows? In Windows 7, the LZH file handler is only available in Japanese versions or by installing the Japanese Language Pack, itself restricted to the Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

    – Are there still legal issues preventing from opening animated GIF files in Windows Photo Viewer and Windows Live Photo Gallery? If not, please consider readding the support because it's cumbersome to open IE just for that effect.

    – Support for further (and preferably open) file formats in general, such as ZIPX, 7Z, MKV, RAW, PSD and FLAC, would be welcome additions.

    – Disc images need better visual cues. Do not label them the same as physical discs and give the icons an overlay to facilitate their difference.

    – Automatic navigation to the mounted discs is a must.

    – I notice that in the Ribbon, one goes to the Disc Image Tools tab and click on the Mount button but to unmount it, we must navigate to the virtual disc drive and click on the Eject button in the Disk Tools tab. Would it be possible for Explorer to recognize which disc image file is mounted in order to make the Mount button in the Disc Image Tools tab contextual, so it would say Unmount instead? This would make the task easier and would put all the necessary controls on the Ribbon. If a contextual Mount button is not feasible while still being possible to have Explorer aware of what disc image file is mounted, then add an additional Unmount button. As it stands, clicking the Mount button on an already mounted disc image file opens a new Explorer instance that automatically navigates to the virtual disc drive but this process needs improvement nonetheless.

    – ISO/IMG/IMA file creation would be nice. Having an option to copy the whole contents of a physical CD/DVD/Blu-ray/HDD/SSD to a new disc image file would certainly be useful.

    – Windows Disc Image Burner needs support for burning to USB drives and an option to set the recording speed.

    – Built-in support for Microsoft's own WMI files.

    – Support in the CLI tools for these additions.

    – Can Sound Recorder be redesigned? I'd like that it technically is more capable nowadays but the redesign in Vista made it a mere recorder. The earlier versions allowed for editing the recorded audio files directly and that was very useful.

  112. SatoMew says:

    In my above comment, "[…] to have a red […]" should read "[…] to have a read […]" instead.

  113. SatoMew says:

    Sorry for triple-posting but I mean WIM files, not WMI files, since the latter don't exist.

  114. briangw says:

    Unfortunately, 8 won't support native mounting of mdf/bin files, so I'll have to continue using Daemon Tools.

  115. Eric Malamisura says:

    Thanks for posting all this guys, it actually makes my entire day when I see a Building Windows 8 post, I love geeking out over this stuff. I enjoy reading these blog entries so much that I await each new one with great anticipation!

  116. Thanks! I have been waiting for this type of functionality since Windows XP.

  117. bthorp says:

    I've been waiting for ISO's to be treated like this forever!

    Now please fix the AIK tools and the Unattended Image Toolkit (that thing is a nightmare for 7! Trying to port a sysprep.ini to 7 is like pulling teeth)

  118. jdev says:

    I don't know how often this was already asked, but: if we can _mount_ ISOs, why can't we *create* them?

    Would be only another context menu entry, or Command bar > Disk tools…

    Anyway, this is awesome [and I'll overlook the fact that Linux/OSX got this feature for a long time] ๐Ÿ˜‰

  119. Scubaboy29 says:

    Praise de lard!!! More of these nuts and bolts improvements please….

  120. Guojian Miguel Wu says:

    Ribbon Toolbar = F-UGLY.   You don't need a button for every single function.  Streamline that UI and you'll get more users.  Add more buttons and people will switch to OSX

  121. Valkyrie-MT says:

    Double-Clicking should mount and open the contents of the ISO or VHD, just like with zip.  The expectation for a double click action would be for it to open the contents.  It is VERY unintuitive to mount the drive and novice users likely will not even notice the mounts appearing on the left.  Then they will repeat the double-click and nothing will appear to happen?  That would be frustrating.  The double-click should represent the OPEN verb whenever possible.  Mounting on double-click is NOT intuitive.  Add mount to the ribbon and context menu instead.  Make the double-click a mount+explore action, just like a zip!  

    And speaking of zip, supporting more formats would be nice.  


    Also, I hope when you are interacting with legacy apps using a touch interface that the maximize, minimize, and other related buttons will be much larger and touch friendly.  There should be a Theme or something that enlarges all of these buttons and controls.  Also, windows should be maximized or centered by default when opened on a slate.  

  122. xpclient says:

    Awesome! But this is long way to go and improve upon the basic functionality of simply mounting them.

    1.  I would also love the ability to create and edit ISO files like Microsoft's Oscdimg (or the excellent OPX Extender in the Partner Network's Action Pack), including bootable ISO files. This is also something the average Windows customer can greatly benefit from. Oscdimg is cool because it has the unique ability to store files inside ISOs with single instance storage. Please give us a GUI to create, edit and save ISO files. Windows 7 added only ISO burning, Windows 8 adds only ISO mounting, maybe Windows 9 will add ISO creation. Why not go beyond the bare minimum? I will still require third party tools for ISO modification.

    2.  Is this read only mounting in case of VHDs or we can modify the VHD in Explorer and unmount it?

    3.  Hope it elevates correctly when extracting to UAC protected locations.

    4.  Can ISOs over the network be mounted? My current ISO tools allow that without issue so I expect Windows 8 to do that. There are two scenarios here: accessing an SMB share and then mounting the ISO from the SMB client and another one is: mounting the ISO on the SMB server and accessing it as a mapped drive from the SMB client. Please support both methods.

    5.  The Drive Letter Assignment has a conflict bug in earlier versions wherein drive letters of removable or mounted drives conflict with mapped network drives. If I have mapped network drives previously, Windows incorrectly assigns the same drive letter as the mapped drive to the removable drive. I have to use Disk Management to change the drive letter! Kindly fix this for Windows 8.

    6.  Can we have sounds assignable to drives mounted or unmounted event please so the user won't be confused whether the ISO has just opened or is mounted.

    7.  A Control Panel or Disk Management option to set the starting drive letter would be nice.

    8.  Can it at least indicate whether the ISO is a bootable one or not? I am sure this can be added even at this stage. Just a subtle indicator to show that an ISO is bootable.

    9.  Ship property handlers for ISOs and VHDs so as much information about them in visible in the Details pane: the file system, publisher, volume IDs and labels and the application that created the IS0. Virtual PC 2004/2007 used to show lots of information in  Properties of a virtual machine from the Virtual PC Console. In Windows Virtual PC, the virtual machines special shell folder became the UI and many properties are now not displayed.

    10.  Are mixed mode game CDs which have audio tracks and game tracks supported?

    11. Unrelated: but consider 7-Zip support for a future version of Windows. LZMA and LZMA2 are far more efficient than ZIP. The compression algorithm is very intensive but totally worth the compression ratios we get. Unlike RAR, 7-Zip is not proprietary.

    12. The context menu of such drives HAS to include an Eject button. Don't keep the Eject button just on the Ribbon.

    13. What about other formats like Microsoft's own WIM image or .IMG files which are also common? I wish I wouldn't have to use imagex for WIM files.

    14. Creating bootable USB drive from ISO image and making a USB bootable from GUI (GUI for bootsect.exe)

    15. Some way to automate mounting/unmounting: a cmd line tool, VBscript, WMI or PowerShell cmdlet.

  123. @Valkyrie-MT: From the article: "To mount the ISO, you can either double click the file or click Mount on the Actions tab."  So double clicking apparently does mount the ISO.  

    What I don't know is if double clicking on the ISO opens a new explorer window on the newly mounted drive.

