WinCDEmu is a free, open source program that can mount disk images (.ISO, .IMG, .CUE, .BIN and .RAW) into virtual CD or DVD drives. It works invisibly without a user interface, and simply allows the user to double click on an image file to mount a CD/DVD image into a virtual drive, and to right-click “eject” to unmount.
There are many excellent freeware programs that can mount disk images into virtual drives. What is interesting about this one, however, is that it is completely integrated into Windows explorer, such that mounting an image file becomes a simple matter of double clicking on the disk image file (as you would any other file), and – voila! it is mounted.
If you don’t know what mounting a disk image means, here’s a quick description: a disk image file (of which .ISO files are the most common) is a CD or DVD saved locally on the hard drive as a single file, and which can be burned to a CD or DVD with a program like Imgburn.
“Mounting” this file to a virtual drive means that your system will behave as if a real, physical CD or DVD was inserted into a real drive. Virtual drives are much faster than physical drives.
More notes below:
- Image formats supported: I’m quoting the website; “supports ISO, CUE, BIN/RAW/IMG file formats as well as SMB network shares and includes a workaround for Windows cache bug“
- Number of drives supported: unlimited.
- Supports network shares.
The verdict: there are many freeware disk image mounting options but I like the fact that this one is invisibly integrated into Windows explorer and that it supports such a wide range of image formats. I reviewed MagicDisc previously which has the added option of creating image files from CDs/DVD, but if you do not want that functionality (or if you already have it via your CD/DVD burning program), the WinCDEmu may be a more attractive option.
Version tested: 2.2
Compatibility: Windows XP and Vista, 32 and 64 bit.
Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 783K).