Pismo File Mount: mount ZIP and ISO files as virtual drives


Pismo File Mount is a free program that makes it possible to mount compressed archives, ISO CD/DVD image files, and its own custom encrypted private folder files as virtual drives that can be accessed freely through the Windows file system. Provide context menu integration for mounting/dismounting volumes quickly and easily.

This is an interesting app that allows for mounting compressed archives as (well as ISO files, open-format CFS files, and private folders) as virtual drives.

This means that instead of unzipping or extracting a zip archive you could simply mount it as a virtual drive (with its own letter drive number) to access the files within it.

The idea of mounting compressed archives has a certain appeal to me (as compared to the ’messiness’ of decompressing an archive, with its inherent duplication of files, that have to be deleted later on). However, to be honest the practical benefits/application of mounting ZIP files are not very obvious, especially as the mounted volumes are not writable for most supported file types (aside from the private folders which Pismo can create).

Nonetheless here is a list of practical scenarios where this could be useful:

  • Working with files within archives: you can view, say, media files, images or other filetypes that are compressed into zip archives without unzipping them. Simply mount the ZIP file and view the files on the virtual drive. Unmount when you’re done; no decompressing or file deletion afterwards needed.
  • Using system-wide tools on archived files: if for example you would like the files in as ZIP archive to be subjected to file-system-wide tools such as desktop search or file de-duping software. Simply mount these archives as virtual drives and you will be on your way.
  • Installing software: can be useful if you would like to install zipped software without decompressing then cleaning up. Simply mount the zip file, install, then unmount. No need for decompressed folders cluttering your working space.

More info on this program

  • How it works: right-click on a supported archive (e.g. a ZIP file) and you will find (self explanatory) “Mount” and “Unmount” options in the context menu -see screenshot above.
  • Encrypted folders: can create (writable) encrypted private folders that are mounted to a virtual drive and accessed through a password.
  • Supported filetypes: ZIP, ISO, CFS (read), as well as writable “private folders” (see above).
  • Mapping drives: you can map drives to a letter, which requires admin privileges or mount the volume as a single-owner volume without a drive letter. In the case of the former, you can choose a particular drive letter or have Pismo auto choose one for you.
  • Self mounting archives: for distribution can be created using the Ptiso command line utility (for Windows and Linux).
  • Memory use: approx 12 megs in memory when a volume is mounted; does not seem to stay in memory otherwise.

Wish list:

  • Write as well as read: it seems to me that this could be implemented (many archive/compression programs allow for moving a file into the zipped archive to add to it’s contents – e.g. the excellent free TugZip). This feature would make this program significantly better.

The verdict: this is a very interesting and innovative program, although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are currently using another program to mount ISO files to virtual drives then you might want to consider using this one instead for the additional functionality that it provides (including quick archive encryption). Also if you have a lot of files stored in compressed archives this program can present a tremendous value-added potential for you. The bottom line is – I really like it!

[Thanks Brockman for tipping me off about this one].

Version Tested: release Jun 20 2008

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008. Supports both 32bit and 64 bit systems.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (you will need to download the so called “Audit Package”, approx 981K).

  • CT


    I’m imagining a Zip file full of MP3’s or Photos, as well as simply ‘Zipping’ an Entire Directory (with subdirectories) of Portable ‘Stand-Alone’ Programs – Hell, you could Zip ALL of your ‘Portable Apps’ or ‘Portable Tools’ into ONE File, and just ‘Mount’ them to use them!

    Wow, Brockman and Samer, this ROCKS!
    Kind of a substitute for TrueCrypt, DaemonTools, and then some!

    If this is, or could be made, ‘Portable’ (I’m still experimenting), it could [partially] revolutionize the computer filing system.

    Nice Find, as always, THANKS!

  • Fred Thompson

    Holy COW!!!! This is a replacement for WinMount. Fantastic!

    Mounting ZIPs as virtual discs is incredibly helpful, especially for information you want to have available and is quite stable. In my case, I save the full installation packages for all loaded software on the computer, old tax records, etc. Converting them to ZIP makes them small and far better for defragmenting. JKDefrag’s setting to move large file to the end will benefit greatly. ZIP as a mountable disc FOR FREE is a wonederful find. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Fred Thompson

    It does NOT appear to support autorun inside a ZIP. Also, it would be really nice if default settings could be set and the right-click mount was more simple. Why are the default drive and access set to null? Very odd. Close but not a proper mounting method.

  • Brian

    Are you sure it doesn’t extract info to a temp location? Is it not the same as opening an archive and accessing the files from a 7zip/jzip/etc window?

  • phil

    Without knowing more about the encryption implementation, I’d hesitate to call this a “replacement” for TrueCrypt. However, this does appear to be a very useful utility.

  • Farhang  

    anything this good for mac?

  • Idea is interesting (and long implemented in WinMount mentioned above).

    But archives are called archives… Well cause they are archives. 🙂 It’s inefficient to work with something created for compression and rare access as with normal directory.

    If something is needed often there is no reason to archive it. If something is needed rarely and archived there is no need to keep extra program to access it.

    My opinion is that it breaks common sense.

    PS for portables self-extracting and self-running archives are much better idea.

  • Wandering

    I know it has nothing to do with this program, but for the last week, when I visit your site, my screen is taken over by your misguided request for a survey. I don’t check anything on these things, EVER.

    Since it has persisted so long, I am removing this site from my favorites list.


  • Samer

    I don’t get it. If you trust this site enough to bookmark it, what makes you think you cannot trust the survey? Jeesh! Ever considered actually taking part?

    Oh and btw the survey is desiged to let me know whether or not the site is satisfying my audience.

