Replacement to RM's Virtual CD
Recently, we asked RM for a quote to upgrade Virtual CD to a version that would support Windows 7. We were quoted £1,398.60 for 681 stations. We are also about to buy about another 400 licences (Virtual CD no longer comes included in a CC4 licence), which would have pushed the price up even more (we only run 4 Virtual CDs!) - so I started to look in to alternatives.
When we first started using Virtual CD, probably 8 years ago, the software seemed impressive enough to pay quite large amounts for. But since then I and I'm sure lots of you have used free software at home to achieve similar things. I had to look for a bit to find one that supported some sort of command line or scripting and a silent install, but I found Virtual CloneDrive. It is free software from SlySoft, who also make the software to create ISOs, which we won't be needing as there is plenty of free software to accomplish that.
My first attachment is the package for Virtual CloneDrive. I have NOT included the software setup exe, so after unzipping the package, download it from here - it's the last download link on the page - put the file in the package folder and then import it in to RMMC. At the moment the package works with 184.108.40.206 - I have no idea if updated versions will break it, but I do know the file has to be named 'SetupVirtualCloneDrive5450.exe' (or edit the setup.bat).
The setup.bat does a few things you should be aware of. First of all, it adds three certificates to the computer's certificate store. These are needed because the driver for the fake CD drive is signed by SlySoft themselves (These commands are from SlySoft Forum - View Single Post - Certificate used for signing has expired ...). It then starts a silent install of Virtual CloneDrive, telling it not to reboot after the install. It then runs 'letter.vbs', which gives the new drive a letter. I have set it to U, which is one of the drives the RM's Virtual CD uses so there shouldn't be any clash (This vbs script is from REQ Virtual CloneDrive 5111 silent method - MSFN Forum however I have edited it a bit as that didn't work). The batch file then deletes the shortcut on the desktop because I like to keep it tidy. This package is set to reboot when other installs are finished.
The second attachment is my launcher script, written in vbs. It installs to the hard drive, in C:\Program Files\John Port Applications\VCD Launcher\VCD Launcher.vbs. This script takes care of inserting the ISO, running the required program and ejecting the ISO when finished. I've noticed that sometimes it doesn't load the ISO quickly enough, causing the program to not see the disc. To combat this I've but some sleep commands in, but they may not be long enough.
To create a shortcut that will work, you need to point it to the launcher script, with the ISO and the program to run as parameters, like so:
"C:\Program Files\John Port Applications\VCD Launcher\VCD Launcher.vbs" "Path to ISO" "Path to Program"
"C:\Program Files\John Port Applications\VCD Launcher\VCD Launcher.vbs" "V:\ISOs\Spanish 1 and 2\Spanish 1 and 2.iso" "C:\Program Files\Doki\Espanol 1&2\doki-spanish.exe"
Make sure all paths are in quotes, as shown above. Give the shortcut an icon and allocate it to a Program Set.
Note that you also need to convert your existing vc4 file to ISOs. This is pretty easy - log on to a Windows XP station, right click on the vc4 file, go to the Virtual CD v9 menu and select Convert to another format.
I think I've covered everything but if something doesn't work let me know!
By the way, this in Windows 7 only, I couldn't get the certificates to work in XP