More and more software are distributed on ISO images and to install them, you must burn CDs, and launch the installation. While it is great if you like to store tons of CDs, or even if you are using a rewritable medium, it is a bit clumsy and totally avoidable. Here is how.

For illustration purpose, I will use the example of the MSDN Library. The library is available for download under three ISO images. Once the three images are downloaded, you have to burn three CDs in order to install the library. Eh, wait a minute !!! Don't do that !!! What about a virtual CD drive ?

In fact, Microsoft has release a small tool called Windows XP Virtual CD Control Panel. This small tool allows to define one or more virtual drive, and to mount ISO, CDFS, Joliet, and UDF images. Once the image is mounted, it appears as a loaded drive that is recognized like any other physical drive.

Let's get back to my example. I create a drive and mount the first image of the install. When the installer requires the second disk, I unmount the first image and mount the second. The image swap last less than ten seconds.

Believe me, it's a valuable trick that can save you a lot of time : no more burning and lengthy disk swapping.