VI. DAEMON Tools virtual CD player


1. Introduction
    1.1 Prerequisites
    1.2 Additional information

2. Making preparations
    2.1 Obtaining the Windows installer
    2.2 Obtaining DAEMON Tools

3. Installation
    3.1 Installing InstMsiA.exe
    3.2 Installing DAEMON Tools
    3.3 Installing ISO.BAT

4. Configuration
    4.1 Configuring DAEMON Tools
    4.2 Configuring the .ISO-connection
    4.3 Using ISO.BAT

5. Concluding remarks

1. Introduction

This chapter discusses the installation and configuration of a virtual CD-ROM player on a Windows 98 workstation. Once the software is properly configured the workstation will appear to have a CD-ROM player. This explains why it is called virtual: "being such in essence or effect though not in actual fact". ServerAtSchool uses the DAEMON Tools virtual CD player. DAEMON Tools is free for educational use. The DAEMON Tools website states:
"We do not consider the use of our software in schools or universities as commercial use. If you run our program on school or university PC's no further action is required".
The DAEMON Tools homepage is at This is also the place to download the latest version. At the moment of writing the latest version released for Windows 95/98/Me was 3.47.

1.1 Prerequisites

Before you can install DAEMON Tools successfully, the following assumptions should hold true.

1.2 Additional information

When using ServerAtSchool and DAEMON Tools you effectively need only one CD-ROM player in your school network: the one in the server. None of the workstations need a physical CD-ROM player. CD-ROMs are accessed via virtual CD-ROM player. A virtual CD-ROM player is software that lets your workstation behave as if it has a CD-ROM player built in.

However, before you can load a (virtual) CD-ROM in the (virtual) CD-ROM player, a so-called CD-ROM image has to be created, on the server. This can be done with the CD-ROM tool in Janitor as described in section 6. Managing CD-ROM images in chapter III. Janitor. That is why you need a CD-ROM player in the server: not to play CD-ROMs but to copy CD-ROMs to the server's harddisk. The server 'serves' the content of the CD-ROMs to the virtual CD-ROM player in the workstation via the LAN. The original CD-ROMs can be stored in a safe place, far away from sand, dust and investigative pupils.

This chapter describes the DAEMON Tools installation, configuration and the loading and unloading process of virtual CD-ROM's on the workstation. Creating desktop icons for CD-ROM's will be discussed in chapter VII. Installing educational software.

Not all of the many possibilities of DAEMON Tools are discussed here. Users will hardly notice that DAEMON Tools runs on the workstation and that the content of the CD-ROM comes from the server. If you want to learn more about DAEMON Tools, you could use the built-in help function or visit the projects home page at

NOTICE: The word 'image' has different meanings in a ServerAtSchool environment. First of all it can mean a file that holds the complete contents of a workstation's hard disk. These so-called 'disk images' or 'image files' are created with g4u, see chapter V. Managing disk images with ghost for unix. In this chapter 'image' usually means a 1-on-1 copy of a CD-ROM, a 'CD-ROM image'. This is also known as an '.ISO file'.


2. Making preparations

According to the DAEMON Tools documentation you should always use the most recent version. However, for educational reasons DAEMON Tools version 3.47 is included in the ServerAtSchool distribution. All the examples in the remainder of this chapter are based on this version. You are very welcome to download the latest version if you want to but you must be aware of the possible discrepancies between newer software versions and documentation below. Note that DAEMON Tools version 4.x no longer supports Microsoft Windows 95/98/Me.

Installation of DAEMON Tools also requires the Microsoft Windows Installer for Windows 95/98/Me. You may need to download the latter if it is not already installed on your workstation by now.

You may need to download software from Internet in this chapter. It can be handy to collect the downloaded files somewhere on your server. A good place to keep your downloads would be a directory on the install share, e.g. \\SERVER\install\download (or /home/share/install/download). As a member of the 'janitors' group (see 1.1 General remarks in chapter III. Janitor) you are allowed to store files there. By storing the downloads on the server and not on the C: drive of the workstation you have easy access to the downloads without cluttering your C: drive.

