Even as optical discs start going out of fashion, we are likely to encounter disc images even more. As software sizes increase, they are a convenient way to distribute an entire application in a single bundle.
Disc images are also a great way to back up your existing media. Your Audio / Video CDs and DVDs can be backed up to your hard disk in original quality by making disc images of them. However you do need some way to conveniently access the data on these discs without resorting to burning them onto a disc again. WinCDEmu is exactly such a software.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]There are many disc emulation software available, and many support more features, but WinCDEmu has many advantages of its own. First of all it is open source — which may not be as big an advantage but it does give a warm fuzzy feeling. Secondly, it is extremely simple to use, it barely has any UI at all; in fact it has no UI except for its configuration and to select a drive letter for your image. Thirdly, unlike other such software, WinCDEmu does not clutter your system with icons for virtual CD drives which aren't being used. No drive letters are reserved, virtual drives are created as you mount images, and removed as you eject them. Finally, unlike many other such applications, WinCDEmu does not have a limit on the number of drives it can mount at once.
With WinCDEmu you simply double click on the image you wish to mount in a virtual CD / DVD drive, and it pops up a dialog to let you select a drive letter. Simply click on OK and you're done! Optionally you can turn even this little bit of UI off and have Windows automatically manage drive letters for you — in which case you'll just have to double click an image to mount it! As we already said there is no limit to how many discs you can mount as long as you don't run out of alphabets! Unmounting is likewise simple, just eject the virtual drive.
WinCDEmu supports the popular ISO, CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, and IMG disc image formats so it is unlikely you will come across a disc format that it cannot mount. WinCDEmu is available for all versions of Windows from XP to 7, and can even be compiled to work with Windows 2000 for those with the know-how.
For those wanting to take WinCDEmu on the go, it is even available as a portable application. The application is a mere 500kB download and can be downloaded from its website.