Some downloads from the internet have an ISO extension. These are CD or DVD image files. You can't read the contents of these files directly. Instead, you have to burn them to a CD or DVD disc, which you can then read in order to look at the files within the ISO image.
Typically, operating systems such as Linux are packaged as ISO files, as are some downloads from Microsoft. To install the product you have to burn it to a disc first. Also, some items that you might have downloaded from web sites are, again, ISO images, because they were originally available as a disc and the ISO format allows the precise disc layout to be preserved.
If you have an ISO file and you want to examine its contents without burning it to a CD or DVD, help is at hand. A free Windows utility called ISO Opener is all you need. It works like a standard unzip program, extracting the contents of the ISO image so you end up with a collection of standard, recognisable files that you can then deal with as you please.
ISO Opener is available from www.isoopener.com and is free of charge. It's less than 1 MB to download, runs on all recent versions of Windows (I used 8.0 for my tests), and is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust. Definitely one for the toolbox.
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