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Mounting Your ISO Image

Now that you have created an ISO image and have it stored on your hard drive, you should learn how to mount the image so that Windows XP will recognize it as a drive. From this point on, the drive should act as if the source CD/DVD you created the ISO image from is inserted.

To mount your image, we'll use a free tool from Microsoft called the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel v2.0.1.1. You can download the Control Panel from Microsoft here. To set up the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel, simply extract the download into a directory. Then, copy the extracted VCdROM.sys file to your %systemroot%\system32\drivers directory. By default Windows XP installation, this will be C:\WINDOWS\system32. Double-click on the VCdControlTool.exe file. The first thing you have to do (a one time operation, luckily) is associate a device driver to the Virtual CD-ROM. To do this, click the Driver Control... button as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 04

Figure 4. Choosing the Driver Control... Button

You are now ready to associate the driver to the Virtual CD-ROM. In the subsequent Virtual CD-ROM Driver Control window, click the Install Driver.. button, shown in Figure 5.

Figure 05

Figure 5. Clicking the Install Driver... Button

Next, point to the VCdROM.sys file, found in the same directory where you originally saved the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel program, and click Open, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 06

Figure 6. Choosing the VCdROM.sys Virtual CD-ROM Driver File

Next, click the Start button in the Virtual CD-ROM Driver Control Panel and then click OK, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 07

Figure 7. Starting the Driver

Next, click the Add Drive button as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 08

Figure 8. Launching the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel and Adding a Drive

At this point, the Control Panel will automatically assign you a virtual drive with a drive letter (in Figure 9, you can see that I had created a drive named Z:). You can add more virtual drives by clicking on the Add Drive button again. But for the purpose of this demonstration, I'll stick to just one virtual drive.

Figure 09

Figure 9. Preparing to Mount an Image on your Virtual Drive

Next, we need to associate an image (also called a mount) to your virtual drive. Click the Mount button and from the subsequent Open window, point to the ISO image that you created earlier. At this point you will be presented with Special Mount Options. If you want your mount to be remembered after a Windows restart, check the Persistent mount option as seen in Figure 10 and then click OK.

Figure 10

Figure 10. Specifying Special Mount Options

Now, you'll be able to use your ISO image as the virtual drive letter that was specified. In my case, I can access my ISO image as drive Z, just as if the disc I created the ISO from was inserted. If you want to virtually eject the CD/DVD, simply launch the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel again and press the Eject button for the Virtual CD/DVD you want to unmount.

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