The ISO Toolkit is a great little freeware program that allows you to do nearly anything you want with disk images, including creating ISO images, copying ISO image from CD/DVD, converting ISO, NRG, CUE images, extracting content of ISO, NRG, BIN and CUE images, mounting ISO, NRG, BIN and CUE images and burning ISO image files in Windows Explorer.
The ISO Toolkit is absolutely packed with features, options, and abilities. In fact, it has so many of each that I would venture to say that it could very well be the last ISO program you need, at least for quite some time.
It’s always possible (maybe even probable!) that the world of ISO manipulation will change and grow in ways that can’t be adapted to by the ISO Toolkit but for the moment it is definitely a great package that will handle just about every need you have in regards to ISO files.
So what is an ISO? Well, essentially, an ISO file is an ‘image’ of a disc. An ISO is a single file on your hard drive (or even another disc) that convinces the computer that it is a disc or some other kind of removable media. Think of it as a faux disc or a phantom disc. It contains all the same information as the physical disc that it came from, but it is in completely digital format. This has a number of advantages.
For one thing, ISOs can be used as backup files in case your original disc gets damaged or lost. Another great use of ISO files is to avoid having to open and close your optical drive every ten minutes if you are switching between discs on a regular basis. Using ISO files saves space as well as money because you can run thirteen different ISO files at one time, or more, but you can only run as many physical discs as you have physical drives to put them in. Since ISO files are pseudo-discs, you can also make bootable ISO files and keep them on a thumb drive or other portable device instead of carrying the disc around. A great example of this kind of consolidation using ISO files is what I call my “Emergency Disc Collection” which is just what it sounds like. When I first began getting into the repair of PCs, I had a huge ‘book’ of CDs and DVDs that contained all my emergency computer tools on them. I had probably somewhere close to thirty discs in that book and it was a pain in the neck to carry around, sometimes literally! Putting all of those discs, in ISO format, onto a small usb flash drive saves tons of space as well as removing the worry that I would lose the discs themselves.
The ISO Toolkit can handle almost any job you have, concerning those disc images. It can copy ISOs from one location to another. It can burn those ISOs into perfect ‘replicas’ of the original disc. The ISO Toolkit can create those all important boot-discs in ISO format for you, too. You can extract individual files and their subfolders from ISO files without damaging the ISO. It almost seems as if there’s no end to it’s applications! The ISO Toolkit has support for most popular disc image formats, including ISO, NRG, CUE, and BIN files. It will let you convert from one format to another as well. One of the nicest, and newest, features of the Toolkit is that it will now ‘mount’ and access those image files just as if it were a real optical drive. This particular function used to be limited to programs like Daemon Tools or ISOMagic, that were specifically designed for that sole purpose and later grew other options around it. Of course, one of the absolutely most valuable things about the ISO Toolkit is that is is a self-contained, portable program. This means that there is no need to install it on any computer you want to use it on. You can keep it on a flash or thumb drive, along with all those ISO files that are important to you, and never have to worry about whether you have those important files again, not to mention the easy access to them.
Overall, I found the ISO Toolkit to be an excellent bit of freeware and it was a pleasure to use. I will be keeping it handy for most of my ISO needs in the future and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone else who has need of a comprehensive ISO solution at no cost. Until next time, my friends!
Get the ISO Toolkit for free here (Windows All).