An iso image is an uncompressed archive file that contains an ISO 9660 or UDF file system. These file systems define the format of data as it is recorded onto media such as CDs and DVDs.

So what are iso files good for? Here are a few ways that iso files can be used:

  • Create a backup of an existing CD or DVD media
  • Burn a replacement CD or DVD from a backed-up iso image
  • Create a CD or DVD from an iso that you downloaded
  • Mount the iso file directly to access the files as if they were on a disk

I primarily use iso files for distro releases. Every distro that I’ve worked with releases their files as iso images. Since I have a background of using Windows primarily, I had to learn how to deal with these iso images in Ubuntu.

Burning ISO Images

Fortunately, on a system running Gnome, such as Ubuntu, burning an iso image to a disk is extremely easy. These same instructions can be used to burn an iso file using any other distro that runs Gnome and Nautilus.

  1. Pop in a blank disk of the type required for the image. Images at or smaller than 700MB will fit on a CD, while larger images will need to be burned onto a DVD.
  2. Load Nautilus (Places > Home Folder) and navigate to where the iso file is located.
  3. Right-click the iso file and select “Write to Disk”.
  4. A dialog pops up letting you select which drive you’d like to write to and select write options such as speed.

That’s it. It’s extremely easy to burn an iso image using Nautilus on Gnome.

If you want to know more ways to use ISOs in Ubuntu, such as mounting the ISO to access the files without burning or creating your own ISO, please leave a comment and let me know what you’re interested in.

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