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Binary image files (.bin) are a type of disk image format similar to the more common .iso format. They’re a type of container file that when extracted or mounted will provide access to their content.

If you search online for how to manage these files under Linux you’ll see a lot of articles stating that you can simply execute the file thus ./filename.bin. This is because .bin files are commonly executable files on the *nix platform. However, in the case of .bin disk image files this will not work.

Here’s how we crack open these files from the terminal. It’s a straightforward process that involves converting the bin file to an ISO file and then mounting the ISO.

The high level steps are:

  1. Create a .cue file if you don’t have one.
  2. Install bchunk
  3. Convert the .bin to .iso using bchunk.
  4. Mount the .iso file.
  5. View the iso content.
  6. Unmount the iso when complete.

The code below assumes all files are in your home directory. Make sure you have space in your home directory for both the bin file and the converted iso file.

Step 1: You’re going to need the associated .cue file but you may only have the .bin file. No guarantee this will work but you can try creating a cue file with the content below (make sure you change the FILENAME placeholder). Save this file alongside your .bin file with the same name i.e my-file.cue and my-file.bin.

FILE "FILENAME.bin" BINARY
  TRACK 01 MODE1/2352
    INDEX 01 00:00:00

Step 2: Install bchunk

sudo apt-get install bchunk

Step 3: Convert the .bin to .iso. Make sure you get the arguments in the correct order.

bchunk ~/your-file.bin ~/your-file.cue ~/your-file.iso

Step 4: Create a mount point and mount the iso image.

sudo mkdir /mnt/iso
sudo mount -o loop ~/your-file.iso /mnt/iso

Step 5: Browse the content of your original bin.

ls /mnt/iso

Step 6: Once you’ve finished with the iso just unmount it

sudo umount /mnt/iso