    As for removing freewaregenius off the favorites list, well thats up to you. Your visiting or not visiting is the same to me.

  • Carl

    @ Wandering

    It’s good that you are removing this site since you obviously contribute nothing and are merely wasting this site’s bandwidth. Goodbye!

  • Xenio

    I can’t Install it, I get this error.

    This program requires the Pismo File Mount system extension. This extension is included with the “Pismo File Mount Audit Package” available for free download from http://www.pismotechnic.com

    but the Audit Package is what I am trying to install… the file is pfmap-045.exe
    I don’t get it.

  • FredThompson

    @Xenio, you have confused yourself somehow. Install pfmap-045.exe

  • Peter

    “Your visiting or not visiting is the same to me.” – Yeah that attitude certainly makes me want to come back to this site.

    Publicly stating that you really don’t give a sh*# about the site’s visitors probably isn’t a good idea.

  • Xenio

    @FredThompson, I have the answer from the support and looks like a conflict with something in my configuration. There will be a new release soon.

  • Silversleeves


    I’m a longtime Mac user, and I know that OS X’s Disk Utility (free- comes with the operating system: see path Applications>Utilities>DiskUtility) mounts ISO images for read-only use. As for .zips and other archives, there’s Pacifist — a graphical frontend for the command-line tool pax (and a few others added on for good measure). Pacifist is shareware but cheap. The latter works OK in OS X 10.3 Jaguar and later versions, and DiskUtility was introduced with OS X 10.1.

    Hope this helps.

    15 years on a Mac, 9 as a power user, 5 in OS X.

  • Joe

    @Brian, @Rarst

    PFMAP does not pre-extract to a secret temp file/folder or ram drive (ala WinMount). Data for files opened inside mounted ZIP and ISO files comes straight from the ZIP or ISO. No modifications are made to the users hard drive when ISO/ZIP/PFO files are mounted.


    Truecrypt is a great tool. I would not claim PFMAP is a replacement, but for some usage models it is better suited and more convenient.

    From the PFMAP readme “Private Folder utilizes AES encryption and PKCS5v2 key generation”. Only peer review of the PFO format can insure the secure algorithms are being used in a secure way. Anyone interested in reviewing the security could start with the CISO specification available on the Pismo Technic site, it uses the same algorithms and was designed by the same team. Beyond that the format specification for PFO would need to be requested and reviewed.

  • RDTK

    hey guys, I am looking for some advice, I am very cautious now when trying out ways of mounting iso files to a virtual drive, I find that many of these programs cause a bluescreen in vista, an OS which tends to get upset at unsigned drivers or software that resembles them, can anyone tell me whether this prismo works well in vista, or if there is another option i should try?

  • kriss

    take a look at dos command subst… oO

  • MSAIED224


  • Anonymous

    funny: build 048 refused to install on XP SP3, but 047 did in a flinch. Now my old PowerISO is history. Thanks again, Samer.
    BTW, did you pay your bills? (LOL) Man, I saw what happened to you, and I felt sorry for you, too.
    Keep it up, man, you’re doing us a great service to search, test and give us your feedback on what’s what around the plethora of this and that…

  • jfjb

    the anonymous above, it was me…
    Yep, not enough coffee around me at 1AM.

    P.S. Submitting greys the box an doesn’t update the page for me, i had to reload the site and come back her to see the posting.
    What about the CATCHA code ‘below’ the Submit button? Is it part of validating the entry or… what?

  • Joe


    Build 047 includes a fix (more of a workaround) for systems with lots of 3rd party drivers installed that have consumed all of the “process notification” resources in the kernel. In build 048 this fix was inadvertently disabled, but it will be back in the next build. The main difference between builds 047 and 048 is the GUIs for CFS/ISO/CISO/SMX creation.

    You could “mount” the build 048 install package and copy out the newer pt*.exe utilities. They work without any installation.

    Or you could uninstall some of the 3rd party firewall, backup, scanning, software that you are no longer using. One particular culprit was the TrueImage products that leave multiple drivers behind after uninstall, each using up limited kernel resources.

  • jfjb


    Thanks for the tip.

    I found build 047 working, had installed only the ptiso.exe in the PISMO folder.

    Search did not retrieve any other pt*.exe on my system.
    Could Comodo firewall, Avast! AV, SpyBlaster, Adaware, SpyBot, Canon scanner or Emerge shell fill my computer process notification ressources?
    Is there a way to check what’s what? I “cClean” my sustem Zen: no old drivers and apps leftovers. I use mostly GPL and small algorithm applications. Nothing too fancy, for me.
    Anyway, thanks again.

  • colorzone

    I think WinMount is another soft for mounting zip, and it can do more, mount rar, mount vhd vdi vmdk, and also the virtual drive is writable. wowowowowowowow

  • colorzone

    I recommend another great tool, It can do what pismo do, also it can do what pismo couldn’t do.

    Winmount(www.winmount.com) is a powerful windows utility which is dedicated to managing files and disks impressively and conveniently. WinMount supports compressing files to MOU RAR ZIP 7Z, decompressing and browsing MOU ZIP RAR CAB ARJ ISO GZ BZ2 TAR WIM files.

    WinMount can mount MOU RAR ZIP to a virtual disk or a local folder, which enabling you to use the files inside directly without extraction, saves your time and disk space dramatically.

    WinMount is also an image tool, supports mounting ISO ISZ BIN MDS/MDF NRG IMG CCD CUE to virtual DVD-ROM, supports mounting FLAC, APE, WV, WAVE to virtual CD-ROM, supports mounting VHD, VDI, VMDK, WMT, Microsoft WIM, and folder as a HDD virtual disk.

  • max

    hey how can i delete a private folder that was made by pismo software?