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Automatically Mount and View ISO files in Windows 7 Media Center

Do you have a hard drive full of ripped movies in ISO file format?  Are you looking for an easy way to play them in Windows Media Center? Today we show you how to configure Windows Media Center so you can automatically view those ISOs directly from the Movie Library.

First, download and install Virtual Clone Drive. It’s a free application that allows you to mount an ISO file so that it appears as a CD/DVD drive. The install process is very simple and you can just take the defaults.

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Next, download and install Mikinho Mount Image. This add-in allows for the ISO image files to be displayed and mounted automatically in Windows Media Center. This is also a very basic install and is available in 32 & 64 bit versions.

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If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to either copy your ISO files into your Media Center Movie Library, or add the folder containing your ISOs to the Movie Library. If you haven’t set up your movie library yet, make sure and check out our tutorial on adding folders to the movie library in Windows 7 Media Center.

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When you are ready to watch a movie, simply browse to the Movie Library and click on the ISO you wish to view.

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When you open an ISO file, you are presented with a “Please wait while mounting disc image…” message. The process will take several seconds. It may take a bit longer if another ISO file needs to be unmounted before mounting the new one.

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After the ISO is mounted, your movie will begin to play. Now just relax and enjoy the movie.

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When the movie is over you can eject the ISO image (which actually unmounts it from the virtual drive) just as you would with an actual physical DVD. You don’t have to, but it makes mounting the next ISO you want to watch load faster.

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These two apps work behind the scenes and it feels like the feature was built into Windows Media Center to begin with. There is nothing you need to setup or tweak, just install the two programs and you’re done. Of course with Virtual CloneDrive, you’ll get the extra benefit of having a virtual disc drive on your system for running other disc images.

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If you are looking for a simple, no hassle way to enjoy those ISOs in Windows 7 Media Center, then these simple apps will be a welcome addition to your Media Center setup.

Download Mikinho Mount Image

Download Virtual Clone Drive

Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.

  • Published 02/23/10

Comments (50)

  1. Willie Stylez

    Great tips! Will Mikinho work w/ other Virtual Drive apps? I like to use PowerISO and always have at least 2 virtual drives loaded w/ that.

  2. Jak

    Will this also work if I’m trying to watch the movie over a media center extender (like an xbox360)?

  3. VikingSven

    As WMC can’t grab cover art for the iso, is there any way to manually assign an image to each iso in the media browser, so I can find the movie cover myself?

  4. Enthusiast

    I am enjoying the coverage of Windows Media Center. For future Media Center articles, please let us know if soultion works with Extenders or not.
    Please keep up the good work.

  5. Mikinho

    To answer a full of the questions.

    1- It does work with other virtual drive apps but PowerISO isn’t one of them. I can add it though.

    2- Yes it works with Extenders if you combine it with my Extender Dvd “Transcode” add-in

    3- For metadata\artwork for ISOs you can use Yammm or any other popular metadata tool will support ISO

    Mount Image, Extender Dvd “Transcode” and Yammm are all free via my website.

  6. 64squares

    Another question. I ve got everything working but i cant figure out a way to play subtitles through xbox360 when playing iso’s. Besides that issue this was a great tutorial. Thanks

  7. horizonguy

    This doesn’t work for me – I have installed both Mikinho Mount Image and Deamon Tools Lite and
    I get as far as clicking the iso in Media Center and get the following error:

    “Cannot play video – Windows Media Center cannot find the specificed file. Be sure the path is typed correctly. If it is, the file does not exist at the specified location, or the computer where the file is stored is offline.”

    I get this error for any ISO I click on – my iso’s load via media libraries but none will play (all get same error). I am running Win7 Home Premium. Searches in the forum for this don’t come up with any results, help!

  8. DigitalGeekery

    @horizonguy – I’d highly recommend using Virtual Clone Drive instead of Daemon Tools. Personally, I’ve had a lot of issues with Daemon Tools. If memory serves, I couldn’t get Mikinho Mount Image to work properly w/ Daemon Tools either.

  9. Mikinho

    @horizonguy What @DigitalGeekery said. If you don’t have Daemon Tools setup to autostart with Windows I may not detect it properly. Give Virtual Clone Drive or a try, of Mount Image v1.6 now supports DVDFab Virtual Drive and it is very stable and fast.

