How Can I Mount a CD Image Without Burning It to a Disk?

February 9, 2009

in applications,digital media

by Tina Gasperson

You just spent an hour or more downloading the CD image for your favorite game or the latest version of OpenOffice, and you realized you’re fresh out of blank CDs – or worse than that, your CD burner is on the blink. There is an alternative – download and install an application that works as a virtual CD drive and use it to open and run any compatible CD image.

One of the best software programs for optical media emulation is DAEMON-Tools, and you can download the 7MB “lite” version for free. Once it is installed, the DAEMON icon sits in the taskbar waiting for a command from you. It’s easy to use.



Say you’ve downloaded a file called openoffice.iso and saved it in your Desktop folder, and you want to run this file as though it were a CD in your CD drive. Right click on the icon in your taskbar and click on Virtual CD/DVD-ROM. You’ll see “Device 0:” and then a drive letter such as D:, E:, or F:. that is labeled “Empty.” Place your cursor over this label and then click on “Mount Image.” Browse to the desktop and find your file, openoffice.iso, highlight it, and click “Open.” The image is now mounted on the virtual CD drive. To run the CD, on your desktop taskbar click “Start”, “My Computer”, and locate the virtual CD drive. Double click that drive and you will see all the files included in the image. Find and double click the executable file, usually called Setup or Install. Follow the instructions, and your program is installed, without having to burn a CD. Your program may require the CD to be in the drive in order to run, so remember to follow the same mounting procedure each time you run the program, except that you won’t need to reinstall the application each time. DAEMON-Tools Lite lets you add up to four virtual CD drives at a time, but if you need more than that, the full version allows up to 34 virtual devices.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.