Installing Windows Vista with a Virtual CD/DVD Drive

I’m surprised at the amount of traffic that one simple post about testing Windows Vista brought to this blog. It looks like a lot of it came from the trackback I sent to’s article about using the “Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP” to mount Vista ISO’s to get Vista to install without burning a DVD. That method has helped me install Vista several different times now, and I’ve since realized that I didn’t really spell it out very well. If you’d like to try out Vista without having to burn a DVD, here’s what you need to do.

  • Download the desired ISO image and save it to an easily accessible location on your hard drive.
  • Download the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP. It’s an executable archive that contains 3 files: VCdRom.sys (the virtual cdrom driver), VCdControlTool.exe (the control panel application), and a readme file. Extract those files somwhere handy and run VCdControlTool.exe
  • Click “driver control,” “install driver”, then browse to and select the VCdRom.sys file. This loads the driver for use in Windows.
  • Close the driver control window.
  • Click “add drive” to obtain an available drive letter for your virtual drive. That drive will appear in the list at the top of the control panel with the message “no image mounted.”
  • Click “mount,” then browse to and select your ISO file. The file will be mounted as a virtual drive at the drive letter you specified.
  • You can now use this new virtual drive as you would a regular DVD drive to install Vista however you’d like. VirtualPC recognizes these virtual drives, but you can also install Vista from within WindowsXP if you’d like.

This technique works for installing linux ISO’s into VirtualPC as well. I hope that makes more sense than before…..


14 thoughts on “Installing Windows Vista with a Virtual CD/DVD Drive

  1. Jon C says:

    I was able to successfully install Vista using the VCDTool. However, now I am trying to install another ISO tool, but the VCDTool doesn’t work with Vista.

    Any suggestions?

  2. Will says:

    I followed your instructions to the letter, but the installation always stops at 50%. Apparently alot of people are having this problem. Do you know a way to get around it?

  3. Danny M says:

    When I install clone CD or Daemon tools on my laptop with windows vista the sistem just shuts down and refuse to start

  4. Mark says:

    i wanted to clean install vista (i.e format the c drive) so is it possible to do so with the virtual drive? will the system boot from the virtual drive?

  5. Janice says:

    I’m having computer melt down…not wanting to spend more money, etc. on this lap top and now my desk top. I don’t have my Vista cd and want to do a complete restore. I type in a date or hit the highlighted dates, but it won’t work. Shoud I just give up and take it to be worked on or tosss the thing outside the window? Any support would be appreciated.

  6. Macovei says:

    It`s the most simple and practical way of doing this and it works with windows xp too. I would like to thank you for this information. And I will get a imac for never to have problems again with viruses or unstable software.

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