Solution: Cannot access CD/DVD-ROM drive

Solution: Cannot access CD/DVD-ROM drive


An application is not starting or not functioning correctly, giving an error message along the lines of "Cannot access CD/DVD-ROM drive", any time more than 1 user tries to run the application. Alternately, users are trying to directly access the CD drive but only one can access at a time.


Some applications require the ability to access resources on a CD-ROM. Due to the nature of CD/DVD-ROM drives, only a single user can access a physical disk at a time, which can make applications trying to access a CD/DVD fail to function in a multi-user environment.


A relatively simple way to avoid this issue is by using what's known as a "virtual CD drive". A virtual CD drive is created by a program which takes CD or DVD disc content that has been copied to the hard drive and serves it to windows users directly from the hard drive, presenting it to the Windows user as if it were a physical CD/DVD drive. Most virtual CD drive programs are able to copy CD/DVD disc content to the hard drive as well as serve the content to a user. This allows many users to access the virtual disk at a time. To create a virtual CD drive, you need to do 2 things.

First, you need to use a program to copy all of the information from a CD to a single file on your hard-drive called an image file. Image files come in many different formats, but the most generic and most often used is the ISO format, and are frequently referred to as an "ISO."  ISO's have a file extension of ".iso".

Secondly, you need a program that will read the image file and play it like it was a CD/DVD-ROM drive. This process is called "mounting" the image file onto a virtual CD drive. The mounting process is generally very straightforward, however each virtual CD software will have different instructions.


Some applications may have copy-protection that will interfere with this solution. Some copy-protection measures see a virtual CD as a copied or incomplete disk. This solution is not meant to circumvent or disable copy-protection schemes or avoid licensing costs in any way; any questions on licensing can be taken up with the 3rd party software vendor who should be able to provide information on a valid licensing scheme. The following is a list of common programs used to create CD/DVD-ROM image files. Many of these can create images of different formats, but since ISO is the most common format, it is recommended.

Utilities to use:

Alcohol 120% (paid)

Alcohol 52% (cheaper, feature limited version of Alcohol 120%)

MagicISO (shareware, must pay for full version)

MagicDisc (free, feature-limited version of MagicISO)

WinISO (shareware, must pay for full version)

Xilisoft ISO-Pro (shareware, must pay for full version)

PowerISO (paid)

The following is a list of common programs used to create virtual CD drives and mount images into them. All of the below programs will mount images of the ISO format, and many of them allow for a large number of separate virtual CD drives at once. Creating or "mounting" a virtual drive:

Alcohol 120% (paid)

Alcohol 52% (cheaper, feature limited version of Alcohol 120%)

MagicDisc (free, feature-limited version of MagicISO)

PowerISO (paid) Virtual CloneDrive (free)

Daemon Tools (free)


(See PDF attached to this solution) A brief walkthrough on how to create and mount an ISO using MagicDisc (a free, feature limited version of the MagicISO software) has been included with this solution. This walkthrough assumes that you have already installed MagicDisc using all default installation options.

After following all of the steps in the walkthrough, multiple different users of a PC should be able to simultaneously access the virtual DVD drive from their My Computer window as if it was their own individual physical drive. Applications will also have simultaneous access to the drive. 

Article ID: 179
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