Storage

Creating a virtual CD-ROM to install software for virtual machines

The Virtual-CD-ROM control panel lets you create a virtual cd drive on your computer. If you are a fan of Virtual PC this tool can be very helpful. Learn how to use it in this post.

The Virtual CD-ROM control panel lets you create a virtual CD drive on your computer. If you are a fan of Virtual PC, this tool can be very helpful. Learn how to use it in this post.

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Microsoft released Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel v2.0.11, a utility for Windows XP/Vista that allows you to create a virtual CD-ROM drive on your computer. This is especially helpful if you have a library of ISO images.

Let's begin by downloading the software to a Windows computer of your choice. Next, extract the files to your %systemroot%system32drivers folder and double-click the VcdControlTool.exe and click Driver Control. Click the Install Driver button, navigate to the %systemroot%system32drivers folder, choose VcdRom.sys, and click Open and Start and OK.

You are now ready to click Add Drive in order to add a virtual drive letter. After you click Add Drive, the drive letter appears. Choose Mount to mount your ISO image to the virtual drive letter. You can now use the drive letter as if it were a physical CD-ROM device. When you are finished with the ISO image, choose Eject |Remove Drive | Driver Control | Stop | Remove Driver | OK.

14 comments
brent.russell
brent.russell

I actually have a possible use for it. I install images to corporate PCs and we have a piece of Japanese software that will not install any other way than by CD, hard coded paths. Which makes it very slow to install and due to licensing and user environment issues we cannot incorporate it in the image load. So a virtual CD in the image would hopefully speed up the load process immensely. Time to build a new image and see if it works.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Can somebody give me a use case or some kind of IT usage where this would come in handy? Normally I manage my machines via LANDesk or Enteo or something and push software out, where or when would I need this?

ABunakov
ABunakov

Why not just use DAEMON Tools? Not only it handles .iso images, but also .nrg - Nero images, which are also common. And it's still free, easy to setup, and is much more versatile solution in general.

eclipse63
eclipse63

You will have to share with us if this works and then share with us this "piece of Japanese software that will not install any other way than by CD, hard coded paths." Rich

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

and it is not all about how it can help you. This offers an option to mount many ISO images to drive letters and share them for use on your network.

Jeff Adams
Jeff Adams

The Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel is referenced in this Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: "How to customize Windows PE by using the source files that are included with the Microsoft SMS 2003 Operating System Deployment (OSD) Feature Pack" http://support.microsoft.com/kb/916902 The specific link in the MKBA is: Download the Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel package now. http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/b/6/7b6abd84-7841-4978-96f5-bd58df02efa2/winxpvirtualcdcontrolpanel_21.exe I can vouch that the VCDCP works in Windows 2000, XP, 2003; I've never tried it in Vista or 2008. -Jeff

---TK---
---TK---

I'll stick with Daemon tools! I have been using this tool for about 3 or 4 years, and it has yet to fail me.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just don't get why you need this specifically. Why not use a SAN share? How about mapping from a NAS? I really want to understand, but I just don't get what the point of it is....

Jeff Adams
Jeff Adams

Yes, I use ISO images and virtual drives extensively. I have hundreds of virtual servers at work that do not have physical CD-ROM drives, so the only way to present a CD/DVD to them is to mount ISO images. I also have hundreds of physical servers that do have physical CD-ROM drives, but getting media into those drives is usually inconvenient. Instead, I make an ISO of the media that needs to be used, put the ISO on a network share, and mount that ISO remotely on the server that needs it. We have a collection of hundreds of ISO images on our network. This way, everyone (who needs it) has access to the media without having to hunt it down or worry about the media being scratched/damaged. Another place I'm making use of virtual CD's is on my mom's PC. I'm her tech support and she lives hours away from me. Rather than trying to have her remember where her CD's are or which CD's are which (she has a few CD-based games), I have simply mounted all of her CD's as ISO images. So she has about 10 virtual CD drives, with her Windows XP CD, several game CDs, Maps & Streets CD, etc all available, all the time. And I installed the applications from the mounted virtual CDs, so they all know which drive letter to look at when they are run. This makes remote, parental support that much easier. :-) Regarding the sharing of virtual CD, I need to make a correction. I have DAMON Tools Lite (4.30.1) on one of my PCs at home. Windows does let me share a virtual drive created by DAEMON Tools, where as it will not let me share a virtual drive created by Microsoft's Virtual CD Control Panel. -Jeff

eclipse63
eclipse63

Thank you for clarifying the question about compression. I was totally unaware of the inability to share a virtual drive. Interesting. So do you use ISO and virtual drives? Rich

Jeff Adams
Jeff Adams

Richard, As you mentioned, ISO images are bit level copies of the physical media. As such, they are not compressed in any way. If you have a CD with 700MB of data on it, you will get a 700 MB ISO image. Also, since the virtual CD's are not physical devices, Windows will not let you share them (at least, I've never been able to). Much like, if you map a drive letter to a remote \\Server\Share, you cannot turn around and share your mapped network drive for others to use. -Jeff

eclipse63
eclipse63

I believe that and ISO is a compressed version of the cd without losing any of the data quality or material. In some cases when you make a copy of a cd, some material doesn't transfer because of security where as an ISO done at bit level is an exact copy. Also, unless you have many cd drives on your SAN, then this is a good alternative to share a cd. I didn't take the time to "research" my answer, but this is as I understand ISO files. I have a library of ISO files on my laptop which helps from having to carry a bunch of cd's with me and I can burn on the fly if I am at a remote site. Its pretty handy. Please feel free to correct my statements if there are any errors.

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