Scott Hanselman

Daemon Tools and my new Lenovo T60p

January 25, 2007 Comment on this post [21] Posted in Musings | Tools
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Wow, that was horrible. I recently had trouble with my work IBM Thinkpad T42. After having used it happily for a few years, suddenly WGATRAY.EXE decided to hang at 100% CPU forever, rendering the machine unusable. I even made a batch file to loop forever and repeatedly kill it.

I figured it was a sign to start over, so I got a Thinkpad T60p from our IT department. I started installing crap (they could drop an image on the machine, but I like things "just so"). I did VS2003, VS2005, etc...all from CD, but then I needed to mount an ISO.

I downloaded Daemon Tools, a great ISO mounter that I've used happily for years without so much as a peep of drama from it. In the middle of the install - bam - blue screen of death.

When your BRAND NEW MACHINE blue screens, it's like discovering your spouse is a spy with another life. How can you ever trust the machine again?

I looked all over the Daemon Tools forum and found dozens of folks having the same problem, but the support folks monitoring the forums were very unsympathetic and less than helpful.

At this point, I was stuck in a BSOD loop, blue-screening after the desktop appeared.

I started up in Safe Mode with Command Prompt, after pressing F8 before the Windows Splash screen. With the Lenovos, you have to be careful wit hF8. If you press it too early - like when the BIOS screen appears - you'll end up in their custom Windows Pre-Execution Enivronment. It's lovely, to be sure, but it doesn't let you open a command prompt. Amazing thing, it includes a version of Opera and will let you surf, but it won't allow you to delete a file.

Anyway, I went into c:\windows\system32\drivers and di a "dir /o-d" to see the most recently installed files.  I deleted st3Wolf.sys and stpd.sys. After rebotting and not blue screening, I removed all the SCSI devices from the Device Manager (right click on My Computer and click Manage, then Device manager) as well as the "PnP BIOS Extension" under System Devices.

It sure seems that mounting an ISO should just be built into the OS and not a whole series of selling one's soul to the device driver devil with fake devices and faux BIOs extensions.

