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Joliet Volume Access

Current version: 1.3 (July 9, 2000)

By Thomas Tempelmann, 1996-2000.
Copyright 1996 Markus Fest & Thomas Tempelmann

For updates, more information, contact and support see:

What is it?

Joliet Volume Access is a File System, that is, it allows you to read disks in a certain format.

This File System supports reading the following formats:
ISO 9660 Level 1 to 3 and Joliet. No RockRidge support, sorry.

It is functionally a replacement for Apple's ISO 9660 File Access extension, with the following advantages over Apple's:

* Supports Joliet and ISO 9660 Level 3 formats
* Uses Internet Config's File Mappings
* Browses directories faster
* Supports PBCatSearch, thus making searches using Sherlock (aka Find File) on ISO or Joliet formatted disks much faster.
* If a file name is longer than 31 characters, you can still see the full name in the comments field of the Finder's Information window.
* Folder view is "as List" instead of "as Icons", which makes ISO CDs more pleasant to browse.

Of course, all these enhancements only work on disks that use the ISO 9660 or Joliet format, but not on HFS and other disks.


When Microsoft introduced Windows 95 with long file names (up to 255 chars, I believe), they also extended the ISO 9660 format to allow storage of files with such long Windows names on CD-ROMs. This extension is called the Joliet format.

Apple, however, never caught up with support for the new format. Thus, if you try to read a CD-ROM with contents from a modern Windows system, you will not see the original long Windows file names, but instead only "8.3" mangled names (which is a fallback provided for in the Joliet format). For example, a Windows file called "Carl's very interesting story.doc" would show up on a Macintosh as something like "CARL_SVE.DOC".

Here comes Joliet Volume Access to the rescue: As long as the original name was not longer than 31 chars, the name will display completely on your Mac now. Longer names will be truncated, but in quite a smart way, plus, the full name is still shown in the Comment field of the Finder's Information window.

Additionally, some CD-ROMs might have used ISO 9660 Level 3, which allows fragmented files. This is not supported by Apple's File System, and makes those fragmented files unreadable on a Mac. Joliet Volume Access solves this problem, too.

How to install and use

Simply place the file called Joliet Volume Access

into your Extensions folder and restart.

(Note: If you run System 7.5 or earlier, you need to remove the file "ISO 9660 File Access" from the Exentensions folder and to also put the File System Manager, available from, into the Extensions folder.)

You do not have to remove Apple's ISO 9660 File Access (unless you're using System 7.5 or earlier). If you leave it installed, it occupies very little RAM and it allows you to mount CDs with Apple's File System using the tools mentioned below, without having to restart your Mac.

From then on, if you insert a ISO 9660 or Joliet formatted CD (or DVD), it will be controlled by this new software, giving you the benefits mentioned above.
As an indication that you have actually mounted a media with one of these formats, the media icon will look like this:

Joliet volumes:

All other ISO 9660 volumes:

Some non-Apple CD drivers, however, may still show a generic CD icon even if the volume is mounted by this Joliet File System. The final and proper way to check the volume format is to use the Finder's "Information" window on the volume icon. There's a field called Format: which then would show "ISO 9660 Lvl3 + Joliet"

There are also some other tools if you like more control over how your CDs are mounted:

UDF/ISO/Joliet Switcher

This is a Contextual Menu Plug-In that allows you to re-mount a already mounted disk in a different format, assuming it is either in ISO 9660, Joliet or UDF format.

UDF/ISO/Joliet Enabler

This is a Control Strip Module that allows you to enable/disable any of the installed ISO, Joliet and UDF File Systems. For example, if you want to prevent a UDF Hybrid CD (one that has both a UDF and a ISO 9660 format) from being mounted in the UDF format, you could turn it off before inserting the CD.

Known problems and restrictions

* Folders may not show their full name as comments. This happens in certain cases, but I have not figured out the circumstances yet.

* Sorry, no RockRidge support. Not likely to happen, unless you find someone else who has the time to do it (I'd provide the source code).

* French Mac OS systems may not seem to work with the Joliet extension. Actually, all that happens is that CDs still get mounted by Apple's ISO 9660 file system and not by my Joliet extension.

The solution (for now) is simple, however. You have three choices:
* Rename the Joliet extension by prefixing it with a "z" so that it loads last.
* Remove Apple's ISO 9660 entirely from the Extensions folder.
* Install the above Switcher/Enabler tools on your system, too, so that you can manually switch off Apple's ISO 9660 file system or mount a CD explicitly as Joliet.

Background: This is caused by the fact that due to the different naming of involved extensions the Joliet extension gets loaded before Apple's ISO 9660 extension and thus it is not able to disable Apple's extension as planned. (The file that is responsible for loading the ISO 9660 File Access and thus determines the load order is "Foreign File Access", or "Traducteur CD" in french.) That means that Apple's ISO extension remains enabled and mounts the CD (Apple's ISO always gets first in line to mount a CD no matter when it was installed).