  10. Otto

    I tried this method with daemon tools but when I hit play on media center my pc (serving the iso) will play the movie instead of the xbox.. I’m baffled please help.

  11. Todd

    Will this work with Vista ?

  12. Marc

    Mikinho,
    I was looking for some advice on getting my .ISO files to play on my XBOX 360. I am using an add-in (My Movies) with Windows Media Center that allows me to organize all of my movies and it imports artwork, movie info, etc. I do have to manually link the movies to the right file as I add them into the database, but everything on my list is visible when I go to My Movies in Windows Media Center. I have downloaded Mount Image and Extender DVD Transcode from your site hoping that I can get the files to work on my 360. Every media type works on my PC (Vista), but I can only get .WMV and .MPG files to work on the 360. Is there any way to get .ISO or .AVI files to play on my 360?
    Thanks!

  13. steve

    Mikinho, I run mc7. so i downloaded 7MCx64. is that correct for me because I cant get my iso’s to be loaded into the WMC library. I have to click windows tab, scroll over WMC and choose frequent task-to find iso’s. any suggestions

  14. ModderXstatic

    Will this work while using a wireless media extender? I want to buy one for my televisions in my house so I can have all the media on my PC, that way I wont have to worry about DVD getting lost/stolen, or even just scratched. Will this mounting software and virtual drive work with a media extender? Please email me at Team_ModderXstatic@yahoo.com

  15. Jesper

    Great app. I do have a slight issue with the number of ISO’s shown in WMC – is there a limit of 30 ISO’s?

    When I add my “Film” folder on my networkdrive, it shows 30 ISO’s – the first 30 ISO’s it encounters in the file structure, so at first I thought it was my ISO’s that was the problem.
    If I add more selectively, ie. adds a couple of the subfolders further down in the file structure instead, it shows the files in there without problems.

  16. Mads K.

    I got the same problem as horizonguy and I already have installed Virtual CloneDrive installed.
    Anything I can do?

  17. Rochelle

    I can’t get the mikinho website to even open. What other program could I download that would do the same thing?

  18. DigitalGeekery

    @Rochelle – I believe I read that he’s been doing some site maintenance lately. You can also find Mount Image here: http://madeformediacenter.com/m4mc/app.aspx?id=073c2e5a-5965-4f51-b27e-4fe3e1ad64db

  19. Peter

    This doesn’t work for me – I have installed both Mikinho Mount Image and Deamon Tools Lite and
    I get as far as clicking the iso file in Media Center and get the following error:

    “Cannot play video – Windows Media Center cannot find the specificed file. Be sure the path is typed correctly. If it is, the file does not exist at the specified location, or the computer where the file is stored is offline.”

    I get this error for any ISO I click on – my iso’s load via media libraries but none will play (all get same error). I am running Win7 Ultimate. And only install Virtual CloneDrive and your Mikinho Mount Image on my fresh install OS.

    And i can`t set my autoplay DVD to “Windows Media Center” i can only choice “Windows Media Player” :(

  20. Mathew

    I was getting same error “Cannot play video – Windows Media Center cannot find the specificed file. Be sure the path is typed correctly. If it is, the file does not exist at the specified location, or the computer where the file is stored is offline.” even though it was working the other day.

    I am using Virtual Clone Drive. It seems when I added a couple of extra virtual drives from the settings it started to work.

    Hope this helps.

  21. Jerry

    The man says to use something else apart from Daemon tools. Read the walkthrough instead of asking stupid questions. I’ve just tried it, and it works a treat.

  22. Rya

    I was wondering if someone could help me getting this to play on the xbox 360 extender. I have the transcoder and mount image installed with the clone drive, but when I select the ISO in my xbox extender, it says “file type not recognized, proper codec might not be installed”(or something like that). I don’t believe a codec is the problem because all other media types play correctly. Does anyone have suggestions?

  23. Miker

    I’ve tried exactly step by step, installed your extender transcoder and can’t get past

    Colud not load ISO – There was a problem playing the content.

    When I manually mouint the iso i can play the movie on the ;c via WMC

    What an I missing?