  124. @Valkyrie-MT: From the article: "To mount the ISO, you can either double click the file or click Mount on the Actions tab."  So double clicking apparently does mount the ISO.  

    What I don't know is if double clicking on the ISO opens a new explorer window on the newly mounted drive.

  125. @DanglingPointer

    I agree with you. I'm using IDM (internet download manager) and its download speed was extremely fast and responsive too. I know that IE9 has download manger built in but I bet IE team can achieve that kind of performance even with graphic and hardware acceleration. The problem with IE9 is they just render fast but startup or from the time you hit enter and wait for them to get to that address, download the page and start rendering page. It's still horribly slow. That not to say rendering sometime occurs the problem like you see the text and no image sometime image position or size is at the wrong location.  Apple website doesn't work well on IE9 but chrome, safari, firefox because they're almost freezing when I play Quick Time video on it. Annoying level of IE9 notification is just as much as Vista one.

    Hope to see improvement Windows and IE team!!!!

  126. byron says:

    I would love to see native MKV support ๐Ÿ™‚ That would be icing on the cake

  127. Henry Ericson says:

    I think Punkbuster (And other related anti-piracy tactics) are going to have a field day with the native ISO and VHD mounting.

    But it's good you're including it. You guys have the final say, not some intrusive DRM client that everyone hates.

  128. @raider, Felix van Oost

    It's not the start menu anyway. Take a look…/notstartmenu.jpg

    There is always gap between pinned application icons while the icon next to black start button it doesn't have a gap. I can say it's just the overlay menu from Metro UI since at the end of this post demo, we can see the laptop that he used to demo is using metro interface with square tiles on it. If I remember clear at D9 demo, the tiles in windows 8 don't animate like the live titles in MANGO… hope they will add this.

  129. SatoMew says:


    – The virtual disc driver requires elevation to mount the disc image. You'll see that when you set UAC to the maximum setting.

    – The context menu already has the Eject option.

    – IMG files are already supported, though not IMA files.

  130. Kumar says:

    These features are already available in Win 7.

  131. msft says:

    I would expect that after double clicking on ISO / VHD, the content should be shown right away. There was no inidication that a drive was added by double clicking.

  132. SatoMew says:

    @Kumar: No, they aren't. ISO and IMG open the Windows Disc Image Burner in Windows 7 while VHD and VHDX support is already there but you couldn't mount them easily and definitely not from Explorer.

  133. dOinX says:

    Not really important, since free, efficient 3rd party applications with a small footprint already exist, but a natural evolution nonetheless. Now: Give Windows native BluRay support, the lack of that is a much bigger problem in Windows 7!

  134. rkelo says:

    i like this new features but i don't like ribbon on explorer because its huge and i surely don't like that BLACK Start menu which look like something from 90's

    Functions  is not enough you have to combine beauty with function to have both world people like pretty things as they like functionally  things

  135. Eddie says:

    Great news, looking foward to 8

    Off topic…can you let us in on any new media playback features ?  blu ray ?  mkv container support ?

  136. That's awesome! Finally I wont have to install third party apps like Daemon and UltraISO. Will we be able to create .iso files using Explorer? That would be perfect.

  137. @Dominiko

    They should do that because many free iso creator out there and able to create ISO file already. Burn, Mounting and now should be creating ISO files as well..When I see the ribbon of ISO context in…/2538.Mounting_2D00_a_2D00_new_2D00_ISO_5F00_7AB5E1E9.jpg

    There are only two options that take space of the whole ribbon- SO funny, isn't it?

    Microsoft do this please!!!!!

  138. @nowuniverse

    The problem with that is that context menu is only activated when the user has selected an existing .iso. No other menu items can exist because in order to access them the user will have to constantly find and iso on their computer in order to get to them. Another "feature" of the ribbon.

  139. Mike says:


    You are funny. You want create a ISO Image of an existing file. you can only mount or burn if you select an ISO.

    look at the picture you have posted.

  140. Sunweb says:

    This is cool, but what about the ability to create an iso. It would be awesome to right click on a folder and then select "Create ISO"

  141. @Mary Branscombe — I think folks have no problem being off topic but definitely appreciate your respect here!  If something is off topic folks can use the email link as a suggestion box.  It would be great to keep the dialog around the post ๐Ÿ™‚

  142. @Mike

    Did you read my comment carefully?

    Because they don't have function to create (only burn and mount) That's why I tell them to put this function (creating an iso) while it's still unavailable on the feature list yet!!!!!

  143. PQ says:

    @nowuniverse – surely it is the new Start Menu (he's holding down the Windows key to zoom in…). Have you thought that we've not seen the visual refresh of the other Aero elements and that's the reason it's a bit jarring at the moment?

    Speaking of which, the videos so far seem to be *very* selective in what you're showing an hiding. Has W8 been developed in a more componentized way than previous versions… ?

  144. Adrian says:

    If you start using a technology, USE IT!!!

    Use the following formats: 7z, rar, zip, iso, img, nrg, wim TO:

    – Mount

    – Burn

    – Create

    —————-That's it!—————–

    —————-So hard?—————-

    —-I think switching to Ubuntu—–

  145. DevPlus says:

    Yeah Great and Goodbye PowerISO ๐Ÿ˜€

  146. @stucampbell says:

    The user experience of mounting an ISO or VHD could do with a bit more work as it is not obvious to the user that something has happened when they double-click the file.

    Perhaps the ISO or VHD should be opened (in a new window?) and some kind of visual indication/animation could alert the user to the presence of the new drive in the drive listing?

    But thanks for adding these long-awaited features!

  147. Kjell says:

    Great stuff. Thanks!

  148. Awesome!

    It would be great if "DVD Drive (D:) DVD_ROM" said "DVD Drive (D:) Microsoft Office Professional 2010" and "Local Disk (G:)" said "Local Disk (G:) Windows8 8065 AMD64" or something like that.

    Trying to remember which drive pertains to which ISO or VHD file could be difficult.


  149. DevPlus says:

    Great News,

    Now I can say good bye to PowerISO

  150. Which formats are supported? IMG and ISO? Does the SDK include a way to write own handlers for other file type (ZIP, 7z, MDS)?

    Does mounting a ISO over the network works?

  151. I forgot one question. Are the ISOs/VHDs mounted again after a reboot? Some software (like VS2010) requires a reboot. If the ISO is not mounted again, setup fails.

  152. @PQ

    I know what you think about— visual style of Aero is changing in this version and of course I noticed that but at the third video of building windows. It's obvious that start menu got a new logo without orb or anything else. Taskbar already has time, date, battery status there is need to show another black box to inform that information unless it's just an overlay menu. If you use touch device, you probably know that kind of experience, right? And to confirm clearer, the guy demo this video push some key to make it zooming but have you noticed before he pressed that key the menu of the black box is already shown? Start menu behavior is when you press windows key start menu pop up or disappear when the guy pressed the key- screen just zoomed in while the black menu stayed the same and didn't disappear that's mean it's not start menu because he may press some other key OR start menu supposed to disappear but at zooming moment but it didn't.

    take more careful look at this picture:…/notstartmenu.jpg

  153. DanglingPointer says:

    @nowuniverse, I assume that there is a serious issue with the basic DOM operations in IE9 which prevents the user to experience swift rendering of webpages. You can run the conformance test yourself on various browsers reported here;…/a-dom-manipulation-test-ie-performance

    Moreover, the overall browsing experience when it comes to scrolling the webpage in IE is jerky, as compared to their own butter-like Silverlight scrollโ€ฆ…/ie-10-ui-smooth-scrolling-and-better-tab-management

    I hope in the next preview release of IE10 (that is scheduled in the BUILD conference sometime in Sept. `11), with the resolutions of tons of such issues shall make significant difference. On the other note, if you are following up with the platform-previews of IE10, you must have enjoyed a real, overall swift browsing experience compared to any other existing browser including Chrome, FF, Safariโ€ฆ Glad that they are opting the right direction and IE is one of the fastest browser once again after a long time!

