How to Use Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel
The ISO format is an extremely common method of transmitting disks via the internet, as the contents of the CD or DVD are packaged together into a single ‘image’ file which is very easy to upload to a web server or FTP site. ISO image files are designed to be burnt directly to physical media, using a tool like Nero Burning Rom, but there are applications which can circumvent the need to waste disks by creating a ‘virtual drive’ to mount the image to. Once the ISO has been mounted, the host computer can read the contents of the disk as if it were a real one inserted in an actual drive.
Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel from Microsoft is one such application that allows you to do this.
Download the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel ZIP archive from the downloads page and double-click to open it. Click Browse and select a folder to deposit the contents of the archive into.
Browse to the location in Windows Explorer and copy the VCdRom.sys file. Browse to the Drivers directory, situated (usually) in C:\windows\system32\drivers and paste the file into this location.
The VCdRom.sys file is necessary for the tool to function and must be located in this directory. It is not automatically moved there during installation, so has to be transported manually.
Locate the VCdControlTool.exe file that was extracted in Step One and double-click it to launch the application. Click Driver Control and choose Install Driver, then locate the VCdRom.sys file in the Drivers directory. Click Start and OK.
Click Add Drive to create a virtual drive on your computer. The tool assigns it the next available letter (so if you have physical drives going up to “G” then the virtual drive will be designated “H”).
Click the virtual drive and choose Mount. In the window that opens, select the ISO file you wish to mount to your new virtual drive and choose Open.
The ISO is mounted and, if it is Autoplay enabled, will run and display the splash screen of whatever application is on the CD/DVD. Install the application as normal.
If the CD/DVD contains just files, and is not an application disk, then browse the contents using Windows Explorer. The disk will appear within My Computer as if it were a normal physical one. Extract the required files by copying them to your hard drive.
When you have finished with the mounted disk image, click Unmount to remove it from the virtual drive. Click Driver Control and Stop, then Remove Driver to disable the virtual drive. This will save on system resources.
Tips & Advice
- Always close the virtual drive session when you are finished with the mounted image, to save on resources.
- You can add additional drives, if you have enough resources, by running through the steps in the main guide multiple times. Note that this may impact the performance of your system, particularly if it is an older computer.
- Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel is very lightweight and performs well but there are better solutions on the market, which are easier to use and also free. Try Alcohol 120 or Daemon Tools if you are having problems with Virtual CD-ROM.