Windows

The 4 Best Free Alternatives to DAEMON Tools for Mounting Image Files

James Hirtz Updated 03-04-2020

Sometimes you come across a file type you’ve never seen before. It’s a disk image file, but you don’t know what it means to mount that file and create a virtual drive. Depending on your operating system version and file type, you might need a third party program like DAEMON Tools.

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For years, DAEMON Tools remained the first-choice software for mounting these files. However, free alternatives to DAEMON Tools exist and continue to become more competitive.

So, why pay outright? Try these three free alternatives to DAEMON Tools for mounting image files.

Do I Need a Virtual Drive?

Before downloading any software, you might wonder if you need a virtual drive. You only really need a virtual drive if you want to mount disk image files. Disk image files are digital copies of optical media such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray disks.

It is possible to rip the entire contents of optical media and then mount it with image mounting software. The software installs a virtual optical drive on your PC, which functions exactly the same as a normal drive. But instead of physical media, you feed it image files.

You can then access the disk image file as if you had put a physical disk into your computer. It’s useful when you download software or applications but want to avoid burning them to a disk. Just mount your chosen software in the virtual drive.

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DAEMON Tools Lite

daemon tools lite mount interface

There exists a free version of the DAEMON Tools product line, DAEMON Tools Lite. However, this version does come with ads. For the ad trade-off, DAEMON Tools Lite mounts images, VHDs, and ZIP archives.

It detects these image types: .MDX, .CCD, .BWT, .VMDK, .MDS, .ISZ, .NRG, .VDI, .MDF, .CDI, .VHD, .ZIP, .ISO, .IMG, .B5T, .B6T, .TC, .CUE, and .ISCSI.

As a free user, you can only mount four virtual drives.

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Download: DAEMON Tools Lite (Free, Ad-Free Version: $5.99)

Alternatives to DAEMON Tools

If you want to find alternatives, don’t worry. Maybe you’re after a simpler software and don’t have any use for exotic file types. Regardless of your reasons, here are three good alternatives to DAEMON Tools that won’t cost you a penny.

1. Use Windows 10’s Mounting Feature for ISO

If you’re just looking to mount an ISO image, there’s no need to install any third-party software. Here are three ways to do it before installing any software:

  • Right-click the ISO image and select Mount.
  • Just double-click the ISO image to mount it.
  • Click on the ISO image, press the Disc Image Tools tab, and then choose Mount.

This mounting method can save you some time if you’ve just learned how to create an ISO image of your Windows system How to Create an ISO Image of Your Windows System Need to backup and restore Windows without backup tools? It's time to learn how to make an ISO image of your Windows PC. Read More .

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2. WinCDEmu

wincdemu portable screen

The first freeware and open source program is WinCDEmu. Right off the bat, you’ll notice the much more minimalist design for this program compared to DAEMON Tools.

When you open WinCDEmu’s settings you’ll see they consist of drive letter policy, your language, and whether you want to require administrator rights (UAC) to mount an image.

While WinCDEmu doesn’t cover all the same types as DAEMON Tools, it supports many of the major formats. The mountable image file types are: .ISO, .CUE, .NRG, .MDS, .BIN, .CCD and .IMG.

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WinCDEmu offers a portable version too. This special build of WinCDEmu doesn’t require an installation (just a quick driver install), so it’s useful if you don’t want to keep a mounting program installed. Also, you’ll have access to an unlimited amount of drives.

Download: WinCDEmu (Free)
Download: WinCDEmu – Portable Version (Free)

3. Virtual CloneDrive

virtual clone drive examples

Virtual CloneDrive functions in a similar way to WinCDEmu. On installation, you agree to associate it with certain file formats. Specifically, you can choose between CCD, DVD, ISO, IMG, UDF, and BIN disk image formats.

Open the program to get a few more drive options. You can choose to replace your virtual drive icons with that of sheep (virtual sheep), keep a history of your recent disk mounts, auto-mount your last image, show a tray icon, and the eject command unmounts image files. Of these, the history setting offers the most advantage since it makes it easy to swap between recent images.

You can also alter the number of drives available at a time. However, it caps out when you hit fifteen.

Download: Virtual CloneDrive (Free)

4. Alcohol Portable

alcohol portable interface

Alcohol Portable offers another alternative where you don’t need to install the software. While it does have a set-up file, it simply creates a folder with all the program contents. Once you’re in the program, you can remove it with one click.

Hit File then select Exit + Remove Device Driver and Service. It’s a great option if you don’t want to leave a footprint just to mount one single file.

Alcohol Portable is easy to use too. Drag your image file onto Alcohol Portable, and it will mount itself. By right clicking your image file, you can choose to unmount the image file or set its drive letter as well.

The only downside is unlike the other virtual drives, you can’t locate a support list of what file types work within the app. However, there’s no problem mounting common file types like ISO or MDS.

Download: Alcohol Portable (Free)

Explore Programs Like Daemon Tools

If you’re looking for a free alternative to Daemon Tools, all these programs cover the most common file types. Plus, if you need to use Daemon Tools, you can always use Daemon Tools Lite for free. Just decide how frequently you use a file mounting software and the file types you come across.