  154. Yo Momma says:

    Not to be rude, but 1st of all, please go back to featuring stuff we didn't already know from leaks.  2nd of all, unless I'm missing something, VHD support's already in Win 7, isn't it the new VHDX format & its Win 8 support that is so special?

  155. Yo Momma says:

    & by support, I mean stuff like mounting.

  156. raymond says:

    How about native ISO creation, raw file preview, cue/bin file mount/creation,rar, and other commonly used file extensions.

    But the start menu needs some work if that is the new start menu it is nice but way too flat and no shadows. It needs some dimension on the phone since you cannot change the background it probably would work however since the desktop allows customization it cannot be completely flat because then there would be the issue of legibility/visibility and usability. You guys need to work on the usability of the metro style on a desktop setting working with zune software as a starting point but fixing the problems that the zune software has such as usability. It's beautiful but the usability of the program is part of the problem I still see in the user interface that is becoming metro in the desktop.

  157. @raymond

    You can preview raw files with the microsoft camera codec pack.

  158. I agree with the Power Calculator and GIF support for the photo viewer inclusions.

    Who uses the default Windows calculator? People who need quick calculations. Can it be used more? Yeah… But it's severely underpowered. You'd rather go to Wolfram|Alpha or Google or someone else. Is there any successful commercial calculator app? None that I know. There are free apps here:

    Also, allow calculations queries into Window Search. Many application launchers (GNOME+DO, Launchy, Mac Spotlight, etc.) allow this. Windows should too by default for even the most basic calculations. It'd be even better with a more useful calculator built-in.

  159. Julien M says:

    Will there be a way to "finalize" disc when burning an ISO using the Windows' built-in ISO burner?

    Currently, Windows 7's iso burner does NOT finalize discs!

    This means that data on the disc can easily be changed by a malware which might replace EXE files on the disc with infected copies (not just on CD/DVD-RW, on CD/DVD-R too!)

    That causes a serious security issue when we put DVDs in potentially infected computers, and then use these same discs on other computers.

    Because of this, I still have to use Nero to burn "safe" finalized discs ๐Ÿ™

  160. Okay, I'm fine with that ๐Ÿ™‚ Can't wait to get that ๐Ÿ™‚ Very nice to mount the ISO images from MSDN…

  161. (Uellington Santos) says:

    Mount VHD and ISO is awesome!!!!

    But, can you also add a feature to create new vhd and iso images from Windows Explorer?

  162. raymond says:

    Metro interface needs a bit more dimension to it. The problem with the metro in a desktop environment is that it is way too flat. That was the same problem with the zune software. Sometimes you couldn't even see the typography or the buttons. There is also not much showing in terms of status change of the button/link. Sometimes you cannot even see the typography and this is due to the background but in a real desktop environment people will have difference backgrounds all the time. The typography must be strong and legible despite background images/color. The buttons themselves also have a difficulty. They are way too flat and while this works when the button is also up against a busy background(and it will be) it gets lost. It's not as easy to see.

    Another issue is the hover/pressed status. When you hover over a button it's not like media center or zune hd where it is obvious there is a bold color indication but it is not strong enough for viewers to actually see. And when it is pressed you need a sort of animation as well before transitioning so that you know you pressed it.

    The scroll bars need to be worked on while it's nice in theory they are a bit too flat to be visible. Sometimes the text is way to small to be read. The cropping of the buttons is nice but also at times awkward like IE9 and zune now playing.

    What I think you can take from the zune software is that there is indication(area in the right corner) of resizing which is good that you should implement. (or possibly it was here before windows 7, I don't recall anymore)

    Another good feature is the ability for zune software to take up the full screen. That is a very good feature. Not just most of it with the program actually filling up the whole screen is a good feature you can implement. Another feature or option that should be implemented is the zune softwares default nature being minimized and giving you the option of making it maximized. This gives people like me the option to maximize it or leave it minimized if I don't need it to be maximized so I can mulitask. However just the option to have all windows minimized by default would be nice.

    All in all I think metro UI for desktop needs to be worked on in terms of usability to be able to be used across the whole desktop in all windows/programs/etc. because it is extremely flat it needs to have dimension to be usable in the form of desktop. It should be more 2.5D rather than just simple flat. It needs dimension/shading/gradients.

    Perhaps something like this? With a bit more dimension/shading/gradients. some depth to the scroll bar and other stuff like the buttons for minimize/restore/close? Maybe some more color depth. a bigger button or place those buttons in a rounded box, so it is easier to press?

  163. Thank you for the tremendous interest and feedback! Our team highly appreciates it.

    Responding to some of the posted comments:

    @Ravikanth โ€“ we do indeed have PowerShell support for VHD mounting but not for ISO files.

    @Jeroen (and others) โ€“ both ISOs and VHDs can indeed be mounted over UNC and you can share it out.

    @Morp3g โ€“ we introduced the ability to boot from a VHD in Windows 7 โ€“ it was more for servers & I figure some people missed that one.

    @Mike (and many others) โ€“ weโ€™ll look into doing something different after mounting the file. Thanks for that!

    @Sugadevan (and many others) โ€“ you can certainly edit and save the contents of data contained in the VHD. However, ISO files are mounted read-only.

    @Bastian92 (and others) โ€“ for ISOs, we support up to UDF v2.6 which includes the Blu-ray format. We support all VHD files.

    @Matti-Koopa (and others) โ€“ thank you for the feedback. Windows 7 does not natively support RAR files.

    @Bastian92 โ€“ you can certainly mount multiple ISO files concurrently.

    More responses shortly. Please continue providing the great feedback.

  164. Robert4WPF says:

    Finally, a Win8 feature I can wholeheartedly embrace and look forward to!  Virtual CloneDrive is the 3rd  app I install on a fresh machine (following Firefox and 7-Zip), and it will be nice to have ISO mounting natively.

  165. Adrian says:

    @Rajeev Nagar [MSFT] So, will Windows 8 be able to open natively rar or 7z files?

    Thanks! You are the best!!! Kill that Lion!

  166. Windows 8 is looking better and better with every blog post here.  Thanks for all the hard work guys!

  167. @Steven Sinfosky

    What do you think about a BuildingWindows8 forum?

    Not now, but maybe when the first preview or beta of Win8 is available for public.

    Maybe it's easier to to discuss things. I don't know.

    Best regards

  168. This is going to be the best operating system that Microsoft ever release!  Thanks so much for the hard work!

  169. Hi everyone – wow thatโ€™s a load of comments – thanks for the intrest!

    @treflo (& others) – unfortunately we can't name the volume something friendly like the filename because a volume name comes from the mastering process of the disc. There is also an application compatibility issue risk as some applications query the volume name.  


  170. A couple of additional responses.

    @Michael Greenhill โ€“ you can certainly assign a specific drive letter to mounted VHDs or ISOs.

