How to Run an ISO Image File in VirtualBox –

How to Run an ISO Image File in VirtualBox

If some of you did not know, you can run ISO image files using VirtualBox. This is useful because it saves you time and Cds. A while ago I was working on creating my own Custom Ubuntu LiveCD. There was a lot of trial and error involved, which let me to create numerous ISO images. Imagine if I did not have this capability, how much time I would have wasted restarting the computer every time I had a new CD, or how much time I would have spent burning CD-RWs, or CD-Rs which would have ended up in the garbage. VirtualBox’s advantages are vast; in this tutorial I will show you one of these many advantges: How to run an ISO image using VirtualBox.


In order to run an ISO image you must have a virtual machine already created. As you can see in the picture below, I already have a virtual machine created for Windows 7. Select your image and then click on the “Settings” icon.

Next, in the settings window you are going to select “Storage“. In the middle column, select the “Empty” CD-ROM. Then, on the last section to the right, click on the CD icon (I am using VirtualBox 4, in VirtualBox 3 the icon looks like a little folder). Click on “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file“, look for your ISO image, select it and click “Open“.

You should now see that your ISO image has been transformed into a regular CD and it is ready to be used.

If you wish to boot your ISO image, you have to make sure that your CD-ROM is in the correct boot order; above your virtual hard drive. Otherwise the virtual machine will skip the CD-ROM and boot directly to the OS in the virtual hard drive. To do this, on the first column to the left, click on “System” and on the section to the right, make sure the CD-ROM is placed above the Hard Disk. To do this, select it and move it up using the arrows located on the right hand side. When finished, click “Ok” to get back to the main VirtualBox window.

On the main VirtualBox window, click on “Start” to begin the booting process.

And you are done, you are booting from our Ubuntu LiveCD without even having to burn it to a CD.

Running ISOs in VirtualBox, not only saves you time and CDs but also gives you the freedom of being able to run any LiveCD within seconds. It is a great tool for those who want to evaluate operating systems without going through the hassle of burning them to CDs; you can basically have your collection of LiveCDs available in one computer stored as ISOs and run them whenever you have the need.

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