I haven't blue screened yet as I type this post...but I don't know how I'll ever trust her again.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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January 25, 2007 23:23
Dameon Tools has spyware in it. Devil tool.
January 25, 2007 23:27
I agree on the spyware issue re: Daemon tools. I'd avoid it if I were you. Alcohol-Soft have a free version of their Alcohol 52% software that you could try...
January 25, 2007 23:30
Try Microsoft's (unsupported) Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel. It is a simple device driver, and a control panel that controls the loading/unloading of the driver, and the mounting/unmounting of the ISO.
January 25, 2007 23:37
I commented on this exact issue on my blog a few months ago: Oh and David G, the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel doesn't work in Vista.
January 25, 2007 23:43
> It sure seems that mounting an ISO should just be built into the OS and not a whole series of selling one's soul to the device driver devil with fake devices and faux BIOs extensions. Hear, hear. > Try Microsoft's (unsupported) Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel. That tool is absolute crap. Not recommended.
January 25, 2007 23:44
Looks like a SOFTWARE problem : Don't install the adware that comes with daemon tools and it is optional !
January 26, 2007 1:53
I noticed similar issues last year when they started to inject sillyware into the application. I have since switched to Virtual Clone Drive (works under Vista), and it's fantastic. Great photo-tour of your vacation in Africa btw, I found myself waiting for new photos. :)
January 26, 2007 2:06
I have a different take on this whole issue. Ever since I worked in the IT shop at the IRS CID I have never been able to look at a Thinkpad the same. We had such horrible problems with the machines that we always referred to them as Stinkpads. Of course this was back in the days of NT 3.51 so a little has changed since then ;-) but still I just can't get over my initial gag reflex whenever someone metions they are having problems with their Stinkpads... excuse me while I go get a trashcan.
January 26, 2007 3:07
+1 for Virtual Clone Drive. Working great for me on Vista.
January 26, 2007 3:35
I feel your pain! I generally have had no issues at all with Daemon Tools and am a long-time user of it, but I understand that some users have. I recently heard about an alternative ISO mounter...MagicDisk from MagicISO. I really liked how it performed on my Windows 2000 Pro system so I decided to remove DaemonTools from my XP Pro system (laptop) and load it on as well. Ended up BSOD it. I got it off in safe-mode and all was well. Put DaemonTools back on and it was happy again. So I gave up trying to put in on there. Still have it on my W2K system, and it has been working great. Seems to not be a drain on my system resources. Alcohol 52% is now offered by them as freeware. I used to use Alcohol 120% for a long time and loved it as well. But I haven't tried this new (reduced) version. Here's the link I understand that 52% also comes with a toolbar, but forum users seem to say that can be "unselected" during the installation setup...can't confirm that for myself, however. Cheers....
January 26, 2007 8:54
Regarding your trust issues with your new PC - I hear you brother! I got a new dev machine from Dell about 6 months ago. Of course I repaved it cos it had Windows MCE on it, but about two days after the re-install, it started blue screening on me. It turned out to be an errant piece of hardware in my case, but my trust was lost. I've not blue screened since, but I still have three different backup mechanisms in place, just in case...
January 26, 2007 9:01
I had to uninstall daemon tools from xp before upgrading to Vista. Without uninstalling it the Vista installer would not even consider upgrading the os.
January 26, 2007 9:04
I had the same kinds of problems when installing D-Tools 4.something under XP. It had to do with the SCSI stuff (can't remember excactly). What I can remember is that I had to reinstall my whole machine. Major pain! After reinstalling XP, I installed the good old version 3.47 again and everything worked like a breeze. Last weekend I installed Vista. In this enviroment the latest D-Tools 4.something works just fine. Just my 2cts.
January 26, 2007 15:58
> It sure seems that mounting an ISO should just be built into the OS and not a whole series of selling one's soul to the device driver devil with fake devices and faux BIOs extensions. Like Mac OS X. [)amien
January 26, 2007 18:06
and Linux. Once the OS PMs at MS resolve their rectal-cranial insertion dilemma, maybe it'll get baked in.
January 26, 2007 21:47
The toolbar part of Daemon Tools is optional, you can choose not to install it at installation. However, on my machine at work I found that after a reboot, apps opened soooo sloooooowly that I stopped rebooting my machine unless it was absolutely necessary. After a while I got so incensed tha I nuked & paved the whole installation and (using that slipstreamed disc we commented on last week) got my machine back up and running lickety split. A few days after installing all the apps, I found the need to mount an ISO, so I installed Daemon Tools 4.something without the adware toolbar and... on next reboot the glacially slow opening of applications returned. I haven't had a chance to re-install from scratch again, but I will next month (and try not to reboot between now and then)and WON'T be re-installing Daemon Tools again. I'll try the Virtual Clone Drive or Alcohol 52% that people are talking about in this comment thread instead.
January 28, 2007 3:25
There are 2 potential problems with Daemon Tools (DT), one of which is easy to fix, the other is an unavoidable aspect of its design: 1) there is adware (not spyware) in the DT installer - the fix for this is to uncheck the option in the install wizard to have it installed; 2) it uses a 'secure' SCSI transport driver (SPTD.sys), which I assume is something that helps DT deal with being blacklisted by copy protection schemes. This has been causing at least some level of problems with users, and is unavoidable with DT 4.x. If the older DT 3.x will work for you (which I don't think works on Vista), then you have a way to avoid SPTD. Note that a few people have suggested to use Alcohol 52% instead, which has a free-for-non-commercial-use edition. Note that the free edition installs an IE toolbar (this cannot be de-selected at install time, but can be uninstalled after the fact). However, it also uses SPTD.sys (Alcohol & DT have a close working relationship), so if that's causing your DT problem then Alcohol isn't the solution (Homer Simpson: "...alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."). I'd say your best bet is to try SlySoft's Virtual CloneDrive ( or MagicISO's MagicDisc (
January 29, 2007 17:03
While beta testing Vista I requested ISO/UIF mounting as a feature, and had it knocked back several times. I have no idea why, it should be easy. I switched to Virtual Clone Drive as well, never causes problems. Unless you have a Trusted Platform Module, in which case the unsigned driver won't install or run on Vista. The TPM is another abberation (like HDMI) that I won't get into. Disable it in Device Manager. Carry on.
January 30, 2007 0:10
WinImage by Giles Vollant software. Been around for ages, mounts CD and DVD ISO images, or can create/edit/extract images of various different types including ISO, Floppy disk and Virtual PC disk images. This classic is right up there with WinZip.
February 03, 2007 8:02
Hi Scott, I had this same issue as you have experienced and it seems to be a device conflict causing this error. I had the same problem with all the virtual ROM drive programs I tried to run in Windows Server 2003 R2, so it didn't seem to be tied to a certain Daemon Tools problem. The resolution for me was to uninstall Drive Letter Access software, I uninstalled Sonic DLA. This software conflicted with the virtual ROM device software, so an uninstall solved the problem.
February 26, 2007 16:25
I ran across this entry doing a search for Magic Disk problems. I would suggest not ever installing it. It cause a device error on my Toshiba laptop, eventually resulting in my having to perform a system restore. I would have used Daemon Tools, which I already have installed, but the image I wanted to mount is an odd format not supported by DT.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.