    Also, I appreciate the feedback vis-ร -vis enabling ISO creation. As many of you have commented, there are multiple freely available applications available enabling ISO creation (for those amongst us who do this), including the downloadable application from MSFT as mentioned in the blog.

    @Tel โ€“ Windows certainly supports VHD creation.

    Please keep up the great candid dialog.

  171. Mike says:

    @Rajeev Nagar [MSFT]

    So Windows 8 don't support creating ISO's?

    Which MSFT Downloadtool do you mean for creating ISO's?

  172. asdf says:

    Hey Rajeev, instead of ISO and VHD support, how about usermode filesystem support instead? Then ISO and VHD can just be plugin filesystems which are defaultly installed.

  173. Douglas says:

    Finally implementing OSX features!  ๐Ÿ˜›

  174. xpclient says:

    @Rajeev Nagar [MSFT]

    – Can mounted ISOs and VHDs mounted automatically at startup so setup programs don't get errors?

    – Is IMG format also supported as 'SatoMew' says? Not all files with IMG extension are ISO images.

  175. MSchnee says:

    Is there any particular reason we're sticking with the C: drive-letter paradigm?  I thought with the advent of Libraries we'd be doing away with this.  This becomes a tiresome problem especially when dealing with Hybrid disk setups- a smaller, faster SSD for the operating system, and a significantly larger, slower hard drive for useful data.  I thought, especially after that amazing auto-configuration in Windows Home Server, that we were finally getting beyond the whole root-navigation usages of the 80s and 90s.  

    Case in point, when an ISO is mounted, why can't it just appear in explorer as a device with its actual name?  Why does it need a Drive Letter?

  176. PQ says:

    Anyhow, all good stuff. I know you said in the previous post that the new Explorer ribbon isn't customizable this time around, but will 3rd-parties be able to hook into this at all under the hood to provide support for other formats (like everyone's requesting)? – the same goes for Zip vs 7Zip etc (i.e. the UI/ribbon remains the same, but they can broaden the number of formats this supports)?

    Also, will the new media features in Windows support this? I.e., will I be able to have all my DVD ISO-s on a hard drive and Windows will index them properly so that they are playable though the media software without having to manually mount them first?

    Other unrelated questions…

    – Have any changes been made to the maximum path length in the files system? Itโ€™s becoming a bit of a pain…

    – Every. Single. Release. of Windows you get about 10 trillion comments mentioning that you've not updated the style of icon XYZ. It'd be useful, from an engineering perspective, to know how you're not just doubling your UI maintenance effort by incorporating the new Immersive UI (I'm sure other app devs would be interested)

    – How does the "Share" ribbon relate (if at all) to the "Share" start menu stuff?

    – If the Ribbon functionality isn't customisable (which is a *big* shame), then how will Dropbox, Sugarsync etc integrate with the new Sync services?

  177. thechexican says:

    Simply. Awesome.

  178. @Rajeev Nagar [MSFT]

    Yay dialog! I'm curious if we can somehow tell Windows 8 to boot from a VHD that we have mounted? So say like you did we mount an OS is there any way we could boot into it as apposed to the native OS?

  179. Daniel says:

    This is great!  However I'd like for the contents of the mounted image to be displayed automatically when you doouble-click the file much like when you double click a folder you see what's in there.  This is unintuitive.

  180. SatoMew says:

    This is unrelated to this post but it'd be handy to implement support for the ext filesystem and its variants ext2, ext3, and ext4. Interoperability with Linux would certainly be welcome since it's still necessary to either boot into the Linux distro or use a 3rd-party tool in Windows to gain support for reading and/or mounting the partitions used by it.

    @DanielM2: You can already make a mounted VHD be bootable in Windows 7, as long as you create a boot entry for it. The easiest way I know is to use the awesome 3rd-party tool EasyBCD. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  181. domenicoav says:


    you plan to create a tablet Microsoft Brand  in addition to OEM Tablet ?

    in the last period OEMs seem crazy . It might be time to begin to walk alone.

    4 Notebook , 2 Netbook , one tablet, 1 console , + Enterprice product and Cloud.

    Microsoft have on line store in all country, and many store in US.

    You can.

  182. Bill Dunn says:

    I love what you guys are doing in Windows 8 this again is really good stuff, but its also another area where I wish you had taken it just a little bit further:

    1. Why not include .wim files?

    2. Why not include the ability to update the .ISO

    3. Why not include the ability to mount the .ISO to a directory instead of a drive letter.

  183. HandNF says:

    This is a nifty feature. Thanks a lot for implementing it! It was exciting to see some stuff that wasn't mentioned, like the new start menu and the Metro UI start menu in the video.

  184. I like this feature! We need to mount ISO files! At least!

    Anyways, I have a comment about Windows Explorer Interface:

    I've seen your work about Windows Explorer Ribbon.

    I would like to show you a concept that I've made, that shows basically, that the Windows 8 Explorer can use the Ribbon, but with a sleek design.

    Please take a look here:…/Windows8ExplorerConcept.jpg

    Thanks for viewing my concept.

    Do not hesitate contacting me if you have any doubts.

    Best regards,


  185. cranberry says:

    I can understand why people might want the ability to create an image from a DVD (for backup purposes for example), but who needs to create an ISO file from a directory?

    @ Ian McDonald: "unfortunately we can't name the volume something friendly like the filename because a volume name comes from the mastering process of the disc. There is also an application compatibility issue risk as some applications query the volume name." – The volume name itself shouldn't be changed, but Explorer could still append the ISO filename, much like it already shows the drive letter in brackets which isn't part of the volume name either.

  186. NiceExplorerConcept says:

    @LudoMatico – I do like your concept very much.

  187. andrew t says:

    wheres protogon?

  188. Vance says:

    Why can't I just double click on the "ISO" and have it auto mount and open the content?

    Having to click "Mount" and then navigate to the Virtual CD rom that was created for this ISO is a lot of work! And this is an example of why OS X is user friendly. Make no sense to me why I always have to do these 2 steps forever when I can just double click and see whats inside.

  189. Robert says:

    About freaking time ๐Ÿ™‚  This could have been in Vista, should have been in 7, glad to see it in 8!

  190. Robert says:

    About freaking time ๐Ÿ™‚  This could have been in Vista, should have been in 7, glad to see it in 8!

  191. rasteroid says:

    When a ISO/VHD is mounted, does the mounted image remain after a reboot? Or does a reboot reset the mounts? I have that problem currently with mounted VHDs on Windows Server 2008 R2 – that VHD mounts are reset on reboot, so I have to remount them each time.

  192. SatoMew says:

    @LudoMatico: I love your Metro-style Ribbon UI, it's awesome. I think this is actually the path the Ribbon should take, in order to fit with the Metro design language. The only gripes I have about your concept is that it should follow Aero regardless of it's future, which I think it still has. Aero will still be here but evolved to fit with Metro. And the lack of thq Quick Access Toolbar might be a pain, though I wonder what you would that Personalize tab be, especially when it's right bellow the "Ribbon Tools" tab.

  193. This is seriously good stuff! Please make it as transparent as it can be. De-geekify it.

    Can't wait to see what is in store for Hyper-V. Hoping to see virtualized executions buckets with application model specific privileges:

    -One for HTML5+Script apps.

    -One for a new managed application model.

    -One for the old WinAPI stuff.

    Can't wait for BUILD.

