| Found on the Web. Hope it helps. || Aug 27, 2004 |
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In common use, an "ISO" is a file that contains the complete image of a disc. Such files are often used when transferring CD-ROM images over the Internet. Depending on who you're talking to, "ISO" may refer to all disc image files or only certain kinds.
Going by the more restrictive definition, an "ISO" is created by copying an entire disc, from sector 0 to the end, into a file. Because the image file contains "cooked" 2048-byte sectors and nothing else, it isn't possible to store anything but a single data track in this fashion. Audio tracks, mixed-mode discs, CD+G, multisession, and other fancy formats can't be represented.
To work around this deficiency, software companies developed their own formats that *could* store diverse formats. Corel developed CIF, which is still in use by Roxio's Easy CD Creator. (What does CIF mean? Nobody knows, though "Corel Image Format" is as good a definition as any.) Jeff Arnold's CDRWIN created them as "BIN" files, with a separate "cue sheet" that described the contents. You can unpack a BIN/CUE combo with MagicISO.
A ".DAT" file could be most anything, but usually it's a video file pulled off of a VideoCD. A program can convert .DAT to .MPG, and recording programs like Nero can record them directly.
A ".ISO" file that contains an image of an ISO-9660 filesystem can be manipulated in a number of ways: it can be written to a CD-ROM; mounted as a device with the Linux "loopback" filesystem (e.g. "mount ./cdimg.iso /mnt/test -t iso9660 -o loop"); copied to a hard drive partition and mounted under UNIX; or viewed with MagicISO under Windows. There is no guarantee, however, that a ".ISO" file contains ISO-9660 filesystem data. And it is quite common to hear people refer to things as "ISO" which aren't.
A ".SUB" file appears to contain subchannel data. Some programs pass these around in addition to one of the above formats.
We now have many different file extensions, including ISO, BIN, IMG, CIF, FCD, NRG, GCD, PO1, C2D, CUE, CIF, CD, and MagicISO can open and manipulate just about any disc image format.
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