  24. gggirlgeek

    I’m not sure I understand the point of this exercise. An ISO is basically just an archive, like a zip, without compression. Their only purpose is to be unpacked and burned onto a bootable or playable DVD. I can’t think of any advantage to putting movie files into an ISO package if you’re going to store them on a hard drive. Why not keep the video files in a simple folder where WMC can access them without problems?

    You can either backup the DVD in another format from the start using something like AnyDVD, or extract the ISO’s you already have into a folder using any archive program (such as 7z) Even better: Use ExtractNow to extract many at once. Eventually you’re going to want to compress them to avi or something anyway to save space, so the ISO is pointless.

    Is there something cool about ISO’s that I’m missing out on?

  25. Z-Funk

    @gggirlgeek

    You dumb whore, because a lot of people have downloaded iso files for burning and have kept the iso files. Who the hell would want to change the format of hundreds of files, you freaking idiot.

  26. shaun

    store iso in folder

    eg C:\films\movie.iso

    now for picture you want to use

    save it in C\films as folder.jpeg

    so you should have 2 files in c:\films

    \movie.iso
    \folder.jpg

    dont know how more simple i can make it :)

  27. Vic

    Hi,

    I managed to run ISO fro MCE. BUT.

    The title chapter doesnt properly load in the beginning. The DVD menues, chapters are skipped. As soon as mounting is completed MCE loads the first chapter itself. When I manually scrolled to the last chapter end I could get the title selection page.

    Any idea guys,

    Thanks

    Vic

  28. Ace

    Worked for me! Thanks!

  29. Stein Holstad

    HELLO

    I got the same problem as horizonguy and Mads K.

    Cannot get the Iso files to be mounted from within Windows 7 Media Center. When i mount the iso file manually, the movie automaticly starts in Media Center.

    My Windows 7 Professional installation is fresh as of today – new install. I have only installed all the windows updates, Trend Antivirus software and MS Office 2010 Professional. My iso files are located on a Windows Home Server. I also downloaded the cccp codec pack.

    Any suggestions?

    Yours Stein Holstad – Norway

  30. Ryan G.

    This solution works wonderfully! Thanks sooo much for writing this tutorial!

  31. Brendan

    @Mikinho:

    Firstly, thanks a ton for taking the time to write all this software. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve been having some of the same issues as listed above – installed Mount Image and Extender Dvd “Transcode”. I can see all of my .iso titles on my XBox 360 in the movie library, but when I attempt to play them, I get the “Cannot Play Video” error as others have listed.

    I have VirtualCloneDrive installed, and have set it to 5 virtual drives, as someone mentioned above might help. Still nothing.

    Suggestions anyone?

  32. MikeW

    Same issue as Brendan. Thanks for the tutorial. Works great on PC but not via XBOX360. Using exactly what you mentioned. Receive the typical message: Cannot Play Video. Does it have anything to do with order of installation? How do I make sure the Transcoder plugin is actually running? Anything wrong with DVD Decrypter being installed?

    Thanks as well, this would be my perfect solution if it can play via Extender.

  33. Nels

    I cant thank you enough ! everything works ! Preserving ISO’s and not having to transcode ,amazing !

  34. Dino

    I can’t play ISOs on Xbox Extender either. However on his website, under ‘projects’ Mikinho states that “The current version has extender support disabled until I make a small change to my code.”

    So I guess we’ll anxiously await the change to the code.

    PS Can we get an amen for this software Mikinho’s providing. Well done!

  35. Hunter[NIU]

    Would really like this to work on Xbox 360 Media Extender.

    Other than that, fantastic process, thanks!

  36. RyanNorth

    Any sort of information when it will be availabe for xbox 360 extender?

  37. ACE

    I have done the above process and still cannot stream ISO. files to my XBOX 360! Anybody that has done this process and was able to stream your ISO. to your XBOX 360 please EMAIL me and let me know what you did! Thanks!

  38. Mikinho

    I just saw on the comments on Media Center Extender usage. It works in conjuction with my Transcoder add-in but is not as reliable as I’d like. I’m changing jobs but hope to come back to this by the end of the month.

