Run ISO Files With Free Virtual CloneDrive

image Virtual CloneDrive is a small freeware application that allows you to mount image files, from a hard drive, as a virtual CD or DVD drive, just as if you had inserted the application into a physical CD/DVD drive.

To explain briefly: a disk image is a computer file containing the complete contents and structure of a data storage medium or device, such as a hard drive, CD or DVD. As such, a disk image contains all the information necessary to replicate the structure and contents layout, as well as the actual contents, of a storage device.

Generally, operating systems, particularly Linux and its many derivatives are available for download on the Internet packaged as an image file, e.g. an .ISO file, or as a .BIN/.CUE file. As well, larger applications can often be packaged for download in this way – Windows 7 RC was a good example.

Since I download and test operating systems and large applications frequently, over the course of the last year I could have easily burned up to 50+ CD’s or DVD’s just to use, or install, the software for testing. But, by having Virtual CloneDrive installed on my test system, I saved time and resources.

Once Virtual CloneDrive is installed on your system it will be assigned a drive letter, and will appear as a drive in Windows Explorer. The following screen capture shows Virtual CloneDrive as drive BD – ROM Drive (G:), on my system.

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To mount an image file navigate to the file (in Windows Explorer), select the file and then and right-click. When the context menu pops up, simply navigate to Mount (Virtual CloneDrive). In this example Drive G:

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Alternatively, you may select “Mount”, from the Tray icon. and follow the process.

An added benefit for those with a larger hard drive is, you now have the option of converting your CDs and DVDs into files that run directly from your hard drive. Simply click on a desktop icon to launch a virtual optical drive.

You can share virtual CDs, photo CDs, and disc-based applications over a network, with access rates up to 200 times faster than physical CDs; boosting the performance of photo CDs, and disc-based applications.

Fast facts:

Supports all common image formats including ISO, BIN, CCD

Supports up to 8 virtual drives at one time

Easy to use – just double-click an image file to mount as a drive

Virtual CloneDrive is freeware

System Requirements: Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit).

Download at: Download.com

A caveat: I have found, in the time I’ve been using this application, that while most CD/DVD image files can be executed using Virtual CloneDrive, I have run into the occasional image that cannot be executed with this application.

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7 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, CD/DVD Cloning, CD/DVD Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, Utilities, Virtualization, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

7 responses to “Run ISO Files With Free Virtual CloneDrive

  1. Pingback: Ozies Blog

  2. Siam

    Thanks for the write-up, Bill. I use Daemon Tools Lite. At the risk of sounding clueless, is there any difference? And is one better than the other?

    • Hi Siam,

      Difficult to say if one is better than the other, since so much depends on usage. Daemon Tools, for example, can burn CD/DVDs as well – which might be a slight advantage. On the other hand, Virtual CloneDrive can run up to 8 virtual drives, whereas Daemon Tools is restricted to 4. Is this an advantage? Maybe. But that depends strictly on usage.

      Bill

  3. Hi Bill,
    Like Siam the old Daemon tools was an old reliable program I used forever.
    That said Virtual Clone Drive has become my new favorite, I like Sly Soft’s products for backing up my DVD’s but its gotten pretty expensive in recent years, still its the best I’ve used.
    Mark