  194. raymond says:

    The problem is Windows 8 needs to be more user-friendly in terms of program UI intergration with windows. What I mean is programs such as adobe software while takes on elements of windows UI(which doesn't really fit from their design of their menus.) is not user-friendly like it is on the mac. If I go to help on mac I don't have to look at manual I can type into the search of help of what I need help or am looking for and possibly find the menu item I am

    looking for. While on windows if I want help if I click it it opens up internet explorer with a online help manual that is nice but hard to find useful items and hard to find things quicker and easier for simple issues.

    A good way is to be able to search for possible menu items within using the adobe software itself instead of having to go into a browser and online help manual but having that option or using a offline help database manual as a second option.

    Also in Mac OSX things are much more guided. As in actions like drawing a line you can see it visibily. It's easier to use as the program tends to guide you through the action. When I use a program in windows I feel more lost and don't know what I did or what I should do where as on the Mac Programs are much more guided. They see you through the action making it more user-friendly. Another thing is if I ever did have a question in my mind 9/10 times I can find it by searching in help section of menu and find what the menu item I could possibly be looking for. In windows I'd have to click on a online manual and read it to find out what it could be half the time the search results are not relevant and having a online manual my not be the worse thing.

    I thought it might be adobe itself being an issue but that seems to be an issue on all programs I've used in windows they are just not user-friendly. The help isn't helpful. It should just be easier. Things in adobe should be easier. Programs and looking for relevant help shouldn't be hard.

    What windows needs work on is how to be more user-friendly but still focusing on the usablity. I am a windows user, but at the same time I can see why people would rather use a Apple laptop. Their OS is just much easier to use. Windows just needs to follow in that same format. It should be easy to use, beautiful, but above all functional. Sometimes it's just fustrating doing simple actions or trying to find simple help. Sure you can say I could read the manual etc. But let's face it how many people are going to actually read the manual? If they could search for the menu item itself it would make things much quicker. Allowing programs to be more guided(if the user wants) to show actions you've made(such as in adobe illustrator, which is easier to use on the mac) is also a much more helpful approach. The ribbon interface just takes up a lot of real estate on the program/application but offering not much in return not to mention the design is quite ugly.

  195. Liam Crozier says:

    Excellent, great work!

  196. Alireza Noori says:

    Thank you for this. Its nice to have this features out of the box but it would be better to support some other file types and file format as other people suggested. Believe it or not, I have to install 3 applications just for this purpose on my Windows 7 PC (Daemon Tools, PowerISO and Virtual Clone Drive) to support all of the virtual disks. I really hope you add more formats to your support list. Many of the images out there are NOT in the ISO format. Also RAR and 7ZIP are VERY VERY common formats. Supporting them (as many people requested) would be "creme de la creme" ๐Ÿ˜‰

  197. HandNF says:

    @Vance – Double clicking on an iso file does automatically mount the drive.

  198. nnsun says:

    Yes! ISO support is a great feature to have. Now I don't have to worry about Roxio or whatnot to write to disks ๐Ÿ™‚

  199. @Steven: Please make it possible to change any opened window OPACITY!! I don't understand why it's not already included since Vista. Like the gadgets in Win7. In percentages. And with the possibility to let each window to "save" their current OPACITY state. And when You reopen that window it would restore the OPACITY state it has before closing

    The other thing is CALCULATOR : Win7 has the first usable calculator. But I don't understand why it's don't have Gb, Mbyte, kb, etc-ect in the converter part of the program. Make it PC worthy!

    Keep up the good work!

    Best Regards

  200. FremyCompany says:

    @LudoMatico – Very nice concept. Let's see what MS is planning to do, but I really enjoy your mockup. However, you didn't keep the complete "Ribbon" experience. Having all options available in a glance is something I'm looking for, too.

  201. geo says:


    tha's an awesome concept.


    Is there a glass effect on ribbon….?

  202. Kevin Dunlop says:

    I think this is great.  Good jobs.  It will be perfect if you can ensure that windows (without separate app) can burn ISO to a disk and created a ISO from a disk.  Preferably from the context menu on the disk drives.  That will make this feature alot more useful.

  203. Martin says:

    so far windows 8 done a good job of windows explorer and file managment . when can we see windows media player and internet explorer 10 here on the blog. looking forward to see more features on windows 8.

  204. Blue Ray says:

    Two words for you MS folks: Blue Ray.

    DVD is an ancient storage standard and I'd like to back up my legitimate blue rays to disk and play them on the move or to my NAS at home without having to spend hours doing a dual pass transcode to some lesser quality H264.

    Work it out with Sony k go.

  205. Pluberus says:

    Excellent additions!

    On a sidenote, will we ever see Tabbed browsing in Explorer?

  206. Andrés Villalta P says:

    I'm very excited with this new feature. Excelent work!!

  207. So  STILL need to install PowerISO or some equivalent to be able to create ISOs.. nice work, what's the point *rollseyes*

  208. John Lee says:

    Please, on Actions Tab-Image Tools, whith another button (settings or advanced options for example) can make it possible still mount VHD file after system restart, on W7 after restart, the VHD dettach automatically ๐Ÿ™

    Keep up the nice work!

    Best Regards

  209. Grate! But please don't include a way for third party programs to distinguish between a mounted ISO and a physical disk. Doing so will result in a DRM nightmare, where every DVD, CD and BlueRay will check to see if its running on a ISO copy, witch will eventually make this feature useless.

  210. Bawitdaba1337 says:

    This is good, but you need to take it to the next level. If your going to allow for ISO's to natively be mounted then you must also promote the content creation. Meaning there needs to "natively" be a simple way of making an ISO image from a CD/DVD/BluRay inserted into a real drive.

    Echoing the above for VHD, your natively supporting the use of VHD files in Windows 8 by allowing users to add or remove them but not create them. For this to be really useful to the masses you need to natively allow the creation from scratch in Windows 8 of a VHD disk.

    @Bawitdaba1337 on Twitter

  211. steve jobs says:

    what about OVF / vmdk.  Microsoft doesn't seem to support a STANDARD like OVF, why?

  212. Adrianimapc says:

    @LudoMatico Your concept is killer!


    Also, it would be nice if you have a eject button on the drive in the left panel and ISO burner to USB stick. Thanks! You're great!

  213. jalf says:

    interesting. A lot of programs just allow you to treat an iso the same way you do .zip files (doubleclick on them, drag the files you're interested in from the "archive" to wherever you want them). Given that Windows has (admittedly lousy) support for .zip files built in, it seems odd that you don't do the same for .iso files, rather than forcing the user to mount them first (which is a nice option to have, sure, but it's less convenient if you just want to extract the contents of the iso

  214. Musafir_86 says:

    Hi everyone,

    -Just want to support (vote up) the inclusion of WIM and 7-Zip format support, better if with read/write capability too. And while you're at it, please enable SIS (Single Instance Storage) in ISO as it's in WIM to save space (if you plan to include editing the ISO files, just like VHD).


  215. Jhabril Harris says:

    Dear Microsoft,

        This has nothing to do with the topic of this post, but I would like to talk about issues regarding the Windows Snap feature. As I've been reading other Windows 8 forums, I've noticed that many have been complaining about the 16:9 issue. Understandingly, Windows Snap should only be available for widescreens, but it doesn't need to specifically be 16:9 . Many believe that 16:10 deserves a chance for this new feature.

        Although this is a problem stated by many, believe that the statement could have been misinterpeted. Perhaps, as I thought I might have heard, that Windows Snap is available to any resolution above the standard 1365×768 resolution. Most WXGA+ 16:10 monitors are above that resolution (1440×900), so if that's the case, then their shouldn't be MUCH of a problem. If not, then you may want to take consideration into this. Thank you for your time.

