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What do you find as the best ISO / disk image mounting software out there?

You can give a nod to $$$ alternatives, but I'm looking for the best freeware and support for DVD-size images as well.

EDIT I actually use Virtual Clone Drive regularly, and would recommend that over anything else.

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Which version of Windows? –  mmyers May 1 '09 at 12:24
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See also stackoverflow.com/questions/46741/… –  Sam Hasler May 1 '09 at 13:56
    
Virtual Clone Drive worked great for me until I tried to uninstall it in a cleanup exercise. It completely messed up all CD related operations on a Vista machine. No amount of driver reinstalling helped. –  Peter Stuer Feb 9 '10 at 13:23
    
Shopping and service recommendations are now off topic per the updated FAQ. –  sysadmin1138 Apr 17 '12 at 11:04

17 Answers 17

up vote 42 down vote accepted

I would prefer the free (for non-commercial purposes) version of Daemon Tools Lite.

Some other tools (merged from the other answers):

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4  
Daemon Tools Lite –  setatakahashi May 2 '09 at 19:57
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+1 lord yes. you know how there's a few pieces of software you just love beyond reason, and just have warm fuzzy feelings for. daemon tools is one of those programs –  username May 24 '09 at 18:49
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+1 for Virtual Clone Drive. I install this on every machine I own and love it! –  Hondalex Feb 11 '10 at 0:44
    
virtual clone drive is my winner –  Jim B Feb 15 '10 at 6:09
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this answer is not specific enough. –  djangofan Apr 5 '10 at 23:46

I've been happily un packing them with 7-zip.

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Hm, unpacking != mounting. ;) –  Node May 1 '09 at 12:18
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I know... I've used daemon-tools but it made me feel dirty. –  jms May 1 '09 at 12:22
    
Unpacking and writing to a CD will also give different results to writing an ISO directly to CD. –  Liam May 5 '09 at 16:34

I've always used daemon-tools (remember to untick their adware during the install tho), but Virtual CloneDrive seems good too (and works with windows 7 rc).

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+1 for VCD bookmark –  Node May 1 '09 at 12:24
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+1 for VCD - that's what I stumbled upon when first faced with Windows 7 and daemon tools didn't work. –  Oskar Duveborn May 24 '09 at 18:01

I've used the Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel, available from here. It works only with Windows XP from what I can tell.

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I've successfully used it on Vista –  Sam Hasler May 1 '09 at 13:55
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Technically, it will work but it's crude, at best. On the other hand, it probably has the smallest footprint so it will surely appeal to some. Not my preferred choice though! :) –  CJM Feb 10 '10 at 22:17

My preference is for Virtual Clone Drive or Magic ISO. VCD is one of the few mounting applications i've got to work in Windows 7, both 32 and 64bit.

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+1 for Virtual Clone Drive - just works, no spyware, toolbars or other nasties. Besides, is made by slysoft whom have a lot of respect for anydvd, clonedvd, clonecd –  Wayne Jan 7 '11 at 12:12

I use MagicDisc from MagicISO, besides its free, it works on Vista X64

EDIT: Ok, yes also Virtual Clone Drive is a cool tool, I used it when I was on x86, but at the time I made the change it didn't support x64 and now it does...

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+1 for Virtual Clone Drive, and for editing your response to indicate that it now works on x64 (which it does) –  WaldenL May 2 '09 at 4:38
    
Yeah, and I replaced MagicISO when I saw that here, that's why I love Serverfault.com and stackoverflow... I always learn something new... –  Eugenio Miró May 2 '09 at 5:02

I use Gizmo Drive

Leeched from site:

  Gizmo Drive v2.7.5

  •     Mount ISO, BIN, CUE, NRG files to a virtual CD-ROM drive
  •     Mount VHD files, used with Microsoft Virtual PC
  •     Mount password protected images to a virtual hard drive
  •     Encrypt HD images using a passphrase
  •     Protect vital files from hackers using encrypted HD images
  •     Mount IMG files to a virtual drive
  •     Mount and unmount files from the Windows Shell
  •     Mount and unmount files from the command line
  •     Support for compression and sparse HD images
Supported Platforms: 
* Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit)
* Windows Server 2008 (32-bit/64-bit)
* Windows Vista (32-bit/64-bit)
* Windows Server 2003 (32-bit/64-bit)
* Windows XP (32-bit/64-bit)
* Windows 2000
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By far the best free ISO mounting tool out there is Pismo file mount.

