Daemon Tools – Run virtual disks so you don’t have to (find them)
Description : Creates 4 virtual disk drives which you can run any CD/DVD image on. Even those with copy protection work fully (Safedisk, Securom, Laserlock and RMPS) and run just as if you had the actual CD/DVD in a real drive. No more damaged disks or lost ones either. Nice addition to the system tray.
Daemon Tools (DT) is one of those apps that I’ve kind of taken for grated over the past few years. Picture this. You really need to find a disk (be it CD or DVD) really quickly underneath the mess of paper work and amongst the other hundred or so disks you have all over the place. Success, you find it, but as it tries to load up, you find its corrupt. Sure enough, it has a massive big scratch on the data side, making it completely useless! Or maybe you like this game really badly, but have to keep putting the disk away when you need to use the drive for something else. Sound familiar?
DT really is the best disk emulation freeware around. Recently (or since I last went to the site anyway) they have released a pro (pro meaning “you gotta pay for this one mate” kind of pro). However, this hasn’t meant that the free version has been left to die, or crippled by nags. Nope, its the same as it’s always been… Darn brilliant.
It creates virtual drives that appear just as real drives would everywhere on your system, and then you can run any cd image as if you had the disk in a disk drive. You do need another app to make the CD/DVD image though. If you have Nero, you can already do this easily enough. If not, then hang around for the next few posts to find out one of the best apps for making disk images.
So, lets talk a little bit more about the actual features…
It has full emulation of the latest copy protection, allowing you to easily rip your own games to a disk image and then use them on a virtual drive.
These include Safedisk, Securom, Laserlock and RMPS protection. This is especially useful for games when you want to keep your new cd nice and clean and scratch free! The DT website even has a full list of the games which work with the latest release of DT, just incase you wonder if you have done something wrong, or its simply too new a game to work virtually.
There are of course applications of DT with general software, for example many development kits have multiple disks, like VB6. I turned them both into an image and then emulated both of them, eliminating the need to switch disks over when the installation needed. Anyone who has installed Age of Empires III knows what I’m talking about when it comes to switching disks during installation!
No doubt that DT is a very useful app, especially if you have many many disks with a few you use on a regular basis. You also have the option of several 3rd party plugins found on the DT website. Although, I can’t say I personally found any use for them, but you may well do.
I guess I should really mention it runs in the system tray. How did I leave that till now? Well that would explain the rather poor image for this post. I don’t have DT running at start up, as it can take up some resources, after all, its dealing with files the size of CD’s, or even DVD’s or, heck, whatever size cd image you are crazy enough to make!
A new feature that I notices recently was how you can use the left click on the tray icon to change virtual disks in the virtual drives, rather than having to use right click and then navigate to do so. It gives it a more natural feel, right click for options, left click for using. How it was meant to be really, would you agree?
Conclusion : If you ever in the future loose or damage a disk after reading this post, then you only have yourself to blame. Easy to use, simplistic design and works like a dream without a hitch. You couldn’t ask any more, (except more drives *cough* like in pro version, you get 32! *cough*). Baring in mind its freeware, you really would be a fool to not even give this a try.
Note : Be aware that you need to uncheck the OPTIONAL addware during installation.