WinArchiver is a shareware archiving software and this is the standalone virtual drive component from it which is completely free. The creators, Power Software, also develop the excellent PowerISO. In addition to being able to mount up to 23 virtual drives and selecting a specific drive letter for each, WinArchiver Virtual Drive has another trick up its sleeve. That is the ability to mount just about any type of file archive as a virtual drive. Zip, 7z, RAR, WIM, CAB and many other types of archive can be mounted without actually extracting the archive first, useful for large movie or game archives. Over 25 disc image formats are also supported. Works on Windows 98 and above.
gBurner Virtual Drive is another free ISO mounting software that uses the Power Software virtual disc driver. It’s almost identical to WinArchiver Virtual Drive apart from it supports 16 virtual drives and not 23.
While ImDisk is certainly a bit more complicated to use than the other tools here, it is very powerful because in addition to the option to mount ISO CD or DVD ROM images, you can also create removable or fixed virtual hard disks and floppy drives. These can be created in system memory to behave like a RAM disk which can be written to, and then saved out to a .img image file while being reloaded and reused at a later date. ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver is installed and accessed via a Control Panel entry, and is compatible with Windows NT up to Windows 8/8.1 64-bit.
8. Gizmo Drive
The Gizmo Drive tool is part of a larger suite of tools called Gizmo Central, although you can turn off the other tools during install. This is the only free virtual disc emulator that can create an image from both disc and folder. There are some other useful options like mounting virtual hard disc (VHD) files, and also a function to burn a folder or ISO to disc. Gizmo Drive also has a very handy function which is the built in support to create a RAM Disk. Have a read of our RAM disk benchmark article to see how it performs. It works on Windows 2000 up to Windows 7 64-bit.
Be careful during installation because Daemon Tools will ask to install adware. You will need to select the Free License during the install process, and there is also a feature pre installed by default which is an online service called Mountspace. The number of supported image formats to mount ISOs is huge and you can also create an image from a physical CD, DVD or Blu-Ray disc. Up to 4 virtual drives are supported including a SCSI virtual drive which can emulate music and game disc protections. A more recent feature adds burning an image to CD/DVD via Astroburn. Supports Windows 98 and upwards.
The free version of Alcohol 52% supports up to 6 virtual drives, RMPS protection emulation which can help with game and music disc DRM etc, an option to create images from physical discs and a CD/DVD manager that gives detailed information about drives and discs. There is also a freely downloadable Audio Converter add-on option which can rip music discs to MP3. Alcohol 52% Free Edition works on Windows 2000 up to and including Windows 8/8.1.
The free versions of Alcohol now require you to install “Smart File Advisor” and you cannot deselect it, trying to uninstall later will uninstall Alcohol 52% as well. For this reason we recommend you only use Alcohol if you specifically need one of its features.