disk image - a virtual copy of a physical disk (floppy, hard drive, CD, DVD, and other types of disks).A disk image is not necessarily been obtained from a real drive, but it copies the content and structure of data that reside on disk.
Originally disk images used for only backup .Now they are used for distribution of free software (for example, distributions OS Linux), as storage for virtual machines and emulators.System administrators often organizations use disk images for mass install software on a large number of identical computers.To do this on the same computer put the necessary drivers and programs can only create the disk image and install it on other computers.
most popular format disk images - it is ISO, also used formats IMG and DMG.There are also a number of proprietary formats associated with specific programs:
To create a disk image, you need a special program .Most programs allow you not only to create disk images, and edit them, burn on physical media as well as to mount a virtual drive.Some of these programs are free, as they say, download and use, part - shareware (shareware).Free version of the shareware program is limited in functionality, for instance, works only for a trial period or you can work with disk images larger than a certain size.To gain access to all functions of the program have to pay.
One of the most popular programs to create a disk image - it UltraISO .It lets you create, edit, convert, and burn images to emulate the optical and hard drives, flash drives and diskettes.The program works with more than 30 image formats.But it is shareware, and while you do not pay for the full version, you can not work with images that are larger than 300 MB.
You can also create a disk image with the help of the program DAEMON Tools .This program exists in four versions (Lite, Pro Standard, Pro Advanced, Net).All of them allow you to create and burn disc images, compressing images and split into several files.The Lite version is free for home use, other versions need to buy after a 20-day trial period.In fact, for home use light version should suffice.
Another popular program for creating disk images - Alcohol 120% .Like the previous, it is a shareware.Alcohol 120% enables you to create disk images in different formats, to create virtual drives and to mount drives in them, to make a direct copy from disk to disk.
Appendix Nero Burning ROM will also help you create a disk image.It can be installed as a part of a complete package of products Nero, as well as separately.The program allows you to copy optical discs and to create images in the formats ISO, CUE, IMG and NRG (proprietary format Nero).Like all of the programs described above, it is classified as shareware.
Do free alternatives , allowing to create a disk image?Of course, even though they do not differ by such a variety of functions.One such program - ISO Workshop .It supports popular formats of disk images and helps to back up data, create copies of discs, convert images into BIN and ISO formats and burn them to optical media.
also create disk images allow free utilities such as the Free Create-Burn ISO Image, Gizmo Drive, Folder2Iso, ImageUSB and others. Not all of them have a full range of functions.For example, ImageUSB only creates images of flash drives, and Folder2Iso only creates images of the folders.Therefore, such programs should be used in conjunction with other complementary missing features.
As you can see, there are plenty of programs that will help you create a disk image , the choice is yours.