    P.S.-If this not the right time to post a comment like this, then I can wait until the moment comes.

  216. Hamlet Petrosyan says:

    Please update Media Player, for supporting .flv

  217. @Jhabril Harris – not to worry you'll be fine.  We're not that picky and will talk more about this at BUILD.

  218. LOL GUY says:

    Please add a software to rip bluray into mkv.

  219. Windows 8 Enthuiast says:

    @Steven  Please talk about Kinect gestures to control Windows 8 in BUILD. That will give a boost and create a hysteria unlike anything ever seen on any version of Windows ever. Think about it. Kinect is what is on peoples mind now

  220. This is great news! Thank you! The only thing that's missing is the ability to create ISO/VHD files. If Windows Server 8 will be based on the same code base, the ability to create ISO/VHD files needs to be in the system. Think of a scenario where you use Hyper-V…the only way you get your files into the system(before you have network access) is to mount an ISO/VHD file. So please, please, please! Add this to Windows 8. Thank you! Christian

  221. @Christian Schindler

    You are able to create VHD files in Win8, also in Win7, but for creating ISO's you need a 3rd party app so far i know. Maybe the change that.

  222. Name says:

    The thing that makes people dissatisfied and a sense of incompleteness of the user experience. If you can read the iso file but can not create the user will look for a third-party software to create ISO files and this is not the user experience they want. Windows users will be forced to use a third-party software that will let them do it all with a consistent user experience. Reading the comments of the ISO file to create interest to many users. Easy, Simple, Consistent. Thanks.

  223. Great news. Not much you guys can do about it, but I will be very interested in what copy protection programs such as Securom will do on Win8, considering they tend to deny access in the mere presence of image mounting tools. XD

  224. domenicoav says:


    Bastian pls change your avatar. You re Sinofsky Clone. your avatar confuses me.

  225. Please have a look at the PISMO FILE MOUNT PACKAGE and you will see, how easy you can access ISO-files without a drive letter !

    Just mout the file and it's content is available as a subfolder – same experience as zip-files.

    you get the information (the content) "at your fingertips", you don't have to navigate away from the stored iso-file location. (this should also apply to vhd-files)

    In addition, it's independent from Windows Explorer so you can access the folder from any program even from any PC on your LAN (if you share the parent folder)

    Look at the great tool "Pismo File Mount Audit Package" at…/ap

    you can mount an ISO-file and all programs do have access to it (not only windows explorer)

    so if you share the parent folder, you are able to access the content from every PC in your LAN.

    please do not rely on old techniques with drive letters – there are much better opportunities…

    please implement a more convenient way of mounting iso-files (and vhd-files) than using a virtual drive.

    why should the user

    a) navigate away from the current folder ?

    b) search where the content is available and even worse to navigate back !?


  226. @MSFT

    I've just watched your video clip demonstrating how to handle iso- and vhd-files. So I have to add some notes to my previous post.

    If you also have an USB-drive attached you have to guess which drive letter corresponds to the mounted vhd-file to eject it.

    so my suggestion would be to mount archives (iso-, zip-, vhd-files) as subfolder inside the same local storage location. Adding an "add/remove to/from boot menu" option to the context menu of vhd-files would be nice and would avoid dealing with diskpart and bcdedit.

    keep in mind that Microsoft's slogan was (and should still be:) "Information at your fingertips" !

    This is why I like Microsoft products.


  227. Alex says:

    Very very good job guys…

  228. @dovella

    I did that already, but the change doesn't appear.. In my profile there is already the new pic.

    Maybe the blogmaster reset the pic and than i took another one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    it's no problem for me.

  229. @Steven: Thanks for adding ISO support. I hope you guys are adding FLAC support (the same as MP3 is supported in Win 7 and WMP 12). Ripping audio CDs into FLAC files for listening on the computer and on audio devices is a common use case these days, but FLAC support is non-existent in Win 7. Not having it in Win 8 would be a bummer! ๐Ÿ™‚

  230. Alireza Noori says:

    The concept @ posted (…/Windows8ExplorerConcept.jpg) just shows the path MSFT should have taken regarding Metro. Although it needs a little tweak, the main concept is more beautiful than the current Windows 8 (which is not that much different from Vista). I hope MSFT comes up with a Metro design. I have to admit, I am bored with the old Aero look. Even though we all know Linux is not about design, Ubuntu people came up with some beautiful desgins and on the other hand, Mac OS X has always been the eye candy (without that much feature) OS. So I guess the eyes are now at the MSFT boys. Please consider creating a Metro (and a DARK VERSION) theme. Almost all of the users are expecting Metro from you guys. Hope you do it.

  231. Howard van Rooijen says:

    Excellent news indeed. Should reduce the friction provisioning a new Windows 8 environment.

    +1 for 7-Zip support – the smaller resulting file size makes a huge difference when sending files – either via email or dropbox.


  232. I second Alireza Noori's post.

    @LudoMatico's concept (…/Windows8ExplorerConcept.jpg) looks amazing and I think Windows should definitely go down that path.

    With Metro UI Windows 8 can definitely win people over.

  233. I disagree with 7zip support – the 7zip application handles 7z files well enough, and compresses file browsing in windows (for zip files) is always problematic. For compressed file types open source apps like 7zip or peazip do the job well enough, native windows support doesn't really add value.

    On the other hand FLAC support will add tremendous value since it will allow for organizing and searching files within Explorer, and playing within WMP. I have tried alternative media players such as winamp and foobar, but WMP 12 has the best library usage and management features. This is one area where MSFT outdid the 3rd party and open source community, so I am hoping they capitalize on it for FLAC as well.

  234. @Alireza Noori: I don't agree with you. Metro is for the fingers, this is for your desktop (mouse/keyboard) experience.

    The road they've taken here is with the ribbon is the correct one:

    – most of the time, you'll have the ribbon closed and youโ€™ll work in the main interface with shortcuts, right clicks and the like. Thatโ€™s fine and matches the statistics nicely. As a bonus, thereโ€™s more room in the main interface than before and the QAT allows you to further customize the experience.

    – the ribbon is helpful if (occasionally) youโ€™re in there with your fingers or a stylus (when right clicking and shortcutting is difficult).

    – it helps new users (think children) to understand the basic operations and supports discoverability of features youโ€™re not accustomed to.

    And Iโ€™m sure the looks will improve in due time ๐Ÿ™‚

  235. @Alireza Noori: I don't agree with you. Metro is for the fingers, this is for your desktop (mouse/keyboard) experience.

    The road they've taken here is with the ribbon is the correct one:

    – most of the time, you'll have the ribbon closed and youโ€™ll work in the main interface with shortcuts, right clicks and the like. Thatโ€™s fine and matches the statistics nicely. As a bonus, thereโ€™s more room in the main interface than before and the QAT allows you to further customize the experience.

    – the ribbon is helpful if (occasionally) youโ€™re in there with your fingers or a stylus (when right clicking and shortcutting is difficult).

    – it helps new users (think children) to understand the basic operations and supports discoverability of features youโ€™re not accustomed to.

    And Iโ€™m sure the looks will improve in due time ๐Ÿ™‚

  236. Barcaz says:

    Hi an audio/video converter integrated in windows 8 would be very useful…..I'd loke to see it in windows :D… every way very good because you're doing a very good job especially the way to being able to mount the iso impressed me……I think in fact that windows too much depends on external software, and for this add these types of features is very important ….. another useful thing would be for example to add support files "rar" in windows explorer …. still a really good step forward ๐Ÿ˜‰

  237. Rukai says:

    can't wait to lunch on win 8!!!..

