DAEMON Tools is one of the oldest, most popular image-based emulators on the market. While DAEMON Tools is free to use, users have access to Lite and Advanced versions based on their specific needs. DAEMON Tools Lite lets the user create four virtual drives, but DAEMON Tools Advanced offers more virtual drives, including HD DVD and Blu-ray support. Moreover, the Advanced Edition lets the user create image files from any DVD in the drive. However, the free version is the standard when it comes to creating a virtual CD-DVD drive for mounting .iso and other similar image files.
DAEMON Tools Lite is available as a free program for both Windows and Mac OS X users. Installation is rather straight-forward, and it takes a system reboot in order for the program to install properly. Afterward, DAEMON Tools shows up as an icon in the system tray, giving the user access to its tools with a simple right click. From there, the user can configure DAEMON Tools or browse and "mount" an available image file. Upon mounting the image, users can open and view the contents or run the file. Furthermore, it's possible to use DAEMON Tools to burn the image file to a CD or DVD.
DAEMON Tools supports a variety of image files, such as .mdx, .ccd, .bin, .nrg and .isz. With the Advanced Edition, users can create .iso, .mds and .mdx images from DVD discs. Along with creating four virtual drives, DAEMON Tools Lite offers customization, letting the user change virtual drive letters, DVD regions and more. It also offers image password protection and image managing tools. Another advantage of using DAEMON Tools is that it works much quicker than a standard CD drive, and it supports a vast range of formats that most computer drives do not support.
DAEMON Tools is an invaluable piece of software that virtually replicates a CD-ROM drive for downloaded programs that require a physical installation. This clever interface creates a fake disc location that can be utilized by other applications. The whole process works through an automatic image mounting protocol that allows unauthorized products to cultivate the appearance of an official release. This mechanism effectively tricks your computer into thinking a certified CD is uploading the information that is actually being provided by your hard drive. Because it grants separate spaces for the artificial disc, there is no chance of confusion with your physical CD-ROM unit.