2.1 Obtaining the Windows installer

When you want to install DAEMON Tools, you may need the Microsoft Windows Installer for the Windows 98 OS. If this software is not yet already installed by some other application, you have to download this tool. It is not available on the ServerAtSchool CD-ROM. The exact name of the program you need is InstMsiA.exe.

There are different ways to obtain the installer.

Note that the file you are looking for (InstMsiA.exe) has a size of 1,709,160 bytes.

2.2 Obtaining DAEMON Tools

There are different ways to obtain the DAEMON Tools software package.

NOTICE: There is also a file called TRAYICONS.ZIP (7,177 bytes). This file contains a collection of alternative icons that can be used as replacements for the default icons. You do not need need these. It is up to you to replace the icons in C:\Pprogram Files\D-Tools\Icons\.


3. Installation

The recommended installation order is to start with InstMsiA.exe and then DAEMON347.EXE. If you do not have InstMsiA.exe you can of course try to skip the installation of this tool. However, the DAEMON Tools installation procedure will complain if InstMsiA.exe needs to be installed after all. There is no danger in installing InstMsiA.exe for a second time. At worst it will lead to a message that the installer was already installed.

3.1 Installing InstMsiA.exe

Installing the installer is quite simple:
  1. If necessary, (re)boot the workstation and login using the special 'scholar' account.
  2. Navigate to: Start | Run | Browse. Locate the file InstMsiA.exe you obtained in the previous section (maybe in \\SERVER\install\download) and press [Open]. The name of the file is now entered into the Run-dialogue.
  3. Press [OK]. The program starts and displays a message 'Please wait while Windows configures the Windows Installer'.
  4. After a while the message 'Windows Installer Setup completed successfully' is displayed. Press [OK] to confirm the dialogue.

NOTICE: If the Windows Installer was already installed, you get a warning message: "The specified software already exists". Press [OK] to confirm the dialogue.

The Windows Installer is now installed.

3.2 Installing DAEMON Tools

You now have the software on the server, either from the 'goodies' directory or in the directory where you saved the downloaded software. If you want to install DAEMON Tools you should take the following steps.
  1. If necessary, (re)boot the workstation and login using the special 'scholar' account.
  2. Navigate to: Start | Run | Browse. Locate the file DAEMON347.EXE you obtained in the previous section (maybe in \\SERVER\install\download) and press [Open]. The name of the file is now entered into the Run-dialogue.
  3. Press [OK]. The 'DAEMON Tools Setup' dialogue opens. Check the 'Logged install' option and press [Install].
  4. The 'Welcome to the DAEMON Tools Setup Wizard' dialogue opens. Press [Next].
  5. The 'Select Installation Options' dialogue opens. Accept the defaults and press [Next].
  6. The 'Confirm Installation' dialogue opens. Press [Next].
  7. The program installs itself on your workstation.
  8. The 'Installation Complete' dialogue appears. Press [Close].
  9. You are asked to restart the workstation. Do so by pressing [Yes].
  10. After rebooting and logging in again, you can see a DAEMON Tools icons on the Desktop and in the Taskbar.

The DAEMON Tools software is now successfully installed on the workstation.

3.3 Installing ISO.BAT

At this point the basic virtual CD-ROM player is installed. However, it lacks an easy way to load (virtual) CD-ROMs into the virtual CD-ROM player. Both pupils and teachers should not be bothered by the technicalities of loading a (virtual) CD-ROM; they should concentrate on using the CD-ROMs.

The DOS batch file ISO.BAT takes care of this. This file is already installed on the server, in \\SERVER\install\goodies. The installation of this file boils down to copying the file from \\SERVER\install\goodies to P:\BIN.

Please copy this file to P:\BIN now. In subsequent examples we will assume that this file will be stored there. You can take the following steps.

  1. Navigate to: My Computer | Program1 on 'Server'(P:).
  2. If it is not already there, create the directory BIN.
  3. Navigate to: Network Neighbourhood | Server | install | goodies. There you find ISO.BAT.
  4. Copy the file ISO.BAT to P:\BIN.

If you are in a hurry and can not spare the time to learn about the inner workings of this script, you can safely skip the remainder of this section and continue with section 4. Configuration.

The contents of the file ISO.BAT are shown in the illustration below.

