Create Disc Images and Virtual Drives With VirtualDrive Pro

VirtualDrive Pro looks intuitive, but its weak help and odd placement of features make it a chore to learn.
Sometimes a name just doesn't do a program justice. VirtualDrive Pro ($48), a great little program for mounting images as virtual drives (up to 23 of them), also creates them--from files and folders or existing media. Even better, it burns images to physical media. The program works with CDs, as well as DVDs and Blu-ray media that are not copy protected.

VirtualDrive Pro's main interface is easy enough to get around, if obtuse in spots. A pane to the left shows your current virtual drives, optical and removable drives, and the cabinets that are VirtualDrive Pro's way of maintaining a database of images. A pane to the right shows you cover info for games, and unprotected movie and music disc. Beneath that is another pane that displays the selected disc's contents.

Although vendor FarStone's Web site calls VDP's interface "intuitive," I can't completely agree. The help file assumes way too much knowledge and the learning curve is steeper than it should be. For example, you increase the number of drives under the View menu (of all places). And you can't mount an image using VirtualDrive Pro's program interface. You must exit to Windows Explorer, right-click over the drive, and choose Insert. I'd also prefer that the program use the Windows icons for the virtual drives; its icon is a bit plain in comparison.

Despite the somewhat clunky interface, VirtualDrive Pro worked perfectly in my tests. It wrote CD, DVD, and 25GB Blu-ray media just fine, as well as created images from media without copyright protection. The program will create an image from a copy-protected DVD movie, but the resulting images won't play back.

You can convert the program's own VCD format to ISO, though it might be better if you were allowed to create images in ISO format to begin with. I did not test the utility with game discs--but if mounting game discs as virtual drives is what you seek, you can try out VirtualDrive Pro out for 14 days and see if it works for you before paying the fee for a one-user license.

VirtualDrive Pro is a capable all-in-one disc image manipulation and burning program. However, a few touches from a top-flight interface designer wouldn't be out of order.

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