OK, just suppose: you have this great game you’ve been using for years on your desktop or laptop system, but it requires that the CD be in the drive in order for the game to work. Up to now, that’s not been a problem, but you just got this cool new netbook and you want to play the game on the road. Only problem is, netbooks don’t have an optical drive. (Real-world solution for me was a Scrabble program from Hasbro for my wife to use on her netbook on the long commute to and from work.) So what to do…?
Depending on the CD, there’s a possible solution to be had in a product called PowerISO.
One of the components in this tool is the Virtual Drive Manager. If you create an ISO image of the CD and keep that on your hard drive (I put mine in the “C:\users\steve\ISO Images” folder), you can use the Virtual Drive Manager to “mount” the ISO file as a drive letter. To the computer, it looks just like a physical CD drive.
(Further instructions on how to use PowerISO and the Virtual Drive Manager can be found in the tutorials section of the PowerISO web site.)
Recommended: first create the .ISO file, mount it as a drive letter, then do the installation from that drive letter. Some programs will look for the CD on the same drive letter as that from which they were installed.
Also note: some DVDs will let you do this as well, so you can play the movie from the .ISO image without having an optical drive on your system. So you can watch some movies “on the go” on your netbook.
PS: In no way should the above instructions be construed as advocating any form of illegal copying of software, movies or other intellectual property. I am a firm believer, however, that making a copy of your legitimately-owned or –licensed media for the purposes of backing up or other reasonable use is, or should be, part of the terms of your license to use said media. Basically, this means you can do pretty much what you want with it for your own use, or to facilitate your using it, but not for distribution to others.