"C:\Program Files\D-Tools\DAEMON.EXE" -unmount 0
ECHO            A moment please, the CD '%1' is being loaded...
"C:\Program Files\D-Tools\DAEMON.EXE" -mount 0,"%1"
"%2" %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
ECHO No ISO-file was specified!
ECHO Correct syntax for usage is:
ECHO ISO NameOfISO [ProgramToExecute]



4. Configuration

At this point all software (DAEMON.EXE, P:\BIN\ISO.BAT) has been installed. Now DAEMON Tools needs to be configured. Also the file association between the ,ISO file extension and the ISO.BAT script needs to be established.

4.1 Configuring DAEMON Tools

The DAEMON Tools software is now installed on the workstation. This can be seen by the icon on the Desktop and the tray icon in the Taskbar.

DAEMON Tools can provide up to four different virtual CD-ROM players at the same time. Since this is very confusing in a school environment, we will configure the software to use only a single (virtual) player. We will also assign drive letter K: to that one virtual player. Finally we will change a few other settings.

Please take the following steps to configure DAEMON Tools.

  1. If necessary, (re)boot the workstation and login using the special 'scholar' account.
  2. Right click on the DAEMON Tools tray icon. A dropdown menu opens.
  3. Navigate to: Virtual CD/DVD-ROM | Set number of devices | 1 drive. The selection window will disappear.
  4. Right click on the tray icon for a second time. The dropdown menu opens again.
  5. Navigate to: Virtual CD/DVD-ROM | Device 0: [E] no media | Set device parameters.
  6. A dialogue appears. Select the drive letter K: from the list of available letters. This must be set to K:. It is not necessary to set other options. Confirm the dialogue by pressing [OK].
  7. Right click on the tray icon. The dropdown menu opens once again.
  8. Navigate to: Options.
  9. Several options are checked. Most options need to be unchecked, except 'Analog audio'.
  10. Unmark 'Autorun'. The menu closes again.
  11. Repeat the last three steps for the options 'Autostart' and 'Taskbar icon'.
  12. (optional) Reboot the workstation and login using the special 'scholar' account once again. Note that the tray icon has disappearded from the task bar.

The virtual CD player is configured.

NOTICE: If necessary you can restore the tray icon in full glory by starting the DAEMON Tools program, using the shortcut labeled 'DAEMON Tools' on the Desktop. This wil put the tray icon back in the Taskbar where you can use the method outlined above to change the options, etc. Note that this is not necessary in the ServerAtSchool environment once you have properly configured DAEMON Tools.

NOTICE: In case you are wondering why the drive must have drive letter K:, consider this. Educational programs are installed on either the P: drive or the Q: drive (see chapter VII. Installing educational software). Drive letters R: and V: are also occupied in ServerAtSchool. Drive letter Z: is sometimes used to access the so-called NETLOGON share. We are reluctant to use the drive letter O: because it is easily confused with drive letter Q:. Therefore drive K: is the last possible letter where you can have four otherwise unused drive letters in a row: K:, L:, M: and N:. If DAEMON Tools were to be configured with four virtual drives, these letters would be required. The reason not to use 'lower' letters is that this may interfere with USB-devices like multi-cardreaders and it would certainly interfere with the all important home drive H:.

4.2 Configuring the .ISO-connection

DAEMON Tools is installed, configured and ready for action. The next step is to configure the virtual CD image loading process. The batch file ISO.BAT takes care of unmounting (unloading) and mounting (loading) CD-ROM images. See section 3.3 Installing ISO.BAT above for a full explanation of this script. We now want to link the file extension .ISO to P:\BIN\ISO.BAT to the effect that doubleclicking a file with that extension will automatically load (mount) the CD-ROM image into the K: drive.

NOTICE: This assumes that the ServerAtSchool server is successfully installed and configured. You have to have a working connection with the server and you should have created at least one CD-ROM image (an .ISO file). See section 1.1 Prerequisites above.

