Monday, November 09, 2009

Powertools - November 2009

Background

In my earlier post in Powertools - October 2009, I had posted about some of the useful tools I use in day today life. In this short post I would like to list few utilities for virtual cd /DVD reader.

Virtual disks

A decade back I remember buying magazines related to computers like Digit which provided free CDs with utilities and shareware like WinZIP, some free games, shareware, some antivirus, basic games etc etc. With the Internet penetration growing day  by day and days of dial ups gone into history books all that seems a distant memory. Broadband has become so affordable that people don't mind staying connected to Internet for longer durations.
With the advent of Internet and broadband services much of the software is distributed in digital form now a days in the form of ISO images. We can mount these images onto the virtual CD or DVD reader and install software without having a physical CD or DVD ROM connected to the PC. I assume in the next few years CD and DVD ROM's will be extinct just like floppy disks.

Virtual CD

Virtual CD has been one of the most simple and elegant utility for many years. It can be used very easily to mount disks and has a very simple configuration. You can get started using virtual CD within minutes. Below is a screen shot of virtual CD control panel.
virtual CD image
With just 7 buttons this is one of the simplest tool I have ever used. Please note that this screen shot is of the version 2.0.1.1. Latest versions of this tool might offer new features.

MagicISO / MagicDisc

Recently while trying to mount SQL server 2008 ISO image I faced some issues and tried MagicISO or MagicDisc as its also known as. This is a feature rich product with a very good user interface. Its easy to use and supports various formats.

Conclusion

  • One of the biggest advantage of using the virtual drives is that it allows access to multiple drives simultaneously.
  • Most of the vendors also claim that the speed is around 200 times faster as compared to physical drives.

There might be other freely available tools for virtual optical discs. I would love to know about those.
 

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