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How to Open .MDF Files

Basic information on .MDF files format and how to open them.
Bhakti Satalkar Oct 16, 2018
Computers have indeed developed from the huge machines that they used to be. Along with getting smaller, they have also improved manifold in terms of technology. With the huge leaps in this advancement, computers are not the exclusive and horrendously expensive machines they once were. The concept of one computer per home is on the brink of being realized.
However, this advancement translates to a maddeningly frustrating user interface for the common man. Boggled with the new progress made each day, the average American is left clueless when it comes to using these technological advances, even the basic and once simple functions of data storage and reading data have become more complicated in everyday life.
With most companies supporting the newest technology, users may end up with file formats that they have no clue about. Once such example is the .MDF file format. If you are stuck and unable to open a file of this format, fret not. Here you get advice and instructions on opening .MDF files.

What is an .MDF File?

The .MDF extension is a proprietary disk image format, which is used by Alcohol 120%. This extension format is used when a backup of the data is made on CD's or DVD's. It is also used for data sharing over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. These files work like an actual disk, without you having to insert the disk in the system.
Importantly, remember that .MDF files are often distributed over torrent websites as well. They are used to spread dangerous programs like computer viruses, malware, and spyware. If you are opening them on your company network, you may cause harm to your entire computer network. It is a security risk and hence, care should be taken while attempting to open.
Special .MDF openers are required to open this type of file format. There are a few .MDF file openers which are available to open such files, for example, Alcohol 120%, MagicISO, DAEMON Tools, IsoBuster, PowerISO, H+H Software Virtual CD, Smart Projects IsoBuster and CyberLink PowerDVD.
Before you start downloading any the mentioned softwares, learn about the characteristics of each one of them. They are similar only with minor differences. Alcohol 120% and Daemon Tools are available for a free trial. The paid version of this software, however, allows you to convert these files into different formats, in addition to opening them.

Opening a .MDF File: Instructions

  • Download one of the .MDF file openers. You can choose the free software download or trial versions.
  • Install it once the download is complete. After installing, you can disable the option of including the .MDF file opener in the tool bar. It is not spyware, so, don't clutter your tool bar if you don't need it often. Now start it and wait for it to load.
  • Go to the .MDF file and click on open in the File dialog box. The opener will load the appropriate disk image. The software will ask for your permission, to check if it is indeed the file you want to convert.
  • The other option is to drag the .MDF file in the application window. With this as well, you will be able to open the targeted file.
  • If you have a number of files present in a single folder, you can extract these files for easy further use. For this, right-click on the folder which contains the files. Select 'Extract' from the menu that pops up after right-click.
  • You can also copy a file with .MDF opener. Drag and drop the folder in the opener window, this will copy the desired files.
  • You can add files into an existing .MDF folder. Go to 'Add File' in the File menu, and then select the file which is to be added. Then, click on 'Open' to return to the original menu.
  • If you want to add a folder, the procedure is the same as for adding a file. The only difference is that you will have to select 'Add Directory'.
This process does not majorly differ from opening the other file types, it will be pointless if you do not have the appropriate software needed for the task. So, do not worry about the new file extensions that you may see every now and then, this is bound to happen as technology progresses. Quick research on the net will help you get the right software.