  1. If necessary, (re)boot the workstation and login using the special 'scholar' account.
  2. Navigate to: My Computer | Cdroms on 'Server' (R:).
  3. The 'Cdroms on 'Server' (R:) window opens and you can see the contents of the R: drive.
  4. Doubleclick on the icon of the CD-ROM image you created with Janitor, e.g. edurithmetic.iso. The 'Open with' dialogue appears.
  5. Under 'Description of '.iso' files' enter the following text:
    CD-ROM image file.
  6. Make sure that the option 'Always use this program to open the file' at the bottom of the dialogue is checked.
  7. Press the [Other] button at the bottom of the dialogue. Another 'Open With' dialogue opens.
  8. In the field 'File name' type the following:
    Note that you could also browse your way to P:\BIN\ISO.BAT. Press the [Open] button to confirm the dialogue.
  9. The previous dialogue becomes visible again. Note that ISO is now added to the list of programs.
  10. Press [OK] to confirm the dialogue.
  11. At this point a black DOS screen will appear, indicating that the CD R:\eduritmetic.iso is being loaded.
  12. Depending on the contents of this CD-ROM image (the 'autorun' feature), a program may or may not start automatically. If this is the case, you can immediately close it.
  13. Eventually the DOS screen shows 'Finished - ISO' in the title bar. You can now close this window.
  14. Note that at this point the selected CD is loaded in the K: drive. You can check this via My Computer.

At this point the file association for .ISO files has been established. From now on all CD images with this extension will be started with the ISO.BAT batch file if they are doubleclicked or otherwise opened. Everything is now ready for using virtual CD-ROMs. The exact procedure (creating shortcuts for educational software that requires the presence of a CD-ROM, etc.) is discussed in detail in chapter VII. Installing educational software.

If you ever want to change the file association in the future, you could use the following procedure (adapted from

  1. Click on a file of the type you want to change to highlight ('select') it. In our example this would be R:\edurithmetic.iso.
  2. While holding the [Shift] key, right-click the highlighted file.
  3. Click on "Open With" in the menu.
  4. Select the program that you would like to use from the list. You can press the [Other] button and use the procedure outlined above to 'browse' for a program that is not already in the list.
  5. Check the box to tell Windows always to open that type of file with that program.
  6. Press the [OK] button. The file will now open, using the program you assigned.
  7. Close the program.
  8. Now double-click any file of the same type and it should open in the program that you selected.
  9. Repeat for other file types you would like to re-associate.

4.3 Using ISO.BAT

The ISO.BAT script can be called in three different ways.
  1. Without any parameters. This will remove any (virtual) CD-ROM currently loaded in the first (virtual) CD-ROM player and exit with a usage message. However, as a side effect, the virtual CD-ROM drive is now empty; no CD-ROM is loaded anymore.
  2. With only a single parameter: the name of a CD-ROM image file, for example:
    P:\BIN\ISO R:\edurithmetic.iso.
    The effect is that any currently loaded (virtual) CD-ROM is removed and the CD-ROM edurithmetic.iso is loaded.
  3. With two parameters: the name of a CD-ROM image file and the name of an executable program file, for example:
    P:\BIN\ISO R:\TrafficTrainer.iso K:\MAIN.EXE
    The effect is that the CD-ROM image TrafficTrainer.iso is loaded into the virtual CD-ROM player and that subsequently the program MAIN.EXE is executed, in this particular case directly from the K: drive.

NOTICE: During display of the message, do not touch the keyboard. We are actually 'abusing' the CHOICE.COM program which is designed to prompt the user for making a choice from a list of possible choices. Here the choices are limited to the digits 0-9 and the letters A-Z. Eventually the command will continue with the default choice of 'X'. However, if you touch any key, the time out will no longer be in effect. CHOICE.COM then waits forever until the user actually presses one of the possible choices, in this case any digitkey or letterkey. It certainly is not an elegant solution but this is how things sometimes work at the DOS prompt.


5. Concluding remarks

DAEMON Tools is a very useful piece of software, even in an era where all content appears to become 'webbased'. Even though it is not necessary to do so for a school (see the DAEMON Tools README.TXT), you might want to consider to contribute to this project.


Authors: Peter Fokker <peter (at)> and Dirk Schouten <schoutdi (at)>
$Id: dtools.html,v 1.11 2006/03/30 13:07:56 peter Exp $