Here's a must-have for any Windows user: Daemon Tools. Alright, now we admit, at first glance, the software looks to promote piracy. After all, it can install virtual optical drives in My Computer and allow users to "mount" burned disc images--a popular mechanism for distributing large apps.
However, this virtual drive feature is actually helpful if consumers have previously ripped images from their physical media collection, and for some reason the original CD or DVD can no longer be read by the drive. With that said, Daemon Tools makes for an awesome disc backup solution, enabling users to store images on external HDDs or USB drives for later retrieval and virtual mounting.
"A virtual disc has much better access rates than a physical one in a corresponding physical drive because the reading speed of a virtual CD/DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray-ROM is 50x faster compared to normal drive," says the developer. As indicated, Daemon Tools can now back-up Blu-ray discs, it can work with images that were created by other burning programs, and it also supports a variety of image types.
The Lite version is free to download and use, however its options are limited compared to the Pro Standard and Pro Advanced--the latter sports all the available features, including up to 32 virtual SCSI drives and four virtual IDE drives.
Download: Daemon Tools 4.36.0309