  39. XceS

    @ Mikinho,

    As many others listed above, i have the same problem attempting to mount an iso from within Media Center: Cannot Play Video, blabla filelocation something ..
    I have tried this with every Application Supported by your “Mount Image” application, none have worked so far..
    No image gets mounted, i keep getting the same “Cannot Play Video” error on every of +1200 iso files..
    What i have found.., is when i freeze-frame before the error pops up for the first time.. i can see your screen: “Please wait while mounting disc image…” for a fraction of a millisecond and then media center throws the error..
    Maybe this helps in Pinpointing what the issue is, because it does not appear to be MountImage’s ability to control other applications to be the issue.. but the control between Media Center and MountImage.. the appi doesn’t seem to get the directive from MC or MC overrides something in the process..
    It is weird th0 hearing how 50% works and the other 50 doesn’t for no apparent reason? :x

    Intel:
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Media Center encorporated..
    I have installed Shark007 codecs for MKV support..
    Tried every Iso Mounting application supported..aswel as for instance adding drives like suggested above..

    Result:
    Bogus, nothing, nihil, fail.. nada.. :'(

    You’re application however intrigues me, i’d be a very happy programmer if you gets the kinks worked out.. cuz truly a marvelous idea ^^
    Hope u get it working soon so i can download & install that stuff :))
    Keep up the work, grtz

  40. David

    This might help a few with the mounting img/iso file issue from within media center on the pc.

    Sometimes I found that Media Center 7 will unmount an image from Daemon Tools. Not sure why this is but it does happen. So before I go into Media Center I will manually mount an iso file (doesn’t seem to matter which) and them go into Media Center and everything seems to work fine.

    Now for my problem.

    I have also found that I cannot mount img/iso files from my xbox 360. That is my ultimate goal so I can store all my media onto my pc. The xbox media center does display all of the movies that I have loaded from My Movies along with DVD cover art and information, however it does not want to load the iso. I have used Mikinho’s transcode and image mounter but still doesn’t want to mount. Going to try Virtual Clone Drive and see if that changes anything. Will get back on that….

  41. David

    Sorry virtual clone wouldn’t work either. Acted a bit different in trying to load than Daemon Tools Lite however same result in the end and wouldn’t load iso.

    Thanks Mikinho for all of your hard work, it is greatly appreciated. I am sure we can get this eventually.

  42. David

    Ok I went around using the iso files. The entire purpose of me doing this was obvious but I liked the idea of having the menus on the DVD and the dvd cover art from my movies as well as the organization. So what I did was use DVD shrink to rip the iso files into on large VOB file. I then renamed it to a .mpg instead of a .vob file. Worked great and no need to mess with iso. Also I could strip out all of the extra languages and unnecessary menus to decrease the file size on my hard drive.

    I also made sure I used no compression so the video quality is the same as original dvd.

    Hope this helps a few anyway :D

  43. Al

    It works! On Windows 7 64-bit and using Daemon Tools Lite 4.4, but like everyone else on the xbox 360 extender I get the same error: missing DVD transcoder, I haven’t tried Extender Dvd Transcode yet. So I will report later. I’m using the xbox 360 media remote and use “info” to mount the selected ISO, will let you know if “Extender DVD Transcode” worked. Later

  44. Patrick

    Works like a champ, without Daemon Tools, which was my goal.

    Thanks!

  45. Tweedle Dee

    I was able to get the movies stored on my comp to play through the Xbox 360 using Windows Media Center. The .iso file needs to be converted to the video_ts and audio_ts files. Using the Extender DVD transcode mentioned above, it worked like a champ. Just make sure you name your video_ts folder so you know which movie you are selecting.

  46. adfkj

    Thank you for this article! I was able to play all my DVD iso’s. I was also able to play Bluray rips with the lauch of third party software within Media center. Good Work!

  47. mskovgaard

    Hi,

    I’m still trying to figure out how to play ISOs from Windows Media Center on my Xbox. Has anyone had any luck doing this?

  48. Dan

    This was just great. Now i am beginning to create a bunch of ISO’s from my DVD collection.
    Alot easier than handling multiple DVD’s when you are sick :)
    I have put all my ISO files into 1 dicrectory and then placed a jpeg image for every title i have, so that it is easier to tell what it is.

  49. Ants

    Is there anyone who can tell me how to automatically mount and view ISO files in MCE2005? (not Win7)

  50. e

    hi @Mikinho.

    any progress on the Media Center Extender usage?

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