Very often, games and programs downloaded from the Internet are enclosed in CD / DVD / Blu-Ray ISO images which in turn are compressed and broken up into a multi-volume archive (ie made up of multiple packages). This happens because in this way the distribution of data takes place more conveniently and the damaged parts of the archives can be replaced individually or offline, but this solution does not always make life easier for those who have to download the files, indeed.
I bet that you too have found yourself several times in the presence of such an archive and not knowing how to merge ISO files to get the game or the final program. That’s why today I decided to create a guide on this topic and to explain how to extract your CD, DVD or Blu-Ray images on computers, smartphones and tablets, using a series of programs and applications dedicated specifically for this purpose.
So, without further ado, make yourself comfortable and carefully read everything I have to explain to you on the subject: I am sure that, at the end of reading this guide, you will be able to reach the goal you set for yourself, within short while. That said, there is nothing left for me to do but wish you good reading and good luck!
- Preliminary information
- How to merge ISO files on Windows
- How to merge ISO files on Mac
- The Unarchiver
- How to merge ISO files on smartphones and tablets
- How to merge two ISO files
Before getting to the heart of this guide and explaining, in practice, how to merge ISO files , let me give you some more information about the conditions under which this can happen.
To begin with, you must know that the various “pieces” of the original ISO file are nothing more than parts of an archive compressed according to a given format and set, during the creation phase, for the division into volumes . Generally, the name of the volumes that make up the original file includes the word part and a progressive number , which indicates the exact extraction order (eg image-part0001.rar ). Usually such archives are in .rar format, but it is not uncommon to come across “fragmented” ISO images in mini-archives .zip, .tar, .7z and so on.
In order to recreate the original ISO image, you must have a program or an app capable of managing multi-volume archives in the most popular formats; furthermore, all parts of the file , none excluded, must be in the same folder and have the same name with which they were created , otherwise it will not be possible to recompose the ISO correctly. Make sure you meet this last condition before doing anything!
How to merge ISO files on Windows
Now that you understand by what criteria ISO files are “broken up”, it’s time to show you some programs that allow you to merge them very easily on Windows .
The first software I want to tell you about is 7-Zip , one of the best known and most appreciated free programs that can easily manage compressed archives, even those divided into several parts. Files supported by 7-Zip include those with extensions .zip, .rar, .7z, .cab, .iso and many others.
To download 7-Zip, connected to its official website , click on the Download item corresponding to the architecture of your operating system (64 bit or 32 bit) and, once you have obtained the program installation file, open it and click on the buttons Yes , Install and Close , to complete the setup.
Now, go to the folder where the pieces of the ISO file to be recomposed are located, right-click on the one with the lowest progressive number (e.g. name-part000.rar ) or on the one without the part number and select the item 7-Zip> Extract here , to recompose the ISO file inside the current folder; by selecting the Extract files … item , instead, you can manually select the folder in which to recreate the original ISO image.
Another excellent program that you can use to put the pieces of a previously split ISO file back together is WinRAR : it is a program compatible with all existing Windows editions (starting from Windows XP) and distributed under a shareware license.
In fact, the software can be used free of charge for a trial period of 40 days , after which, in order to continue to take advantage of the advanced features (e.g. the creation of encrypted archives), a license must be purchased at a cost of 36, € 54 one-time fee.
I want to underline that WinRAR will work even after the trial period has expired, although screens will appear from time to time inviting the user to purchase the full version of the software and it will not be possible to create encrypted archives with passwords.
The program is able to manage without any problem most of the existing compressed archives in circulation, including those in .zip, .7z, .tar, .tar.gz, .cab, .iso and, of course, .rar format .
Having said that, to obtain the software, connected to its official website , locate the section dedicated to the latest version of WinRAR and click on the Download button located in the WinRAR for Windows correspondence most appropriate for the version of Windows in your possession ( 64 bit or 32 bit ); when the download is complete, start the .exe file obtained and click on the Yes , Install / Install , OK and Close / Done buttons , to conclude everything.
At this point, go to the folder that contains the ISO file divided into parts, right-click on the part with the lowest progressive number (e.g. name-part000.rar ) and select the item Extract here from the menu that appears, to combine and unzip the ISO file in the current folder, or click on Extract files… , to unzip the image in a folder of your choice.
How to merge ISO files on Mac
And on Mac ? Again, you can easily put together a compressed and split ISO file using some applications that can do this. Below I point out the ones that, in my opinion, represent the best in the category.
Let’s start with Keka : it is a free archive manager, which allows you to manage, extract and recompose compressed archives in .zip,, 7z, .tar format. .zma, .rar, .dmg and others. The program can be downloaded for free from its website, but a paid version is also available on the Mac App Store (costs € 3.99), designed to support the work of the development team.
In any case, to download the free version of Keka, open the official website of the program and click on the Download vX.YZ button , to start downloading the installation file to your computer. Once you have the .dmg package , open it and drag the Keka icon to the Applications folder on your Mac.
Now, right-click on the icon you just copied, select the Open item twice consecutively (in order to overcome the restrictions imposed by Apple on non-certified developers) and wait for the initial window of the program to appear.
When this happens, go to the folder that contains the pieces of the ISO file to be recomposed, drag the file with the smallest progressive number or the one that has no number in the Keka window (you should see the wording Release here to extract ) and wait that the reassembly and extraction procedure is completed. The complete ISO file will be saved in the same folder that contains its parts.
The Unarchiver application also allows you to achieve the same result, in a matter of a few clicks. If you had never heard of it, it is a software available for free on the Mac App Store capable of managing, decompressing and joining compressed archives in the most popular and well-known formats (.zip, .rar, .7z and .tar are just a few examples).
To get it, open the link I reported to you a little while ago, click on the View button in the Mac App Store (if necessary) and, when you see the Apple market screen appear, click on the Get / Install button , in order to start the download and installing the program. If prompted, authorize the operation using your Apple ID password or Touch ID .
At the end of the installation of the program, open the folder that contains the pieces of the ISO file to be reassembled, right-click on the one bearing the smallest progressive number (e.g. file-part000.rar ) and select the items Open with> The Unarchiver from the menu that appears, to immediately unpack the ISO file in the current position.
Should a window appear notifying you of the absence of write permissions on the folder, click on the Extract button to provide the necessary permissions, which will also be remembered for any future operations on the same directory.
How to merge ISO files on smartphones and tablets
How do you say? Didn’t you find the information I have given you so far useful, as you do not have a computer and would need to merge ISO files on your smartphone or tablet? Don’t worry, I think I have what is right for you.
For example, if you use a terminal equipped with an Android operating system , you can use the RAR application , developed and distributed by the same software house behind the aforementioned WinRAR program . The app allows you to manage archives in the most popular formats, including those divided into multiple volumes and those protected by passwords.
Basically, RAR is available for free, with the presence of advertisements, both on the Google Play Store and on alternative markets for Android ; the ads can still be removed by in-app purchase (at a cost of € 1.19 / year).
To download the app, enter the reference store of your device, use the search function to reach the RAR page and, after pressing the most relevant result, tap the Install and Open buttons to install the application and then start it.
Now, tap the Allow button , to ensure that RAR can access the Android memory, tap the No, see ADS that are less relevant and Agree buttons , in order to disable advertising tracking and tap on the item No, thanks , to avoid purchasing the full version of the app.
We are almost there: using the file manager that is proposed to you, reach the folder that contains the pieces of the ISO file to be recomposed, make a long tap on the one with the lowest progressive number (or the one that does not have it at all) and touch the voice extract here from the menu that appears, to start extracting the ISO image in the folder where you are, or extract files … , select another directory.
If yours is an iPhone or an iPad , unfortunately I have no good news to tell you: at the moment, the archive managers available on iOS and iPadOS do not allow you to merge compressed files split into multiple volumes, sorry.
How to merge two ISO files
How do you say? Your goal is not to merge compressed archive downloaded from the Internet that includes an ISO image inside, but to merge two ISO files that are already “intact” in order to create a new one with the contents of both files?
First of all I tell you that this operation is not recommended, as it would most likely affect the functioning of the image file itself once burned on a disk (and could make this operation impossible, if you increase the size of the file too much) . However, if you really want to pursue this goal, you can extract the contents of the ISO files you want to merge using an ISO creation program to give life to your new unified image file.