By Crystal / Last Updated April 25, 2022

Boot a virtual machine from ISO image file

ISO image file is an archive file format which contains an exact copy of all the contents available on a disc. It is similar to a .ZIP file but without file compression. When you create a virtual machine, it’s easy to install the operating system by connecting to ISO image file. So this article will describe how to boot a virtual machine from ISO in Hyper-V and VMware Workstation. Meanwhile it offers you solutions of unable booting VM from ISO.

boot vm from iso

How to boot Hyper-V VM from ISO

1. Right-click the virtual machine >> Settings.

2. Access to Hardware >> DVD Drive. On the right side, under Media pane, select Image file. Then click Browse to locate the .iso file and click Apply.

boot Hyper-V VM from ISO

For the Generation 2 Hyper-V virtual machine, it’s possible to fail to boot VM from ISO file, which can be caused by various factors.

1. The ISO file has been modified (for example to inject drivers), so ISO doesn't have the EFI boot loader.

2. The ISO file is stored in a shared folder. You can try moving the ISO file to a local physical drive on the host machine, and note the permissions of this folder or file.

3. Try disabling EUFI in the BIOS settings (UEFI boot issue).

Navigate to Hardware, then deselect Secure Boot. Then change Boot order. Finally, go to create a new SCSI controller with DVD drive.

Hyper-V VM not booting from ISO

4. If none of the above solutions can boot Hyper-V VM from ISO, it’s recommended to you to redownload copy of the ISO again.

How to boot VMware Workstation VM from ISO

This part will introduce how to boot a virtual machine from ISO in VMware Workstation.

1. Download ISO image file and save it at the location accessible to your host.

Tips: For best performance, place this image on the host computer's hard drive. However, to make the ISO image accessible to multiple users, you can also place the ISO image on a network share drive (Windows) or exported filesystem (Linux). If your OS install spans multiple discs, you need to use an ISO image of each disc and place them all of them in a location accessible to the host.

2. Open VMware Workstation, click File >> New Virtual Machine.

3. Select the type of configuration such as Typical or Custom.

Typical: accept the recommended configurations such as processors, RAM, and disk controller type.
Custom: configure these options by yourself.

create VMware VM

4. On the Guest Operating System Installation window, select Installer disc image file(iso), then click Browse to find the ISO image file at your location.

install guest OS from ISO

5. After configuration, review the information and deselect Power on this virtual machine after creation. Click Finish to close the window.

6. Go to edit the settings of the virtual machine so that its virtual CD/DVD device is configured to use the ISO image instead of the physical CD/DVD drive:

  • VM >> Settings >> Hardware >> CD/DVD drive.
  • On the right side, select Connected, Connect at power on and Use ISO image file, then click Browse to locate the file.
  • Click OK.

boot VMware VM from ISO

7. Back to VM >> Power >> Power On to Firmware that allows you to boot a virtual machine into BIOS settings.

boot VMware Workstation VM from ISO

8. On the opened BIOS screen, select Boot >> CD-ROM Drive, press F10 and Enter to save the configuration changes.

change BIOS settings

Although it is very convenient to change the settings, you should know what you are doing before making any big change. Otherwise, you will end up corrupting your guest OS. So backup your important data before changing the settings.

Offer VM backup insurance before big changes

When running virtual machine, you cannot predict what will happen next, especially when you are modifying the important settings, which may lead to serious system crashes or data loss due to accidental human errors. This situation will cause huge financial losses that cannot be estimated.

For example, when booting VM from ISO, you need to change the configuration settings in BIOS, which is risky for system. So, in order to protect VM data and business security, backup is necessary.

AOMEI Cyber Backup offers you a comprehensive data insurance. With it, you can benefit from:

Secure VMware & Hyper-V Backup: support VMware ESXi 6.0 and Hyper-V host (2012 and above) and seamlessly protect the whole VM and reduce business risk.
Automatic Backup & Cleanup Plan: schedule automated backups based flexible backup methods and time, and specify retention policy to delete unwanted backup files without human intervention.
Fast Disaster Recovery: one-click to restore entire VM to its previous state without any complicated reinstallation or configuration.
Affordable Unlimited VM Backups: each license supports unlimited virtual machines on VMware / Hyper-V host saving your costs for data protection.

Download Free TrialVMware & Hyper-V
Secure Download

How to protect VM with AOMEI Cyber Backup

1. Download ACB and add your VMware / Hyper-V host.

Tips: The following steps are based on VMware ESXi device.

2. Click Backup Task >> Create New Task.

create VM backup

◈ In the opened wizard, select virtual machines you want to backup and specify a location to store the VM backup files such as local or network.

VM backup target

◈ On Schedule, set up backup method (full / incremental / differential backup) and type (daily / weekly / monthly).

schedule VM backup

◈ On Backup Cleanup, specify the retention policies for each backup to delete the old files automatically that saves storage and extra hardware costs.

VM Backup Cleanup

3. Restore: click Restore. It allows you to restore from any point and quickly restore VM to another host.

restore VM


This article introduces how to boot VM form ISO in VMware and Hyper-V. When changing the settings, please pay much attention to system and data security.