Solved: Can’t Mount IMG File in Windows 10
The first thing to understand is that image files are a messy business. There is plenty of cross-over information and functionality between image file extension types – it is easy to get confused!
Don’t be surprised if you can’t mount an .img file in Windows 10 with their default utility – it’s a common problem and this article will help.
It is important to understand not all image files are the same. Heck, not all .img files are the same. Some basics: For the term “image files” you typically see .img files and .iso file extensions and they have similar functionality and conceptually accomplish the same goal. The goal is for an image file to hold digital content, in a single file, of a file system and a its set of data. If that sentence is confusing, then maybe think of an image file this way: a zip file (but without compression).
A very quick summary explaining the difference of .img and .iso image files. An optical disc holding data is configured differently than hard drive storage space. The optical disc has data written in a linear configuration and is a digital binary copy of the ISO 9660 standard or derivative UDF standard. The ISO file extension is a single file which contains all the digital information just described.
An .img file is a digital copy of the contents of a hard drive or flash drive. Technically you can have an .img of a CD or DVD as well, but most should associate the image of a disc as ISO. An .img file is a disk image which begins with a FAT sector which is used to identify the file system and files contained inside the image file. The image file of a disc (ISO) begins with a descriptor file which describes the layout of the disc.
That last sentence is important: If the image file starts with a FAT sector it means the mount tool in Windows 10 will not work. The mount tool included with Windows is intended for optical disc images which begin with a descriptor file defining the layout of the digital disc.
The primary example of this is Office 360. If you purchase the package, rather than buying the online version, you will be provided a download link. The download is an .img file, but when mounted using the Windows mount tool, the Properties of the image file show as UDF. UDF is an optical disc layout.
If you cannot mount an .img file using Windows default tool, we must assume the image file is a traditional .img file and begins with a FAT sector defining what is inside the image. In order to mount this type of .img file, you will need a third party tool. Meaning we need to find a tool you must download and install.
The GetUSB.info website started in 2004, just when USB flash drives started hitting mainstream. Since 2004 the authors here at GetUSB have used ImDisk Virtual Disc Driver utility. This is a free software utility which you can download from SourceForge (trusted website of course) and loaded with all the features one will need to mount .img files… or .iso files… or .udf files. Basically any type of image file, this tool will work.
ImDisk Virtual Disc Driver utility. *There is no affiliate money associated with this link, just a friendly tip.
Here is an example of mounting and .img file which the Windows utility could not.
Unmount the image file is a single click
As a closing note, if you need information about burning .iso files to create CD-ROM USB flash drives the previous article we published is a great references.