What does ISO come from? It comes from ISO 9660, which is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization and it defines a file system for CD/DVD media. Its scope is to support different operation systems such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, etc.
DVDs may also use the ISO 9660 file system although the UDF (Universal Disk Format) file system is common among this type of media. 1999 is the latest update to the ISO 9660 standard.
If you're looking for an ISO image file processing tool and make the "mistake" to browse the Internet, you will be surprised by how many softwares are out there. But just some of them really deserve your attention.
One much appreciated software of this type is PowerISO. The software is a shareware from PowerISO Computing Inc that costs $29.95. The only limitation I could find was that it cannot save files larger than 300MB.
The easy to use interface is not crowded by all sorts of buttons and menus. They kept clean and simple so that every user can enjoy the utility of the software.
The interface is composed of three parts: Main Window, PowerISO Virtual Drive Manager and the Shell Integration.
What is it that you can do with PowerISO? In the producer description it says that "PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD image file processing tool, which allows you to open, extract, create, edit, compress, encrypt, split and convert ISO files, and mount these files with internal virtual drive. It can process almost all CD-ROM image files including ISO and BIN."
We're going to concentrate on the main program as the virtual drive manager has the common functions of all mounting softwares (sets number of drives - up to 8, mounts/unmounts images and drives).
The application window is made up of somehow usual elements: menu bar, operation bar, explorer bar, properties bar, etc. In the menu bar there are the File, View, Action, Tools, Options and Help menus. Almost all major options in here can be accessed from the toolbar below; except for the boot and convert options that are to be found in the Action and Tools menus respectively.
The Boot option allows the user to create bootable image files. Just add the bootable information from a file or a floppy drive and click save to write the file onto your hard disc. The boot image file has the extension .bif.
The toolbar provides the necessary options for creating, extracting, compressing, burning and mounting image files. The software can convert the following image files: ISO, BIN/CUE and DAA (Direct Access Archive - supports password protection, compression and splitting to multiple volumes).
The user can use the explorer bar in order to browse the image file with the least effort. The functionality of this bar is pretty high as it allows you to move inside the image file, select the file viewing options (list, details, icons).
The Properties bar located at the bottom of the application window has the attribute of displaying the file properties and capacity. Double-click it and the dialog will pop up. Here the user can label the image file, choose the CD/DVD file system (ISO 9660, Joliet or UDF), choose the ISO 9660 file name (DOS, Standard or Long) and the Joliet filename (Standard or Long).
In more labels options (to the right of Label field) the user will be able to complete the fields with more IDs of the file, like volume set, publisher, data preparer, application, copyright, etc.
The burning option is extremely useful as you no longer need additional software to do the image writing. If the file you "sentenced" to burning is not an ISO, then the software will ask you for the permission to convert it. Only then the user can proceed to its writing.
The burning parameters are easy to configure. All you have to do is to select the burning drive, the writing speed and method (TAO - Track at Once - or SAO - Session at Once).
The supported image formats of PowerISO are .iso, .daa, .bin, .cue, .mdf, .mds, .p01, .pdi, .ncd, .nrg, .bwi, .b5i, .lcd, .img, .cdi, .cif, .pxi, .gi, .fcd, .vcd, c2v, meaning almost all image files.The Good
The software is extremely easy to use and you don't need the Help file even if it is your first use of such programs. It does a lot of jobs for which usually you need three different softwares.The Bad
The software can open more than twenty image file formats but save only in three of them (DAA, ISO and BIN).
I can't think of anything else bad about it right now, so I'll say something about the price. It is as expensive as other softwares that do the same thing, but those open more image formats and also save in more than three formats.The Truth
I do not know how often I use other image formats besides ISO and BIN, but I think that the users generally want it all; not necessarily because they will use those options, but the thought that they can use certain image formats if they want to is pretty comfortable.
Keeping in mind that the software "weighs" almost 800KB, and that it supports DAA files, the application is quite useful and you should give it a try; it mounts images, creates image files, writes the on CD or DVD and extracts the images. The maximum number of virtual drives it can mount to is 8; I think they are more than enough.Here are some snapshots of the application in action: