What is an ECM File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert ECM Files

Photo of a hand holding compact disc
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A file with the ECM file extension is most likely an Error Code Modeler file, but it may instead be a Cmpro Examples file.

Error Code Modeler files are disc image files like ISO that store other image files like BIN, CDI, NRG, etc. without error correction codes (ECC) or error detection codes (EDC). Shaving off ECC and EDC saves on download time and bandwidth since the resulting file is smaller.

Some ECM files are also compressed with RAR or another compression algorithm, so they may be named something like file.ecm.rar.

How To Open an ECM File

ECM files can be opened with Gemc, ECM, and ECM GUI. Because an ECM file can be compressed to an archive like a RAR file to save on hard drive space, they may first have to be decompressed with a file zip/unzip utility - my favorite is 7-Zip.

If the data inside the ECM file is in the ISO format, see How To Burn an ISO Image File to a CD, DVD, or BD if you need some help getting it on a disc. See Burning an ISO to USB for help properly installing it to a flash drive.

Tip: ECM files that aren't disk image files may be able to open with a simple text editor like Notepad++. If the entire file isn't text-only, and only some if it is viewable, you may still be able to find something useful in the text about the type of software that can open the file.

Note: If your file doesn't seem to be a disc image file, you may be confusing it with an EMC file, which is a Striata Reader Encrypted Document file.

You can open an EMC file with Striata Reader.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the ECM file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open ECM files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert an ECM File

The PakkISO tool can be used to convert an ECM file into a mountable and burnable BIN file. If that doesn't work, try the program mentioned in this tutorial at StramaXon.

Note: PakkISO downloads in the 7Z format, so you'll need a program like PeaZip or 7-Zip to open it. The other program mentioned in the StramaXon article uses the RAR format, so you can use the same file unzip tool to open that.

Once you have the ECM file in the BIN format, you can convert BIN to ISO with programs like MagicISO, WinISO, PowerISO, and AnyToISO. Some of these programs, like WinISO, can then convert ISO to CUE if you want your ECM file to ultimately be in the CUE format.

More Help With ECM Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the ECM file and I'll see what I can do to help.