16 November 2010

Extract Files From ISO Images Without Additional Software

I decided to write reports for SQL Reporting Services.  They are fast, look great, and are oh-so-easy to access via the Web interface.  However, I discovered that Visual Studio versions must be paired to the SQL Server version.  I needed to install Visual Studio 2005, but had only the .ISO CD-ROM image available, and was unable to install software to extract the files.

SQL ServerVisual Studio
SQL Server 2005Visual Studio 2005
SQL Server 2008Visual Studio 2008
SQL Server 2008 SR2Visual Studio 2010
SQL Server code name "Denali"
*Visual Studio 2008 is also compatible with SQL Server 2008 SR2.

The product supports only SQL Server 2005 (*sigh*), so I dutifully downloaded the VS 2005 installer from my MSDN subscription.  The downloaded file is a .ISO file, which is an optical media image.  Not wanting to burn a DVD (*sigh, again*), and otherwise being incapable of writing optical media on my office workstations, I naturally decided to extract files from the .ISO disc image file.  ISOs are, after all, simply a type of archive (.ZIP, .TAR, etc.).

All versions of Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 have a Windows XP Mode Virtual PC support built in.  Every license of Vista and 7 include a virtual Windows XP machine.  All virtual machine software allows for mounting ISO files in the virtual machine optical drive, instead of mapping to the physical optical drive of the host machine.  Once mounted, the contents of the ISO file may be browsed, as on physical optical media.

How to Use Virtual PC to Extract Files from ISO Files

  1. Launch the Windows XP Mode Virtual PC, or any other virtual machine.
  2. Using Microsoft Virtual PC (it's free!), simply change the CD-ROM settings of the virtual machine, to use the desired ISO file.  This may be done, while the virtual machine is running.  The image, below, illustrates the setting used to mount the downloaded VS 2005 installer.

  3. Launch Windows Explorer, on the virtual PC
  4. All disk drives of the host (physical) machine are automatically mapped to the virtual machine as netowrk drives, by default. Expand the directory folders in the tree menu, by clicking the [+] icons, until the desired destination directory is visible.

  5. Select the optical drive (CD, DVD, or BluRay) in the tree menu.  You will see files appear in the right window pane.  If the auto-play feature is enabled on the virtual machine, a program may be automatically launched:
    1. Close the launched application
    2. Right-click the optical drive in Windows Explorer.  The context menu appears
    3. Click the Explore menu item, in the context menu
  6. Select the file(s) you wish to extract from the ISO image, in the right window pane
  7. Using the mouse pointer, drag the selected files onto the destination folder, in the tree menu
  8. When the mouse button is released, the selected files are copied to the destination directory.  If this directory is on the host machine, no virtual disk space will be used on the virtual machine; because, the ISO image resides on the host, and files are simply being routed through the virtual machine.

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