Microsoft has an unsupported virtual CD-ROM program. Why buy alcohol or Daemon Tools when you can use this free replacement instead?
Alcohol and Daemon Tools are excellent software packages that allow users to mount ISO files as virtual CD-ROMs. Yes, there is a way to use that ISO without burning it to a disk.
Although I love these tools, Microsoft has a free, 60kb program that does the same thing! Of course, it is not supported, and it is not as friendly as the software listed above. However, it works and it is free.
Here’s the download link:
Here is the readme text. Please note that the readme file is incorrect and that this will work with XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 2008 server. Windows 8 supports ISO files without additional software.
Readme for Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel v126.96.36.199
THIS TOOL IS UNSUPPORT BY MICROSOFT PRODUCT SUPPORT SERVICES
– Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional
1. Copy VCdRom.sys to your %systemroot%\system32\drivers folder.
2. Execute VCdControlTool.exe
3. Click “Driver control”
4. If the “Install Driver” button is available, click it. Navigate to the %systemroot%\system32\drivers folder, select VCdRom.sys, and click Open.
5. Click “Start”
6. Click OK
7. Click “Add Drive” to add a drive to the drive list. Ensure that the drive added is not a local drive. If it is, continue to click “Add Drive” until an unused drive letter is available.
8. Select an unused drive letter from the drive list and click “Mount”.
9. Navigate to the image file, select it, and click “OK”. UNC naming conventions should not be used, however mapped network drives should be OK.
You may now use the drive letter as if it were a local CD-ROM device. When you are finished you may unmount, stop, and remove the driver from memory using the driver control.