Are you looking to use disk image files for operating systems other than Windows? Consider looking into how to extract ISO files with Linux How to Extract ISO Files With Linux How do you view an ISO disk image in Linux? Can you unpack ISOs in the terminal? Here's everything you need to know. Read More . If you’d rather apply what you know with Windows, why not create a bootable USB from an ISO with these tools Create a Bootable USB From an ISO With These 10 Tools Want to create a bootable USB drive from an ISO file? We've got the ten best bootable USB pendrive creators around. Read More .

Related topics: Disk Image, Virtual Drive.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Drew
    May 22, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Daemon Tools lite is a known malware vector. Even when unchecking the opt-in options in the setup, it installs code that accesses malware sites, which are very persistent. If you value your security and sanity, avoid Daemon tools altogether. There are reports that the pro version is shipped without malware, but I wouldn't risk it, and considering their underhanded practices in the free version, I would never support that product.

    I used Daemon tools for years, and never knew it was the source of my problems until finally stumbling upon other people's reports of it's nasty practices on malware removal help sites. A quick search for Daemon Tools malware will bring to light these underhanded tricks and backdoor installations. Hope you have a safe and malware-free online experience!

  2. DH
    December 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    WinCDEMu
    is a decent share

    +1

  3. khalid
    December 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    thanks Tim for great post.
    Daemon Tools Lite Free

  4. altugatik
    April 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Installed Daemontolls Light and using just the gadget on Win7. Very handy.

  5. Sgreen4
    April 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Try MagicDisc (which I use) or OSFMount which my friend uses. It can mount nearly ANY type of virtual disc, unix, vmware, and more!

  6. Tim Brookes
    March 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I've had plenty of issues with DAEMON and Win7, especially 64bit (though apparently a lot of the issues have been fixed these days).

    Glad CloneDrive worked out for you. Hope you're well, Jack!

  7. Guy
    March 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Virtual clonedrive is perfect. it does everything with ease and has never failed to work for me. the right click to mount is easy and 8 drives mean you can rock through it all.

  8. Josh Fox
    March 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I've been using Virtual CloneDrive and Alcohol 52% for a long time depending on my needs. Alcohol mounts a lot more image types, but uses a little more resources than Virtual CloneDrive. It does have Explorer integration. If you have it associated with the image files, all you need to do is double-click on the image to mount it. Or if you set another default program after associating Alcohol, you can right-click and choose "Mount Image".

    • Tim Brookes
      March 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

      I used to rely on Alcohol when I primarily used Windows, for some reason I always found it a bit nicer to work with than DAEMON Tools, which has on occasion thrown up some BSODs.

  9. Boussakka
    March 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Thanks Tim
    i think MagicDisc is the best mounting image free tool

  10. Jack Cola
    March 11, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I wish this post was published 2 days ago. I needed a Virtual Drive Clone so I could install a CD on my netbook because the Daemon Tools version I had didn't work with Windows 7.

    Anyway, I settled for Virtual CloneDrive which is even better than Daemon Tools

    • Tim Brookes
      March 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

      I've had plenty of issues with DAEMON and Win7, especially 64bit (though apparently a lot of the issues have been fixed these days).

      Glad CloneDrive worked out for you. Hope you're well, Jack!

      • Jack Cola
        March 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

        Yeah, I just couldn't get Daemon tools working on Windows 7, but CloneDrive 100% better! And I am very well? Yourself?

  11. Boussakka
    March 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks Tim
    i think MagicDisc is the best mounting image free tool

  12. Jack Cola
    March 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I wish this post was published 2 days ago. I needed a Virtual Drive Clone so I could install a CD on my netbook because the Daemon Tools version I had didn't work with Windows 7.

    Anyway, I settled for Virtual CloneDrive which is even better than Daemon Tools

  13. Mike
    March 11, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I used to run Microsoft Virtual CD but it seems not to work on every System (at least it didn't on one of my test machines)

    [Broken Link Removed]

  14. Jake
    March 11, 2011 at 6:06 am

    MagicDisc is the free alternative to MagicISO, and it's my favorite. It does exactly what I want, no frills.

  15. Dan
    March 11, 2011 at 5:30 am

    I used to like Daemon Tools, until they started "monetizing" downloads. Now I use VirtualCloneDrive. All is well.

  16. Abbas S
    March 11, 2011 at 5:08 am

    MagicDisc hasn't been mentioned at all? It is very good for daily use...

  17. Versatile
    March 11, 2011 at 4:23 am

    I love virtual clonedrive. There is something really sexy about being able to right click a .ISO file and mounting it on the spot without having to go down to the system tray to mount it.

  18. Lorddresefer
    March 11, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Magic ISO is my favorite followed by daemon tools lite... really surprised u guys put the trial version of alcohol but not MagicISO... talk about ignorance

    • Tim Brookes
      March 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

      Alcohol 52% (the version I have linked to) is freeware, no trial or expiration date! Alcohol 120% is the paid, commercial version which does initially come as shareware.

  19. jasray
    March 11, 2011 at 2:40 am

    No! I use Magic ISO--it's been quite good to me, faithful and friendly.

  20. Azefze
    March 11, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Wow, let's totally ignore MagicIso virtual CD/DVD manager