With the price of USB disk drives at an all time low, it makes more and more sense to convert your library of CDs into ISO images and access them digitally.
Note all this is applicable to Windows based computers.
ImgBurn: Create ISO Images
Virtual CloneDrive (source: www.virtual.cd)
To virtualize your library of CDs, you’ll need a program like ImgBurn (the official ImgBurn site is at http://www.imgburn.com/ if you wish to learn additional details about it) to convert your CDs into ISO images.
After you convert your library of CDs into ISO images, you’ll need a program to virtually load or mount them. For this a program like Virtual CloneDrive will do the job.
YUMI: USB Multiboot Creator (source: pendrivelinux.com)
I don’t know what YUMI stands for, but one thing for sure this tool is the greatest tool created for us mere computer mortals. Note that YUMI is a from Pendrivelinux.com, and it is FREE.
With YUMI you can take a simple USB flash drive and turn it into your portable boot-able operating system of your choice.
Personally, I find this tool perfect for recovering a forgotten local administrative password on a computer, or for recovering data from a boot drive where the operating system is no longer boot-able.
To use it, you need a Windows XP/Vista/7 computer to download and run the YUMI utility. You then need to build a multiboot USB flash drive using it by specifying the drive letter where the flash drive is.
In building the multiboot USB flash drive, you will need at least one ISO image of whatever it is you want to boot to. Say for example you have a Trinity Rescue Kit ISO image, and you want to use that to help you recover data from a non-boot-able computer (maybe because OS is corrupted). When you run YUMI, you will need to specify an ISO image, like below:
Selecting a distribution ISO Image in YUMI
If you don’t yet have the ISO image, you can check the option “Opted to Download the iso.” After the ISO image is downloaded, you can go to the CREATE phase. Also, before creating, make sure you have the correct USB device selected.
If you happen to manage a network, and you can’t afford some of the most expensive network monitoring tools out there, check out The Dude. This program will map out your network and provide alerts so that you can ensure your system components are always up.