    9.14 is my birthday … LOL, then will be 9.13 when there in Redmond…


  238. I would like also to vote automatically go to the ISO/VHD when you mount it. It make seamless and may eliminate confusions.

    Also the quite different icon for VHD would be even more distinguishable from physical HDD than having overlay icon alone. ๐Ÿ˜€

  239. hallvard says:

    Good, Now I hope you can come with FLAC compability for wmp too!!!

  240. This is a step in the right direction, for sure. However, I would suggest some changes:

    1. have the mounted image be opened (make this an option) either in a new window, or the existing window (prefer the latter)

    2. make it so we can edit ISO files or create them – one feature not even available as a 3rd party tool.

    a. rip existing disks

    b. edit existing iso files

    c. create new ones, for example: when we are using AIK to deploy windows 7, or in the future, windows 8

  241. I neglected to mention the 3rd windows imaging format, WIM.

    It would be stellar if you could convert between WIM and VHD, and mount WIM files this easily. Currently wim's can get orphaned and corrupt on mount points and require 3 tools (imagex, dism, explorer) to remove with lots of trial and error.

    I'd also love to see improvements to make AIK Image Manager as easy as a wizard instead of the mystery meat package interface it has currently. Far cry from the power and ease of use that sysprep.inf had!

  242. Nicola says:

    First sorry for my English.…/Windows8ExplorerConcept.jpg This concept is really great, the Ribbon interface should be just like this! The one presented so far it seems too cumbersome

  243. domenicoav says:


    Many thanks ๐Ÿ˜€



  244. Windows 8 Enthsiast says:

    Does Windows 8 play 3D videos(stereoscopic) out of the box?

  245. Alireza Noori says:

    @eli173 : I suggest you to read your post again to realize that your answer is saying nothing but what I just said!! You agree with me when you are trying to disagree ๐Ÿ˜€ Seriously!

    You said that Metro is for "fingers" and again you said: "ribbon is helpful if (occasionally) youโ€™re in there with your fingers or a stylus ", put these 2 sentences together, you'll realize a Metro Ribbon or Metro design is what you, me and everybody else wants.

  246. Alireza Noori says:

    @eli173 : I suggest you to read your post again to realize that your answer is saying nothing but what I just said!! You agree with me when you are trying to disagree ๐Ÿ˜€ Seriously!

    You said that Metro is for "fingers" and again you said: "ribbon is helpful if (occasionally) youโ€™re in there with your fingers or a stylus ", put these 2 sentences together, you'll realize a Metro Ribbon or Metro design is what you, me and everybody else wants.

  247. Andreas says:

    Ofcourse, they will no doubt botch this feature with an endless stream of Autoplay-induced security issues. Also, I hope newbie users get a chance to confirm the automatic mount so they know wth is going on, i.e "I've double-clicked two hundred ISO files and it doesn't work, nothing happens!

  248. harold says:

    But will it emulate RMPS, SafeDisk, LaserLock and SecuROM?

    .. oh who am I kidding, of course it wont. So we'll need 3rd party tools after all.

  249. Tim says:

    The creation of the disk in a whole 'nother part of the screen is a little bit too subtle. It's as if you double-clicked it and nothing happened! I'm sure I'd find my Mom wasting half a minute wondering… did anything happen? Oh yeah… what file type is this again? Is this a DVD? Where do I look for it again?

  250. Love these features! Without reading the hundreds of comments above me, I'd like to throw in my two cents:

    Please use the word "Virtual" in the description of the newly created virtual device. For example, instead of "DVD Drive" have it say "Virtual DVD Drive", and instead of "Local Disk" have it say "Virtual Local Disk."

    If this is too wordy for you, then perhaps change the icon for a virtual drive to be different than a physical one.

    Or, do both and change the text and the icon, which would be the best of both worlds.

  251. Mikael Rodriguez says:

    I agree with not create iso files on Windows 8, the idea is kill the CD, I don't want any more 1,000,000 CD's on my Desktop or any place on my office. I'm tired of CD's and DVD's, so, I think  it is right only mount ISO files to access our data.

    USB Pen drives technology it's here, so, why not star right now replace discs with USB flash memory?

    PS. Sorry for my bad english.

  252. Mikael Rodriguez says:

    I agree with not create iso files on Windows 8, the idea is kill the CD, I don't want any more 1,000,000 CD's on my Desktop or any place in my office. I'm tired of CD's and DVD's, so, I think  it is right only mount ISO files to access our data.

    USB Pen drives technology it's here, so, why not start right now replace discs with USB flash memory?

    PS. Sorry for my bad english and double post

  253. Rajesh says:

    Once the VHD is mounted in Windows 8, is it possible to boot from the VHD.

  254. Hi!

    Thanks for all your positive thoughts and comments about the Concept that I made yesterday.

    I'm glad that you like the design.

    Today I've been working in a new polished version of the past concept.

    Take a look here:…/Windows8ExplorerConcept1.1.jpg

    Is a refined design, this time I take care about icons (metro style).

    My intention is to show that Windows Explorer can sport a Ribbon, without compromising the design.

    I made the design inspired by a mix between Metro and Aero Glass together, because I understand what Steve wrote in

    this post:…/designing-for-metro-style-and-the-desktop.aspx


    In the concept, you can see a "personalize" tab, and the explanation of what it means it's below.

    As many of you, I hope that the design team can see my concept an get inspiration from it.

    Thanks again.

    You can see the DeviantArt post here:…/Windows-8-Explorer-Ribbon-1-1-256053851


  255. Senzune says:

    As this video apparently leaked a bit of Metro, I'll use that opportunity to say this:

    Metro all over the place. The full taskbar in solid metro, no Aero or any derivative of the transparent chrome. Preferably no chrome at all, but I guess it's to early to say that. The experience is best if there's a single interface style, and in this case, I believe Metro to be the future of the Windows UI.

  256. Senzune says:

    Additionally, the first real must for the ISO/VHD integration would be to open the files in the same window. As images can't be considered structured folders or files, it's to be loaded as virtual drive, but the common user will find himself wondering: So, I double-clicked this file.. where are the contents?

    Even with the navigation pane active, it isn't always obvious. And it certainly isn't when the navigation pane is disabled by the user.

  257. Great design! Thanks!

  258. crackruckles says:

    I only have one question, when you are running pirated games so of the installers pick up that it is running in a virtual drive and wont let you install them, that is why i run alcohol 120 as that seems to be the best at avoiding this but will Microsoft's virtual drive avoid this or is it just a basic virtual drive system?

  259. Ninad says:

    poof i am glad you have it now !!

    Mac had it in Mac OS 9 !!

    still too late lolz!

  260. John Davis says:

    You really must be joking!

    You mean Windows hasn't had this function until now!?

    Microsoft playing catchup again!

  261. Moldor says:

    meh – Microsoft are still playing catch-up – OSX has had all of this and more for years and years.

    Come to think of it, so has Linux.

  262. Adrianimapc says:

    My own concept in photoshop:

  263. flakefrost says:

    i'm looking forward to a smaller footprint in windows 8… the less hardware resources that the os uses, the better ๐Ÿ™‚

  264. cheerios says:

    ummm…a little late on giving us this technology…but yeah improvements are welcomed but hope you guys won't brag about this being a new innovation for Windows 8 because this is already old stuff…also is touch integration built into the OS? Because I can see the future is touch pads, not mouse-clicking. I know there's the tablet but frankly the PC is moving the same path as well so maybe 10 years later there won't be anymore PC's, just tablets so I hope Windows 8 will have touch integration to last till then.