* So-called Hybrid CDs (containing both a HFS and a ISO/Joliet format) always show up as HFS volumes on a Mac. This is by Apple's design, and my File System has no control over it.
I am thinking of enhancing my Contextual Menu Plug-in to accomplish this. This would be considered a "hack", however. (Someone informed me that a tool called ISOnoHFS-2 could do that, but apparently works only with SCSI drives.)

* For more up-to-date problem notes, check the web page:

Questions, comments?

If you think that this Joliet File System does not perform as expected, for instance, if you find that certain software can not open files from a Joliet CD, or if certain CDs that look well on a Windows system do not do so on your Mac with this File System installed, then follow these steps, please:

* First, check my web site for a newer version of this extension and see if the problem goes away with the new version.
* Next, make sure that the Joliet File System is properly enabled. This is the case when you see one of the icons shown above when inserting a CD with ISO or Joliet format. If that does not happen, you should use the UDF/ISO/Joliet Switcher mentioned above to make sure that the File System is indeed enabled (this is the case when the names "Joliet (Tempel)" and "ISO ... (Tempel)" appear when you click on the installed Control Strip module and if they show a "*" in front of them.
* If the trouble you experience is related to a certain CD (while other Joliet CDs seem to work properly), you can use the "Grab CD" tool, which is available on my web site, in order to create a file of about 1-2 MB in size, which you can then compress and send to me via e-mail. I can then try to find the problem and perhaps fix it.
* If the trouble is application-related, first make sure that the problem goes away when you first copy the data from the CD onto your hard disk. If the problem still persists when accessing the data from the hard disk, it is probably a limitation of the Joliet format and a fix is not very likely.
Otherwise, please contact me and tell me the details (which application, version, which steps, and include the data if possible), so that I can try to fix it.

My e-mail address is:

Distribution rules

This software is freeware. It is free for personal use, and may be distributed by any individual person as long as this software is not used as a significant part of a commercial distribution. This means: If you distribute this software as part of a collection of many other free software items (such as shareware CDs, web sites for free downloading of software), it is OK. On the other hand, if you use this software explicitly for increasing revenue, or want to bundle it with a commercial product (including shareware), you need to request permission first.
If in doubt, contact me, the author:


Many thanks to Markus Fest for giving me time and "financial support" to work on this, to Rainer Schwake for providing the icons, and to Darrel E. Knutson for improving my English.

And I also thank all the people who sent me friendly mails, either to just say thanks or to help me in solving problems with the software.

Version History

1.0, May 8, 2000
* First public release

1.1, May 13, 2000
* Multi-Session CD problems solved (caused by both FWB's CD-ROM drivers and by Adaptec's EZ CD Creator software).
* Increased System Heap Size allocation (Conflict Catcher did report it as a potential problem).

1.2, May 31, 2000
* There had been an error related to disabling Apple's ISO 9660 File Access. The error was caused both by the Joliet extension as well as by the UDF/ISO/Joliet Enabler Control Strip Module. So be sure to update all three extensions!
* Crashes related to CD-ROM SpeedTools (as well as with Toast CD Reader) have been fixed.
* Joliet CDs mounted through AppleShare do not crash the server any more.
* Sherlock (Find File) and Window Monkey related errors have been fixed.
* An seldomly occuring error when mounting volumes has been fixed (appeared in various forms, such as error -55, as double mounted volumes or with the alert msg "The disk ... can not be used, because the folder can't be found.").
* A programming error in Iomega FindIt caused it to crash when cataloging a Joliet CD. I work-around this in the Joliet FS now, but it has the side-effect that any Joliet volume appears to have only 2 files on it when you use "Get Information" in the Finder on the volume. I plan provide a better fix in the next release of the Joliet FS.
* It seems that the crashes related to using Outlook Express are gone, too.
* Some badly mastered CDs (such as the Windows 98 OEM CD, made with Microsoft software - go figure!) specify a wrong value for the length of directories on the CD. This had the effect that larger directories did not show all the files (some of the files at the of the the dir were not shown). I changed the Joliet File System so that it now can deal with this error properly.

1.3, July 9, 2000
* File names ending in a "." are now properly displayed. Before, a trailing period was cut off from the name.
* Fixed a crash that happened on some systems, related to Internet Config.
* Fixed a conflict with Apple's ISO 9660 File Access: Mounting HFS/ISO hybrid discs failed sometimes with a strange effect (such as Error -120 or by ejecting the CD and then requesting it to be inserted again).

Famous last words

It took me a few months to write the major code of this software and another three years to finish it while being busy with DirectCD for Mac OS. I'm glad I finally finished it for public release. Better late than never.


Thomas Tempelmann, May 7, 2000

Original file name: Joliet Volume Access Read Me - converted on Monday, 10 July 2000, 17:10

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