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(?) exe to iso files

From Drakonian76

Answered By Mike Orr, Don Marti, Heather Stern, Jay R. Ashworth

(?) sry to bother you but i stumbled upon your site while looking for this answer

how can i change an exe file to an iso file? It is not for me my friend put the job on to me to find this answer and after hours of searching i decided to ask you. If you have any helpful information on this i would greatly appreciate it.

again thank you for your time

(!) [Mike] I hope you're on a Linux system since you asked your question to a Linux forum. Our new submission address is to emphasize this fact; "answerguy" at is obsolete and is read only occasionally.
I assume your friend wants to burn his program onto a CD-ROM, since "ISO" is often used as an abbreviation for ISO-9660, the filesystem type used on CD-ROMs. (ISO ( actually stands for International Standards Organization -- or "International Organization for Standardization" as they call themselves -- an organization that publishes specifications not only for CD-ROMs but also for film speeds and lots of other stuff.)
.exe is a file format, specifically the DOS/Windows executable format.
(!) [Don] Some .exe files are "self-extracting archives" which are basically a small MS-DOS PKZIP extractor and a PKZIP (".zip") file packaged together as one file. Under MS-DOS or compatible environments, you can run the .exe file to extract the contents of the zip file.
Under Linux, the "unzip" utility can extract the contents of the .exe file's PKZIP archive while ignoring the MS-DOS program. See man unzip.
If you don't have an unzip program on your Linux system, install your distribution's zip package or see:
If your .exe is in fact a self-extracting archive, it would be convenient to extract the contents before turning them into an .iso file for burning to CDROM.
(!) [Mike] (Linux uses an executable format called ELF, but does not use a filename extension to distinguish those files.) ISO is not a file format in that sense, it's a filesystem type. A filesystem is what's on your hard drive partition, what allows it to contain files and directories. ext2 is Linux's standard filesystem type, FAT-32 and NTFS are the current Windows filesystem types. ISO-9660, sometimes abbreviated to "ISO", is the filesystem type used on CD-ROMs.
However, it is possible to put an entire ISO-9660 filesystem (or any filesystem) into a regular file. If you mount that file (using mount's "loop" option; see "man mount" and "man losetup"), you will see all the files and directories on it, just like if you'd mounted a CD-ROM. This ISO filesystem-in-a-file is sometimes called an "iso" file and may have the extension .iso . Certain Linux distributions use this convention to make ready-to-burn CD images available via FTP.
In fact, this creating an ISO-9660 filesystem is a necessary step before a data CD can be burned. Sometimes the program stores it temporarily in a regular file, and sometimes it uses other tricks to avoid creating the temporary file (which is up to 700 MB).
To write a CD under Linux, see the CD-Writing HOWTO at . You can also use one of the GUI front ends such as KDE's KOnCD).
(!) [Heather] And if you're trying to write a Linux or otherwise generated ISO under Windows, you can see "Best of ISO Burning Under Windows" - Issue 68, 11th TAG article:
(!) [jra] Interestingly enough, I discovered, apparently El Torito bootability is a feature of the image -- I burned those Linux BBC's from a bare ISO, no command switches to tell the Windows burner to make it bootable, and it Just Worked.
I hadn't realized that it was (in Linux terms) mkisofs, not cdrecord, that did that work.

Copyright © 2002
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Published in Issue 82 of Linux Gazette, September 2002

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