Disk image files contain digital copies of hard drives, CDs, DVDs and other storage media. Converting a hard drive or disc to an image file backs up your important data should you ever lose the original. It also gives you quicker access to data, games, music, movies and software. You can reduce wear and tear to the drive or disc by working with a virtual copy instead of the original. Use a virtual-drive program to mount and access disk images on your computer.
Install the freeware application Gizmo Drive. It supports CD and DVD images in ISO, BIN, CUE and NRG format. The program also mounts virtual hard drives stored in IMG format. Gizmo Drive gives you quick access to your image files by installing a virtual-drive shortcut that you can access by right-clicking in Windows Explorer. It also features a command-line mode for expert users. Gizmo Drive supports password-protected and compressed image files as well.
Download the freeware program Virtual CloneDrive. It installs a virtual drive in Windows Explorer that you can access through the “My Computer” icon, just like a physical CD or DVD drive. You also can double-click on an image file to mount it in Windows. Virtual CloneDrive supports CD and DVD disk images in ISO, BIN and CCD format, but does not work with hard-disk images. The program can create up to eight virtual drives, letting you mount and access multiple image files at the same time.
Use WinImage to mount disk images. It lets you mount disk images for a variety of removable media formats, including CD, DVD, floppy and flash drives. The program also gives you access to hard drive images but does not let you mount them directly in Windows Explorer. WinImage lets you create and edit image files as well. You can insert or remove files from an image and defragment it like a physical drive. The developers of WinImage offer a free, 30-day trial version.