How to play "age of empires iii" without disk 1

Updated April 17, 2017

"Age of Empires III" is a strategy game developed by Microsoft for the PC. The game requires disk one to install, and to play, and it is not uncommon for frequent use of a CD to cause wear and scratches that prevent the disk from being readable by most CD/DVD drives. Luckily, you can still play the game, even if your original disk one is damaged beyond readability.

Purchase or download disk imaging software. There are a variety of such softwares available on the Internet. Make sure that the program you choose to use will burn an image of your disk in ISO format.

Load the disk imaging software and follow the instructions to install the program.

Insert the "Age of Empires III" disk one. If you do not have the disk, or your disk is damaged to the point that it cannot be read, borrow the disk from a friend or family member.

Open the disk imagining software and follow the instructions to create an ISO image file of the disk. Save the file to a location you can easily find later. Return the "Age of Empires III" disk one to the person you borrowed it from.

Purchase or download a virtual CD/DVD drive emulator. Note that some virtual CD/DVD drive emulators also function as disk imaging software; you might want to consider that when purchasing or downloading software. Many virtual CD/DVD drive emulators are available on the Internet.

Load the virtual CD/DVD drive emulator and follow the instructions to install the program.

Start the virtual CD/DVD drive emulator. Follow the instructions to mount a disk. This normally involves choosing an option to "mount disk" or "mount image." Choose your saved ISO image of "Age of Empires III" disk one. The program will load the image into the virtual drive.

Click on the icon of the "Age of Empires III" disk one that appears after you mount the image. The game should start normally, as if you have inserted the disk into your regular CD/DVD drive. Install or play the game as you would normally.


Check out official "Age of Empires III" websites for promotions that offer free "Age of Empires III" games or registration codes. Make sure that the websites are official, legitimate websites before entering in any personal information.


Although ISO disk image files are available online for download, they can contain viruses and are usually illegal to use. Only use programs to burn and mount CD/DVD images of programs that you own legally. Never download programs from a suspicious website. Always scan your downloads for viruses before installing them onto your computer. If you intend to play "Age of Empires III" online, you will still need to have a valid registration code.

Things You'll Need

  • Disk imaging software
  • CD/DVD drive emulating software
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About the Author

Cristel Wood is a writer specializing in food, photography, gardening and video games. She holds an Associate of Arts from South Puget Sound Community College and has worked for her local Parks & Recreation department, Mt. Baker ski area, Vista Village Retirement Community and has taught ESL in Peru.