Mount an ISO image - how and why

Instead of using that rewritable CD/DVD for the 25th time just to burn an installation CD of some Windows software that you are trying to install into your WINE system you can just simply mount that ISO image file and use it off of your hard drive. It's not even that hard, just a few command lines in your favorite shell.

# mount -o loop noNeedForBurning.iso /mnt/cdrom

And now you can read the contents of the ISO file by listing the /mnt/cdrom directory.

# ls -al /mnt/cdrom

There is one gotcha though, you will not be able to write to /mnt/cdrom because the system is always read only. If you want to modify the content of the ISO image from the shell you will have to copy the entire structure somewhere else, modify the contents and then create a new ISO image or use the isomaster package that will give you a GUI solution for ISO editing. This can be achieved using mkisofs package which is available as a package in my distribution of Linux - Debian.

# cp -R /mnt/cdrom /tmp
# cp /tmp/cdrom
# mkisofs -o vacation.iso /tmp/cdrom

You also need to pay attention to the fact that the above mkisofs command creates an ISO compliant file system with standard DOS filenames. If you need to preserve some of the non DOS compliant filenames you might find what you need in the following table.

Option Meaning and Action ISO9660 Compliance
-L allow dot files ISO9660 violation
-d omit trailing period from files ISO9660 violation
  that do not have a period  
-l allow full 31 character filenames  
-allow-lowercase allow lower case filenames ISO9660 violation
-allow-multidot allow more than one dot in filenames ISO9660 violation
-N omit version number in filenames ISO9660 violation


For those of you that are more GUI oriented you should checkout the ISO Master (commercial) and AcetoneISO (free software).

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