Virtual CloneDrive allows you to create up to eight virtual drives, which you can use just as your physical CD or DVD drives. This gives the option to open, browse and use compressed image files “on the fly,” without having to decompress them to your hard drive first. The supported image file formats are ISO, BIN, and CCD and they can reside on the hard drive or a network drive. The speed of this free application is quite impressive and Virtual CloneDrive is also extremely easy to use.

Installation

The installation file is 1 516KB; during the installation you will be prompted to select the files that you want to be associated with Virtual CloneDrive and if you don’t have similar software already installed simply select all file formats. You will also get a prompt from Windows, warning you that a component is not certified and asking you to allow the program to install it on your computer – agree and continue with the installation.

Ease of use

Once installed, you don’t have to set up Virtual CloneDrive – it has a very simplified interface and the only option that might confuse you is the “virtual sheep” option – selecting it will simply mark your virtual drives with the sheep icon, so you can easily distinguish them from your real, physical drives.

From a drop-down menu you can select the number of virtual drives that you wish to create or completely disable Virtual CloneDrive. Once you create one or more virtual drives, they will appear in Windows Explorer right next to your physical drives and right-clicking on them will present you with number of options such as mounting an image, inspecting the virtual drive used and free space, share the virtual drive, etc.

If you have the “show tray icon” option checked, then you will see a small disk icon in your systray and right clicking on it will show you all the virtual drives that you have created and let you mount images on each one of them.

Virtual CloneDrive is a freeware and works on Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7

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