I have tested a variety of virtual device creator programs in the past. Programs like OSFMount, TotalMounter, Gizmo Drive or Virtual Clone Drive are just some of the applications that I have reviewed. One of the problems that I encountered was the fact that virtual CD or DVD drives remained available on the system after uninstallation of the software that added them to the system.
While that is more of an aesthetic issue it is still something that could be problematic, for instance when trying to access media inserted into a drive (finding the right drive).
I never really bothered to look into the issue. Today's article on Unlock For Us addressed the issue which made me address it here on Ghacks as well.
It is not possible to quickly distinguish physical and virtual optical drives in Windows Explorer, unless you have renamed drives to reflect that or by digging deeper into the configuration settings.
Here is how you remove virtual drives under Windows so that those drives do not longer appear under My Computer, Windows Explorer or other software that makes use of optical drives.
Open the Device Manager with Windows-p and the selection Device Manager from the sidebar menu. Locate DVD/CD-ROM drives in the listing and expand the selection.
It is sometimes possible to spot virtual drives right away, for instance if they have virtual in their name. At other times it is not that easy. If you know the brand and model of your built-in DVD, CD or Blu-Ray drive you can select the other drives easily to uninstall them. If you do not know those information, you could look at the drive type. A drive displaying SCSI for instance can be an indicator that it is a virtual drive, especially if your computer does not support that technology.
Right-click on the virtual drive and select either Disable or Uninstall from the menu. Disable will keep the device listed in the device manager but not on the system. Uninstallation on the other hand removes the driver from the system and thus the drive.
I suggest to disable drives if you are not sure if they are virtual or physical drives. Put a CD or DVD into your physical drive for identification purposes. Now disable the suspected virtual drive. Refresh Windows Explorer afterwards to see if you can still access the CD or DVD. If you can you have disabled the correct drive and can right-click it again to uninstall it.
Repeat the process for additional virtual drives if present until you have uninstalled all drives that you no longer use.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.