I recently
received an email message from a reader who had installed Windows XP in a
Client Hyper-V virtual machine on a Windows 8 desktop machine and now wanted to
do the same on her tablet PC running Windows 8. However, the tablet did not
have an optical disc drive and she wondered what would be the best way to solve
the problem.

As you know, one
of the new features in Windows 8 is the ability to natively open and view ISO
and VHD files right from File Explorer. I showed you the VHD feature in a
recent article, Restore individual files from a System Image in Windows 8, but I have not really examined the ISO
process in any detail; however, it is just as slick and will solve half of the
problem. The other half of the problem can also be solved by using a simple
third-party tool called ISO Recorder.

Thus, I told the
reader that she could create an ISO file of her Windows XP CD, copy that ISO
file to the tablet, and then use it to install XP in a Client Hyper-V virtual

In this article,
I’ll show you how to use ISO Recorder to create an ISO. As I do, I’ll show you
how Windows 8’s native ISO reader works.

article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Getting ISO Recorder

ISO Recorder is a
simple Power Tool-like utility created by Alex Feinman for Windows 7 that works
perfectly in Windows 8. It doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, but
does the job of creating ISO files very efficiently. In addition to creating an
ISO file from optical discs, ISO Recorder will allow you to create ISO files
from folders.

When you arrive
at the ISO Recorder download page, you’ll see that the Windows 7 edition of ISO Recorder is labeled version
3.1 and that there are downloads for both 32-bit ad 64-bit.

Once you download
the MSI installation file, just launch it and follow along with the ISO
Recorder Setup Wizard, shown in Figure A.

Figure A

The setup wizard will guide you through the steps
to install ISO Recorder.

Creating the ISO file

After ISO
Recorder is installed in Windows 8, insert your Windows XP CD into the optical
drive. When the toast appears in the upper right corner, click it and then
select the Take No Action choice, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Select the Take No Action choice.

Now, launch
Computer, right click on the optical disc drive and select the Create Image
from CD/DVD command that now appears on the context menu, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Select the Create Image from CD/DVD command on the
context menu.

In a moment,
you’ll see the opening screen of ISO Recorder showing the source and
destination. You can specify a different destination if you wish or just click
Next. Once the operation is under way, you’ll see a progress bar that will keep
you apprised of operation. This process is illustrated in Figure D.

Figure D

Creating an ISO file with ISO Recorder is a
straightforward procedure.

Mounting the ISO file

Once you have
created an ISO file, mounting it in Windows 8 is easy. To begin, launch File
Explorer, access the location, and then select the ISO file. When you do,
you’ll see the Disc Image Tools – Manage tab appear in File Explorer and will
select it. You’ll then select the Mount button, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Select the Mount
icon on the Disc Image Tools – Manage tab.

As soon as you
do, Windows 8 will mount the ISO file and assign it a drive letter. At this
point, you’ll essentially have a virtual optical disc drive and you’ll see the
contents from the Windows XP CD, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

When Windows 8
mounts an ISO file, it automatically assigns it a drive letter.

Dismounting an ISO file

When you are
finished using the ISO file you’ll dismount it using the
Eject command. To do so, launch Computer and select your virtual optical disc
drive. When you select the Disc Image Tools – Manage tab, you can just click
the Eject button, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G

You’ll use the
Eject button to dismount the ISO file.

What’s your take?

Are you planning
to create a Windows XP virtual machine in Windows 8 Client Hyper-V? If so, will
you use the technique shown in this article? As always, if you have comments or
information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the
TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.