Some highlights:

  • Works great on Windows Vista/7 x64 (not natively x64 but completely compatible)
  • Drives only exist when an ISO is mounted and are removed when there is no ISO mounted
  • Has simple minimalist right click shell integration
  • No Branding or silly logos to speak of (very clean professional feeling program)
  • Unattended installation
  • Small memory footprint
  • Fully featured command line control that is automatically working right after unattended install
  • Plus all the normal features you would expect from an ISO mounting tool
  • Free for corporate use

Some things you will want to pay attention to though is that by default it will not mount the ISO to a drive letter but instead mount it to a UNC path which can cause some software installers to fail when installing from the mounted path. Just make sure you specify that you want Pismo to mount to a drive letter when you are doing the mount and it will work fine.

Here is the unattended install of SQL to demonstrate my real world use of Pismo.

SET MSDNIsoPath=\\itapp\ISO Library\MSDN
SET ScriptPath=%~dp0
SET ScriptPath=%ScriptPath:~0,-1%
SET MountPath=m:
SET pfmMount=pfm mount -m %MountPath%
SET pfmUnMount=pfm unmount

echo -Installing Pismo File Mount
"%ResourcePath%\pfmap-051.exe" /q

echo.
echo Install and configure Microsoft SQL Server 2005 
echo -Installing Standard Edition
%pfmMount% "%MSDNIsoPath%\en_sql_2005_std_x86_dvd.iso"
%MountPath%\Servers\setup.exe /settings "%ScriptPath%\Configuration\Microsoft SQL Server 2005.ini" /qb /norestart
%pfmUnMount%
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My favorite is DEAMON-Tools. You can mount multiple isos at the same time and create virtual drives. Oh, it's free !

It's available for Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

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I had problems with Daemon Tools because various DRM systems objected to it's presence. I use Alcohol 52% (Free Edition) personally. It's fast, effective and easy to use.

[Works on XP, Vista and Win7 x86 or x64 - personally experience on every combination]

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I have a special requirement where the tool has to run portable from a USB stick without installation and to run without admin privileges on Windows XP.

I think none of the tools mentioned above do this and because the way drives are mounted under XP this is not possible. But I thought I'll ask anyway.

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I would have to agree Daemon Tools Lite is the way to go :D

i also got it recommended to me by a friend :D

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I also prefer the Daemon-Tools Lite because I always used them. Also, there exists a gadget for Windows 7, that lets you mount and unmount Images comfortable at your desktop.

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I always used Daemon, but first they star charging and now they added spyware, Alcohol 52% is ok but I don't like toolbars in my browsers, Magic ISO does the job but is quite nasty to use, very complicated, so the winner is Virtual CloneDrive, it's Daemon but updated and spyware free, everybody uses Daemon because back at the time when it was free it was the best mounting tool out there, but now it's not the only one.

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MagicDisc is freeware (by magiciso) - works great - been using it for years.

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I'm a big fan of WinCDEmu myself. Acts as an external removable drive. You can mount any number of ISO files without needing to configure drive letters and the like, and ejecting the disc removes the virtual drive and letter. It's also Open Source

Used to use Daemon Tools, but this solution makes more sense to me. Whether it has copy-protection features or not I'm not sure, but it certainly works for everything I need it to do.

Plus there's a beta portable version for those of you who need it.

Really, it boils down to a fast, efficient, zero config solution. I'm fairly certain it runs as a driver of all things, not a straight application.

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+1 for WinCDEmu for its simplicity and its ability to auto-remove the virtual drive after unmounting the ISO. –  i.am.noob Dec 25 '10 at 13:58

A summary of ISO mounting software was recently posted to the LOPSA Discuss mailing-list by Ed Harvey; his mail is here: http://lopsa.org/pipermail/discuss/2010-August/005830.html

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