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How to Open & Mount MDF or MDS Files on Windows 10 & 11 PC

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Media Descriptor File or MDF is a disk image file format that was designed by Alcohol Soft to burn data onto CDs and DVDs. As an optical disc authoring tool, it serves as a point of convenience for users who want practical access to certain files. Compared to ISO files, MDF is able to contain different layers of data in raw form.

When working with MDS files, it may be accompanied with a MDS file which is a file type that stores metadata. MDS stands for Media Descriptor Sidecar and this means that it is able to include indications for where data belongs in an MDF file. This includes starting and ending layers, values, locations and other relevant information. Although .MDS is helpful, an .MDF file can exist without an MDS file.

On Windows PCs, MDF files are not natively supported. Therefore, unpacking, opening, and mounting them on Windows 11 or 10 computer requires external tools and programs for easy access. We’ve included the best steps to take if you’re looking to unpack, launch, and view an MDF/MDS file content on PC.

How to Mount or Open an MDS & MDF File on Windows 10/11 Computer

Mounting is the reason you’re on this page, but if you do not want to mount your MDF file, you will need to burn it to a disc using the programs and tools included in this guide.

A simple method to mount an MDF in Windows computers is to convert it to an ISO file. The process is extremely easy and as follows:

  1. Go to your MDF file
  2. Right-click on it and select Rename
  3. Highlight the .mdf portion and type in .iso

This is the easiest way available, but it isn’t the most reliable. However, you may see an error like “The disc image file is corrupted.”

Below are the top 3 third party apps that you can download for free or for a small fee to give you easy access to MDS and MDF file content. Check out these tools and see which one works for you best.

Daemon Tools Lite

Daemon Tools is a pretty popular piece of software for accessing disc image files. There is a paid version, but for the purposes of accessing an MDF file, the free version works pretty well. 

  1. Use this link to access the tool and install it
  2. Once installed, go to your MDF file of choice and right-click
  3. Select Open with and choose DAEMON Tools Lite agent

Alchohol 120% Free Edition

This free-to-use tool is authored by the same company responsible for MDF files. It creates a virtual optical drive that allows you to mount an MDF file, giving you full access.

  1. Install the software using the link above
  2. Click on File and click on Open using the top menu of the app
  3. Navigate to your chosen MDF file
  4. Once you’ve opened it, right-click on that file
  5. Within the right pane of the Alchohol app, select Mount Image
  6. Go to your Windows File Explorer and access the MDF file through the virtual drive

WinCDEmu

This tool allows you to mount an MDF file directly through the context menu from a right-click. To use it, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install it using this link
  2. After installation, right-click on your chosen MDF file and expand it using Open with
  3. Click on WinCDEmu mounter
  4. This will mount your MDF file and allow you to access its contents in your file explorer

Opening an MDF or MDS file on Microsoft desktop devices is very easy. Even when the file extension says “MDS”, any of the methods above should work fine in giving you full access to the file content.

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