Windows 8 To Have Native ISO And VHD Support

According to the Building Windows 8 (B8) blog on the MSDN, a long overdue feature will be added to the up and coming Windows 8. It will have native ISO and VHD support that will allow the user on-the-fly access to data stored in files made in these formats. Microsoft’s Rajeev Nagar explained it in a post on the B8 blog.
Rajeev Nagar is a principal group program manager for Microsoft and in the post he explains how the ISO and VHD file access will work for users on Windows 8.
Before this development, ISO files were not natively supported within the Windows environment. Unlike zip files, you needed to install 3rd party software in order to create a virtual drive that would then accept ISO files as virtual disks for the virtual drive. With the new native support for these files, users can mount and unmount drives on the fly without having to restart or log out.
In Windows 8, users can select an ISO file and the option to mount will become available on the new Ribbon UI of the Explorer. Clicking it will mount the ISO in to a new drive. The right-click contextual menu will also have an option for mounting the ISO file. Once mounted, the new virtual drive will have it’s own drive letter and will behave just like a regular physical drive. You can then access the data like you would do on a CD or DVD drive.
VHD files act more or less the same way. This format (Virtual Hard Disk) is useful for system portability and storing snapshots of an entire system in to one of these files. Once created these files can then be read back on another system to access the information that is stored in them. To mount a VHD file in Windows 8, just click on it and them click on the mount button on the Ribbon UI. Alternatively, you will be able to right-click on it and the contextual menu will have a ‘mount’ option on it as well. It will mount on a new virtual drive that will be created on the fly with a new drive letter. After this, it will behave like a normal, physical hard drive.
Both ISO and VHD formats are popular for transporting and sharing full disk images without risking data corruption during copy and transfer. ISO’s are especially good for transporting information that is meant to be burned to the disk in a specific way.