Question: "Windows 7: how to play .iso files without burning them to DVD? – Is there a way to play iso files without first wasting DVDs burning them?"

Do you have a hard drive full of ripped movies in ISO file format? Are you looking for an easy way to play ISO file in Windows Media Center or other media players on your Windows computer? Or, are you looking for a free ISO player and solutions on how to play ISO files on PC? Such problems are quite common online. Many people would suggest these question askers to mount ISO files to a virtual drive and then search online for software to play back these ISO files. This guide would show you how to play ISO files on PC in different ways.

Part 1: About ISO Image File

Technically speaking, an ISO file, often called an ISO image, is a single file that’s a perfect copy of an entire CD, DVD, or BD disc. The entire contents of a disc can be precisely duplicated into a single ISO file.

The most common use of an image file is to write it to a blank writable CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc, resulting in an identical copy of the original disc including file name and volume label information. ISO image files may also be opened and their contents copied to a local folder, much like ZIP files. ISO files may also be virtually mounted and accessed as a device.

You cannot directly copy and paste the .ISO file to the blank writable DVD/Blu-ray disc for direct playback on DVD/Blu-ray players. You need to have or to install a third-party utility that “burns an image to disc”.

ISO image icon

Part 2: Open ISO File with Un-zipping Apps

Most computers would have certain unzipping apps like WinRAR installed for unzipping downloaded files. To open ISO file, your unzipping apps could also be of great help.

  1. Change the ISO file extension name from ".iso" to ".zip" manually. The system would pop up a notice " If you change a file name extension, the file might become unusable. Are you sure you want to change it?" Click "Yes".
  2. The ISO file would then turn into a zip package. With unzipping apps like WinRAR, you could unzip the package and then choose the file you want to play back with players on your PC.

Part 3: Play ISO File with Free ISO Player

It might be the best way to directly play ISO file on PC with the help of free ISO player. A free ISO player could directly open ISO file free and then play ISO file on PC. Some media players could play ISO file on PC with help of certain addins, while some other advanced media player software could act as a free ISO player to directly open and play ISO file on PC for free, like Leawo Free Blu-ray Player and VLC media player.

How to play ISO file on PC with Leawo free Blu-ray player? Here you can follow the specific steps as below:

Step 1. Complete the installation of Leawo Blu-ray player and run it on your computer. Then you will enter an intuitive interface that has several options available. Click on the button “Open File” to view and load the ISO file that you need for playback.


Step 2. [Optional] Once you have loaded ISO file to the player, you can put your mouse to the area of title to pop up 4 options for Subtitles Settings when playback. Click to the icon button “Subtitles” you can have subtitle settings like Enable subtitles, Subtitles offset, Subtitle selecting, Browse for subtitle. Besides, you also can right-click the main interface to get the panel of subtitle settings opened, then make settings by choosing the “Subtitles” option.