Daemon Tools Lite is a free burning tool that enables you to create and burn images and add virtual DVD drives to your system. These work in the same way as physical DVDs without the need for discs. Instead, store the content on your hard disk and access it with ease.
The ultimate burning tool
Daemon Tools Lite is one of the most popular burning tools out there and for a reason. Its layout has many advantages over its siblings. For one, it's widely compatible and allows for flexibility in burning, as it uses no proprietary container format. It will thus mount most types of disc images, creating ISO, MDS, MDF, and MDX formats of Blu-rays, CDs, and DVDs. You can even burn ISO files to a USB.
Moreover, Daemon compresses your images for space-saving. To add to your security, it also enables password protection of files. Finally, it's free for personal use, emulating disc images to a virtual drive. You may run it on most Windows versions, from Vista to Windows 8.
Accessing the program is simple - all you need to do is left-click an emulated drive file or right-click on the image to mount it. The program features plug-in architecture. It also provides you with the option of attaching add-ins. Most prominent extras are one that allows you to create .iso files and another that helps handle copy-protected Securom discs.
Uses and key features
The main use of Daemon Tools Lite is for backing up your physical discs of any type into disc image files, or virtual discs, directly onto your hard drive. It works on CDs, DVDs, HD DVDs, and Blu-rays. What is more, you can handle pictures you created with other burning programs.
The program supports a variety of image types, too. The CD/DVD image converter enables you to transfer all your files in one format into your image catalog.
You may emulate up to four virtual drives on your PC at once using the commercial version. Then, the drives appear in your operating system in the same way as physical ones would. All you need to do afterward is pick a drive and images you want to mount. Enter My Computer and start working.
Another useful feature is the possibility to create .mds and .iso image files from original physical discs. Image mounting and unmounting all take place within a single command-line interface.
Crisp and straightforward user interface
Daemon Tools Lite features an understandable, simple user interface, but with an efficient layout for ease of usage.
There are two main windows within it, the larger displaying the Image Catalog, while the narrow one below shows the added drives, primarily the first virtual drive you attached. You add images to the Catalog by browsing and clicking the 'Mount' button once you find your desired file.
You'll find two main types of virtual drives on Daemon Tools Lite version. The DT virtual devices serve to offer the necessary emulating capabilities, while the SCSI virtual devices do the same to discs with security locks and other specialized signatures. For most users, the former will be more than enough.
All of the controls of this software exist in the toolbar between the upper and lower Window. The chief option shown is the Add Image control bundle, which enables you to mount and unmount images, add virtual devices, remove existing ones, and create disc images.
Moreover, you can use the Preferences tool to configure the software to your liking. It changes Hotkeys, Confirmations, and other similar operations.
These features make Daemon Lite easy to use even for the not-so-tech-savvy. Moreover, being so lightweight and undemanding, the tool is excellent for laptops, especially those lacking optical drives necessary for burning discs.
Bugs and alternatives
The first restriction of DT is that it won't mount all image types out there - most notably, Magic ISO, Power ISO, Ultra ISO, and Easy Media Creator. This problem isn't massive, though, as most such files also exist in the compatible .iso format.
Furthermore, while the tool is free for personal use, commercial users must pay for it. The pro version offers more options - a larger number of emulated drives, more powerful compression and image creation, and a graphical user interface lacking from DT Lite.
Another, more important, problem is the 2012 controversy when DT included another service in their package. The addition, called Mountspace, collected usage statistics and logged it. The controversy got cleared meanwhile, but the privacy policies are still weak, which turned many users away from the tool.
If you still want to use Daemon Tools, or to keep using it, there are several things you can do to prevent Mountspace from collecting your data. Use a version earlier than 2012 one, or click 'Don't allow Mountspace to use my statistics' while installing.
Alternatively, you could choose another piece of software for burning. If you're a Windows 10 user, you get to enjoy this OS's integrated tool for mounting with .iso and .vhd files instead of installing third-party software.
The next best option is an open-source alternative in the form of WinCDEmu, which works with several file formats and enables you to run unlimited virtual drives at the same time.
Virtual CloneDrive is also an option, which supports up to 15 virtual drives at once.
An efficient, attractive option
DT is simple to use, has a beautiful interface, and does what it promises to do. Even with the issues it faced, it is still one of the most reliable, loved services out there. Plus, its flexibility and affordability make it work for almost everybody. However, it will take some patience here and there, especially with frequent updates.