Copyright © 2005, David Pierce

How to Create Virtual CDs

David Pierce
June 13, 2001


Some applications use one or more CDs and require that you shuffle these CDs back and forth while you use the program.  This can be very annoying, to put it mildly.  By creating images of the CDs on your hard drive and mounting these as Virtual CDs, you can often get an application to work without ever touching the CD again.

Step 1: Create .iso CD image files

There are a number of applications that can be used for this.  I have found ISO Recorder to be both free and  easy to use.  You can download this from its creator at this address:  As of this writing, it is necessary to use the V2 beta version ( of the application if you have Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Once you install ISO Recorder, you can simply pop a CD into your CD-ROM drive, bring up a Windows Explorer pointed at "My Computer" (e.g., by simultaneously hitting the Windows Start key and E at the same time), right-click on the CD-ROM drive icon and select "Create image from CD".  If inserting the CD causes an application to automatically start (e.g., an installer), then quit that application before trying to create the CD image.

Step 2: Mount the image as a virtual CD drive

Install VCdControlTool.  This is an unsupported tool from Microsoft.  The following describes the process for Windows XP, SP2:

  1. Run the VCdControlTool installer by clicking here.
  2. In response to the "File Download - Security Warning" dialog box, click "Run".
  3. In response to the "Internet Explorer - Security Warning" dialog box, confirm that the name of the software is "Virtual CD Control Panel for Windows XP" and the Publisher is "Microsoft Corporation".  If so, click on "Run", otherwise click on "Don't Run".
  4. In the "Unzip to folder" edit box, replace the default with "C:\VirtualCD" or the path to a folder of your choice.
  5. Click the Unzip button to extract the files.
  6. Click OK on the "WinZip Self-Extractor: 3 file(s) unzipped successfully" dialog box.
  7. Click Close.
  8. Open folder C:\VirtualCD.
  9. Open the file "readme.txt" and follow the instructions in there.  In step 1, "%systemroot%" refers to your Windows folder, probably "C:\WINDOWS".  (You will only need to copy the VCdRom.sys file once--you don't have to go through all of these steps for every virtual CD drive you create.)  After clicking on the "Mount" button, as described in the readme.txt file, browse to the ISO file that you previously created.  Hit "Open", then check the "Persistent mount" checkbox and hit OK.
  10. Repeat the Add Drive and Mount steps for each virtual CD drive that you want to create.

Once you have done this, your computer will behave as if it has several CD-ROM drives, each with a CD permanently installed in it.  You can install software from the virtual CDs just as you would from a real CD.

NOTE: Some software will happily work as long as the CD it is looking for is in any CD-ROM drive.  Other software will only look for the CD in a particular drive.  For the latter, you can use the Virtual CDRom Control Panel to "Eject" an ISO image from a virtual CD-ROM drive and mount a different ISO image in its place.  In this way you can make the pickier software work, but you might prefer to just use the physical CD-ROM drive for such software.