The user is faced with the question: how to open an MDF file on a computer running on the Windows operating system. When downloading files from the Internet, especially computer games, users notice that sometimes there are files with the MDF extension.
How to open an MDF file in Windows, can it be done using a system tool, or does this require a third-party program? In the article, we will figure out whether you need a program on your computer that opens MDF files, or you can do without it.
When working on a PC, there are quite a lot of different disk image formats, some formats are not very common, so users experience difficulties, do not know what to do with a particular file. A similar problem occurs when it is not clear how to open MDF, MDS files.
What are MDF and MDS files
The MDF (Media Descriptor File) format is a disk image file specially designed for the Alcohol 120% program. Usually, an optical disc image (CD/DVD/Blu ray) of this format is saved as two files: MDF and MDS (Media Descriptor).
A file with the “.MDF” extension is an image of an optical disc, and a file with the “.MDS” extension is disc metadata, information about the location of layers, folder structure.
An optical disk image is saved as a file on a computer with the MDS extension, and an additional MDS file with service information is attached to it. A disk image file is an exact copy of a physical CD/DVD.
To open a game, media, or program from a disk image file, you will need to create a virtual drive on your computer. The Windows operating system recognizes the virtual drive as a physical CD-ROM drive.
Operating systems Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 have a built-in tool for working with disk images. The system tool does not support MDF/MDS file formats. Therefore, in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, you will need to use third-party software: programs that open MDF and MDS files.
What program to open MDF format? In the article you will find instructions on using popular programs for this purpose: Alcohol 120%, Daemon Tool Lite, UltraISO.
How to open an MDF file in Alcohol 120%
Alcohol 120% is a program for working with disk images. The application has a free version of Alcohol 52%. In the program, you can create an image, clone an image, burn an image to a CD / DVD disc, erase an optical disc.
We can open a disk image file through Alcohol 120% in two ways: from the Explorer context menu or from the program window.
Mounting an image via Alcohol 120% from the Explorer context menu:
- Right-click on an MDF or MDS file.
- In the context menu that opens, select “Mount Image”.
An image of the image mounted in the virtual drive will appear in Explorer.
The user can now run the application from the disk image.
In the second method, we will open the disk image in the Alcohol 120% program window:
- Enter the “File” menu, click on the “Open …” item.
- In the Explorer window, find the desired file, select the MDS file, click on the “Open” button.
- Right-click on the file in the Alcohol 120% program window, select “Mount to Device”.
That’s it, we figured out how to open MDF in Alcohol 120%.
To remove an image from a virtual drive in Alcohol 120%, follow these steps:
- Open Windows Explorer.
- Right click on the image mounted in the virtual drive.
- In the context menu, click on the “Extract” item.
How to open MDF and MDS in DAEMON Tools Lite
Daemon Tool Lite is a free program for emulating virtual drives and working with disk image files. This is the free version of Daemon Tools, which has several paid options.
Daemon Tool Lite works great with MDF and MDS formats, which is not surprising, since the creators of Alcohol 120% and Daemon Tools once worked for the same Taiwanese company.
In Daemon Tool Lite, there are several ways to open files that have an MDF extension and an MDS extension.
- Double-click the left mouse button on the file with the extension “.MDF” or “.MDS”.
- After mounting the image, it will open in the Windows Explorer virtual optical drive.
- In the Daemon Tools Lite program window, click on the “Quick Format” button.
- After that, the mounted image will appear in the application window and in the Explorer window.
- In the notification area (system tray), right-click on the DAEMON Tools Lite program icon.
- Select “Mount” from the menu that opens.
- Select an MDF or MDS file from your computer.
After we figured out how to open the MDF format in Daemon Tool Lite, now it’s time to see how to remove an unnecessary image from Explorer, or from the program window.
- In the Daemon Tool Lite window, move the mouse cursor over the virtual drive.
- Click on the yellow icon to extract the image from the virtual drive.
- Right-click the Daemon Tool Lite program icon in the notification area.
- Click on the “Virtual Drives” item, first select the connected virtual drive, and then “Unmount”.
- In the Explorer window, right-click on the virtual drive.
- Select “Extract” from the context menu.
How to open MDF file with UltraISO
The UltraISO program opens MDF and MDS files. This is a powerful disc imaging application: you can create a new image in the program, burn the image to a CD or DVD, convert the image to another format, etc.
- Launch the UltraISO program on your computer.
- From the “File” menu, click “Open…”.
- In the Explorer window, select the image located on the computer disk.
- Enter the “Tools” menu, select “Mount to virtual drive …”.
- In the “Virtual Drive” window, click the “Mount” button.
A virtual drive with a disk image appeared in Explorer.
To remove an image from a virtual disk in UltraISO, use the two methods described below.
- Right click on the virtual drive.
- Select “Extract” from the context menu.
- In the UltraISO program window, enter the “Tools” menu, click on the “Mount to virtual drive …” item.
- In the “Virtual Drive” window that opens, click the “Unmount” button.
Other ways to open an MDF image
In this guide, we looked at several ways to open an MDF file in programs using a virtual disk.
If the structure of the image is not important, the file with the extension “.MDF” must be renamed to the file with the extension “.ISO”, and then open the disk image in the virtual drive with a system tool in Windows 10 or in Windows 8 (Windows 8.1), or in a program that for opening ISO files.
After changing the file extension to “.ISO”, the disk image can be opened using an archiver. The disk image file will be unpacked into a folder. Thanks to this, the user will be able to launch the installation of applications, games, etc. from the folder.
A disk image file with the extensions “.MDF” and “.MDS” can be opened on a computer in a virtual optical disk without burning the image to physical media. Alcohol 120%, Daemon Tool Lite, UltraISO programs can open MDF and MDS files by mounting a virtual drive in the Windows operating system for this.