Commercial CDs and DVDs have software and other data that is contained in a format called ISO. ISO refers to International Organization for Standardization, the group that created the format.
An ISO is the entire "image" of a program or operating system that is contained on the disk and designed to facilitate installation of that software. It contains not only the software data, but the structure of the data's organization.
Programs are not typically run directly from an ISO, but installed from it. This installation creates folders on the hard drive to store temporary data and files created by the person who is using the program (like documents and spreadsheets).
If you have an ISO on your computer, it must be either burned onto a CD to allow installation, or "mounted" using a virtual drive. This virtual drive makes your computer see the ISO as a disc that has been inserted into an optical drive.
ISOs and Installation
Simply copying the ISO image to a CD will not allow you to install the ISO. It must be burned specifically as an ISO image to establish the proper file structure that will be recognized by your operating system as installable software.
USB Thumb Drives
Some ISOs can be imaged onto a USB thumb drive instead. Then you can install from this drive, or use it as a boot device.
What Is the NTSC DVD Format?
NTSC is a video format developed by the National Television System Committee. It is a standard that was used for broadcasting over-the-air...
The UDF & ISO Difference
ISO image files are complete digital copies of a CD or DVD. These files can be mounted to virtual drives and used...
How to Copy a CD to ISO 9660 Format
The ISO 9660 file format is used by many different programs and operating systems. It was developed to unite fellow Mac Os...