The most recent Building Windows 8 blog post describes how the new operating system can mount and work with files stored in VHD and ISO files natively.
For those people who are unfamiliar with these files, ISO files are saved images of DVDs or CDs that can be stored on a computer’s hard disk drive so that it can be burned to a disk. Most install disks, including Linux and Windows, come in the ISO format. In Windows 7, users can burn ISO files natively, but they still have to install a third-party program to mount them to a disk drive. ISO mounting in the new operating system will replace those third-party software and the system will assign a drive letter to an optical drive.
VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) files are very similar to ISO files, except that they save the contents of an entire HDD. Virtual machines, which are created using software like VMWare, Virtual PC and VirtualBox use VHD to store a whole bootable operating system without a physical disk. Unlike ISOs, users can update, remove and add files in the VHD files.
“The trend of incredibly large and small form-factor hard disks means we can store ever increasing amounts of data without worrying about running out of capacity,” wrote Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division at Microsoft, in a blog post. “Windows 8 enables easy access to the contents of two important storage formats, ISO and VHD files. While we generally think of these formats when they appear on media, they are also very useful as files within a file system and that is where native support in Explorer comes in handy.”
This is not ground-breaking technology, but it is nice to see that Microsoft is cleaning up its OS, and it is always appreciated when new features eliminate the need for third-party software.
via: Building Windows 8