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How To Read ISO Image File In Linux

Windows OS doesn’t build in file system to access CD image file, not even the latest Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows Server 2008. Although, there is plenty of Windows freeware that function as CD drive emulator or CD image file reader.

That’s Windows. How about Linux? Do you have to install CD drive emulator or CD image file reader? Where could you get one of them?

Well, you don’t have to look for any Linux software if you simply want to mount and read ISO image file!

Linux build in loopback device that allows user to easily mount and access CD image files. No complicated installation or configuration is required to use the loopback device.

How to mount an CD image file (ISO format) in Linux?
  1. Login with root user ID
  2. Create a directory to serve as mount point. You may also skip the directory creation by using default directory that created during Linux installation (e.g. /media/cdrom or /mnt/cdrom in some Red Hat Linux editions). Whichever way, make sure the directory mount point is on a Linux file system that has sufficient free disk space for the size of ISO image file. [ My mistake. The Linux mount point doesn’t take up space but the CD ISO image is. For example, if the root filesystem left only 100MB free disk space, the /media/cdrom that resides in root filesystem is able to mount a 650MB CD image that kept in /tmp filesystem. ]
  3. Suppose you want to mount /ISO/rhel4-cd1.iso image file to /media/cdrom directory mount point, execute this mount command
    mount -o loop -t iso9660 /ISO/rhel4-cd1.iso /media/cdrom
  4. Now, you can read / access the CD image file that is mounted to /media/cdrom directory, as if you’re accessing the physical CD-ROM loaded into hardware drive.
  5. To un-mount the loaded CD image file, simply execute umount /media/cdrom or eject /media/cdrom command will do.

Isn’t it the Linux loopback device rocks? This method allows Linux users to easily accessing CD image files at the speed of hard disk access time (which is so much faster than any optical disk drives in the market, even the current Blue-ray technology can’t compete with a SATA hard disk drive in term of access time)!

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