Windows 8 Feature: Mounting Disc Images!!!

Don’t be Hatin’

Ever since the developer preview was released ages ago, it seems that all I’ve heard is “boohoo we hate the new interface Windows is ruined for the power user blah blah blah.” Well I am here to tell you that, like many things new, it only takes a bit of getting used. As a matter of fact there are a few awesome new features in Windows 8. One of my personal favorite new features is the ability to mount disc images such as .ISO files!

What Does That Even Mean?

If you already know the basics of what a disc image is and why you might want to mount one then just skip to the next section, for anyone else read on. So a disc image is basically just a file that contains all of the uncompressed data and structure of a CD-ROM or DVD. Usually a disc image will have the file extension .ISO. Often times disc images are just used to easily distribute the information on a disc. It’s an ideal situation because after you create an image from a disc, you can easily create a disc from the image.

There is however another useful thing you can do with a disc image and that is mounting it. When you mount a disc image it’s like you are putting a virtual disc into a virtual disc drive. As you can imagine this can be very handy if you happen to have an image but no blank DVDs around, or if you have a fancy smancy new notebook without a disc drive. By mounting you avoid the hassle of burning the image to a disc, as well as the problem of labeling and storing the physical media.

Mount Up!!!

If you wanted to mount an image in Widows 7 you would need to download 3rd party software, but in 8 it’s baked right in and painfully simple! First you need to find the .ISO file you want to mount, select it, and then click manage button in the explorer ribbon.

screenshot of step 1

After that you will see 2 options: Mount and Burn. Obviously you select the Mount option and WALA you’re done.

Screen capture 2

Your computer will now act as if the physical disc of the image you chose is inserted into the computer. To prove that it worked go to My Computer and look at “devices with removable storage.” You should see the disc there.

Screenshot of step 3

Subjected to Paper: My little rant on teachers who ban laptops

When it comes to note-taking I’m generally not the best, but one thing I will say for myself is that I have a system. A system that I have developed to perfection over my college career. First I get a cloud storage service i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox, Skydrive (this year it’s Skydrive). Then I make a folder for each class where I can put my syllabus, any digital readings or assignments, and most importantly my notes. For any class excluding math courses I find that taking notes with a keyboard is much more efficient than writing things by hand. Additionally when I’m writing fast with a pencil or pen it tends to become unreadable. Digital notes also cut down on paper usage if you’re into the whole go green thing.

All of that being said, I get a little aggravated when my teachers tell me that I am forbidden from using a laptop in class. It throws a wrench in my well oiled machine and makes it much less likely that I will be able to take good notes and more importantly, find the information again when I need it. Now all of these professors think that they have good reasons for disallowing laptops in class but in my humble opinion they are dead wrong! There are only two arguments I ever hear for banning laptops. Below are descriptions of these reasons and my take on them.

You will distract yourself and fail the course

Ok so this seems like a pretty logical argument. If you have a laptop in class you will spend all of your time browsing the web and checking your Facebook which will distract you from the lecture and cause you to fail the course. The problem I have with this is the same problem I have with mandatory attendance (we won’t get into that now). I pay for every lecture that I attend and if I want to waste that lecture by checking my Facebook then that should be my own choice to make, plain and simple. The exception to this is in certain classes that are centered around participation and discussion but most of the time that does not apply.

You will distract others and make them fail the course

Again this seems perfectly rational and has a bit of truth in it. If you are allowed to use your laptop in class you will inevitably cave and log into WOW and spend the whole class questing instead of learning. This of course will be so interesting that  everyone in the class will feel their eyes gravitating to your screen and the hope for education will be destroyed. I am not denying that their are people who will play games and watch movies while in class but I don’t think I’ve ever been overly distracted or seen anyone else get distracted. Usually these people tend to sit in the back of the class where no one can see what they are doing.

If you have anything to add to either side of this argument feel free to post your opinion in the comments.