To begin this article, I'd like to tell you a story. A while back, Civilization III came out. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was, and rightfully so -- it's a great game! So, I bought it when it came out for $50 with all the allowance I had saved up and played it virtually nonstop. However, my silly irresponsibility led the CD to getting scratched so badly it was unplayable. $50 wasted.
CD waiting to break
I couldn't live without my addiction, so of course I saved up my money and bought it again for $40. After having the game for a few months, I accidentally left it in the CD drive and it broke into two! Thus, another $40 wasted.

Yes, I spent $90 just to have two CDs break on me. What lessons can we learn from this?
1. Always keep your CDs in a safe place.
2. Check to make sure your CDs are out of the drive before you shut down.

3. Get free game copying software so you don't waste any money!

How does free game copying software work?
Free game copying software does what you would imagine it would: it lets you copy CD games to your computer at no cost. This can save you, as it would have in my case, a good amount of money just in case you ruin your disc. Copying discs to your computer is just a smart move to make. In addition, if you copy CD games you have, you don't have to look around for those elusive discs anymore!

Where do I get free game copying software?
Likely, the most reputable free game copying software out there, and the one I use personally, is Alcohol CD copier. It comes in two versions: Alcohol 120% and Alcohol 52%. Alcohol 52% is the free version that can do an impressive amount for a free program.

In addition, some more modern games have copy protection. Alcohol 52% can read through this protection and copy the disc, but it has to know what kind of protection the disc you're copying has. Therefore, I recommend downloading A-Ray Scanner. This program will scan whatever disc you put in your computer and tell you what kind of copy protection it has, if any.

To begin your quest to copy CD games, just download and install Alcohol CD copier (Alcohol 52%) and A-Ray Scanner.

Determining the copy protection
In order to copy CD games, you'll first need to see what copy protection is on the disc. For this example, I'm going to get a copy of Myst IV: Revelation. So, put the disc in your CD drive, and load up A-Ray Scanner. Then, hit the Scan button, and it will work diligently to determine what copy protection is on the disc.

Incidentally, this CD scanned in just over a second, and it was determined to have SafeDisc 3.20. Look in the message area to see what copy protection your disc has.

Getting the disc image
Now that you know the type of copy protection on the disc, it's time to get copying! Load up Alcohol 52%. On the first start, it will ask if you want to make a virtual CD drive - choose yes. Then, select Image Making Wizard on the top-left.

Then, go to the bottom and note where the image is going to be stored. Next, select the type of copy protection your disc had where the arrow indicates in the image below. If your disc has no copy protection, just pick Normal DVD. Then, hit Start.

The time it takes to copy CD games varies depending on the size of the discs you are copying and the copy protection. Alcohol CD copying software can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour -- be patient.

Also, ignore any errors it spews out. These are due to the copy protection, and Alcohol is just doing its job.

Running the game
Now that your game has been copied, you can use the Alcohol CD copier to run the game using the virtual disc drive you created earlier. Right-click the image in the menu and hit Mount on Device.

All that's left for you to do is run the game from the Start menu, or wherever you may have it stored. Now your game is safe from being damaged and unplayable, and no longer requires you to have to dig for the CD. As you can see, your choice to copy CD games to your computer is relatively easy once you know what to do, and can save you time and money. Enjoy!

You ought only to copy CD games for personal use. The act of sharing or distributing ripped CD images is illegal.

Part three of using Alcohol 52%Part one of using Alcohol 52%Part one of using A-Ray Scanner