  265. tr says:

    Linux and Mac have had that for over 10 years. Good to have it on windows too.

  266. Thorsten Hans says:

    Finally! ๐Ÿ˜€

  267. armsplams says:

    please add file support *.dmg and many others.

  268. armsplams says:

    please add file support *.dmg and many others.

  269. Super nice………….. good..

  270. Super nice………….. good..

  271. CB says:

    This should have been included in 7. Better late than never. Also would be great to see more file types supported. Just like with compression, the wider range of support the better.

  272. jen lee says:

    Iโ€™m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog thatโ€™s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  273. sounds cool…. no more need for IMGBURN ๐Ÿ™‚

  274. altima says:

    congrats! you've finally made what has always been by default in the world of linux =) innovators ftw!

  275. Windows user says:

    Add a virtualization software (integrated in windows 8) that can run operating system from iso/vhd? It would be very very fantastic

  276. anthony says:


  277. Mr. Name says:

    Finally! I wish you had copied that from Mac OS YEARS ago! Bye bye Alcohol 120%!

  278. Jerry says:

    Excellent, I've been scratching my head for a while wondering why that wasn't built in especially when a lot of downloads coming from MSDN and Technet are ISO format.  Good show!  Will we be able to put passwords on ZIP files again too?

  279. Giftednewt says:

    Nice feature!

    Would be nice if you were taken straight into the virtual dvd/hdd drive that is created rather than having to click on them separately.

  280. Yannick says:

    Hi Steven, I think you add native support for pdf file. A basic pdf viewer will do the job.

  281. Yannick says:

    Hi Steven, I think you can add native support for pdf file. A basic pdf viewer will do the job.

  282. Nice to see Windows getting some more Mac technologies. It's about time. Should have been 10 years ago though, but better late than never.

  283. Fred Duarte says:

    +1 WIM native support.

    Native WIM file support is much desired and would be greatly benefficial and appreciated by us techies! ๐Ÿ™‚

  284. Jackson says:

    YAY!  And a big thanks to MagicDisc for giving us an option prior to Windows 8   ๐Ÿ™‚

  285. Chris says:

    Am I the only one who wants to be able to expand a VHD without having to make a copy?

  286. This is one of the best features introduced in win8 so far

  287. Gandalf50 says:

    Two more long overdue additions. I can finally say goodbye to virtual clone.  But as others have said, go all the way with this and build into explorer the ability to create iso's similar to how you added built in zipping. Expecting your average user to be using  Oscdimg command line interface is kind of silly.

  288. neeraj shukla says:

    this features are provided by linux already and is the fast and stable os . Why do you need bogus windows?

  289. Michael says:

    Please make any special ISO and VHD handling optional. I want to be able to turn special handling off. In Windows XP we were able to disable ZIP browsing, but Vista and 7 required hacks to disable it. I just want some checkboxes that enable or disable the feature!

  290. Myst says:

    You guys amazing!

    You talking about usual functionality in OS with a great proud and self-advertisement.

    Why you didn't made such OS functionality  10 years ago?

    Meanwhile Linux/Unix is able to operate with ISO's from it's begining.

    Actually these good news is disappointing thing.

  291. magmar212 says:

    creo que windows 8 sera un fracaso como el vista

  292. Rikko says:

    OMG! This piece of news rocks!

    This is a great and needed feature!

    No more need to install extra-programs that slowdown your system.

    Wonderful ๐Ÿ˜€

  293. Karolis says:

    Hey there! Good to know you're improving your very new "cool" OS 8.

    And this new ISO file mounting idea is soooooo cool. When i saw it on a Mac like 5 years ago it seemed so awesome. I bet you're only copying all that work that was done by Apple and Linux community :), Friends, are you?

    Oh! And UI is finally looking better. But not that much better. Well done.

    Looks very promising. Windows 7 was promising too.

    I have read some comments about "Ribbons" (still wonder what is that). So i just wanted to look at it. But there was nothing to look at. Really nothing.

    Hope you all are doing fine.

    Will try to avoid "your products" as much as possible.


  294. Hi!

    Mounting an ISO or VHD files in W8 is a great feature!

    It would be great to include OSCDIMG tool from widnows AIK as a native support on RIBON and create ISO files without CMD.

    Stay on good track!

  295. Please include "Create ISO" ability  (similar to compress ZIP file)  in ribbon please… The ISO context in the ribbon has just two features only… I need more….

    We don't like the OSCDIMG tool (creating ISO) from Microsoft… It's so complicated with command and all that….This feature should be built in, native and as simple as the beginner user can use that too.

    Don't be half way

  296. Michael says:

    Some of the useful feature Microsoft should have added them long time ago.

    These features have been in other O/S for quite some time.

  297. One of the anonymous masses says:

    About f@#king time!

    You release lots ot SHITE that no one uses or wants in Windows Vista (Shudder…) or Windows 7!

    Yet you don't support ISO mount capability. A feature that has been requested so many times, so long ago.

    How hard can it be???


    Especially as Microsoft releases so much software as  ISO images.


    How about releasing this functionality in Windows 7 as a Service Pack or at least a utility

    Or will this be your reason that everyone should upgrade to Windows 8…

    "To get a feature that has been requested for a decade…"


  298. Tim says:

    Just like ZIP functionality added in XP, this too will be half-baked.  

    If you realize the idea is great, but give developers the room to expand on your protocol, then you could let additional formats be supported by addon's (ie. .bin, .mds) .  ZIP support in XP didnt make redundant a need for a zip tool, because a whole range of other formats need that same accessibility too which can not be natively supported by the operating system.

    Why cant you see limiting functionality in implementation only makes your operating system stand out worse then when it didnt natively support it at all.

    Implement it with foresight of giving an API to developers to add extentions to it;  you might find the community drives the functionality and value of Windows further than your closed implementation did.


  299. inthehouse says:

    Finaly you put it in TX… dont wanna user 3rd party stuff anymore..

  300. Ed says:

    Oh, and I love where it's going. Just so that it doesn't look like a total troll post.

  301. Bernd says:

    Cool sutff … go ahead and give us more of that

  302. pkn2011 says:

    Good idea for sure! Great work once again Microsoft! ๐Ÿ™‚

  303. kaustubha bhilare says:

    How about native support for WIM files?

    Microsoft's own WIM image or .IMG files

    also add ability to create edit save the WIM ISO VHD IMG files by default and the archive files that are not having copyright issues

  304. Arun says:

    Is it possible to startup the linux operating system ISO file without any using third party virtualization software?

  305. Alex says:

    Really cool. However, I hope that you make the process of creating an ISO image much more easier. Just a click through Windows Explorer. Thanks.

  306. Hans Wurst says:

    I agree with all the comments on how double-click needs to open these, just like it opens everything else.

    (I usually don't post repetitions like this, but from some of your comments I take it that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so I want to make sure this squeak is heard.)

  307. Which formats are supported? IMG and ISO? Does the SDK include a way to write own handlers for other file type (ZIP, 7z, MDS)?

    Does mounting a ISO over the network works?


  308. Oskar says:

    Can you add a developer user interface:


    select isodisk file=c:windows8.iso

    attach isodisk

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