Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
CD's and DVD's for free with CDBurnerXP
by Alan German
Do you keep
shelling out more cash for new versions of one or other
of the industry's leading CD/DVD creation suites? Do
these packages provide vastly more features than you need
to burn a few files to a disk? If so, you should give
CDBurnerXP a try. This freeware program will let you burn
CD's and DVD's, including Blu-Ray disks, with special
features for music files and ISO images. You can also
copy disks and remove all of the contents of rewritable
The program's user interface is colourful and very
straightforward. A selection menu lists the various tasks
that the program will perform. Clicking on any one of the
menu items takes you to the appropriate screen from which
to conduct the desired task. Data Disc and Audio Disc
bring up similar screens, with a tree directory from
which to select files to be burnt to disk, and an area
where multiple files can be assembled as a
compilation for burning. The Burn ISO image,
Copy disc and Erase disc options produce somewhat simpler
screens where the disk locations and burning options can
be selected and initiated.
When creating a data disk, the
program automatically identifies whatever disk is in the
burner and displays the relevant information in a text
box at the bottom of the screen. A really nice feature is
the way in which CDBurnerXP handles appendable disks.
When such a disk is loaded, the program prompts Do
you want to continue the inserted disc. If you
select Continue Disk, all of the files and folders
already present on the disk are displayed in the
compilation window. An associated bar graph indicates how
much disk space is currently being used and how much
space remains, so it is really easy to build a
compilation of files and folders to fit onto the disk.
New files may be dragged and dropped into the compilation
area. Alternatively, an Add icon brings up a Windows
Explorer-like directory pane from which files and folders
may be selected to be included in the compilation. A
Remove icon can be used to eliminate any new selections
from the compilation, or to have existing files on the
disk marked as being deleted (and hence inaccessible).
Once the compilation has been
finalized, you hit the Burn button, and the program asks
how you want to burn the disk, notably Leave disc
open (i.e. produce an appendable disk) or
Finalise disc. When burning a disk, a moving
green bar display and a time-based log of events (e.g.
closing disc, writing lead-out, etc.) indicates the
process to completion. Finally, a message box indicates
that the burning process has been successfully completed.
And, that's it. Nothing more complicated for a simple
file burning task. However, that's not to say that the
program doesn't offer more possibilities. For example,
you can choose advanced settings for a variety of burn
options. A comprehensive web-based help system, available
through the program's Help menu, uses screenshots and
explanatory notes to describe the use of all the options.
The audio disk creation process allows tracks to be
placed in any desired order, and the gap between tracks
selected. The program even includes an audio player so
that you can listen to any individual track without
having to use an external program. CDBurnerXP supports
several audio file formats including WAV and MP3.
Copying a disk requires only the selection of the source
and target drives. If you have only one drive, the
program will make a temporary copy of the source on the
computer's hard disk and then copy this onto the target
drive once a new CD or DVD has been inserted. The process
for burning an ISO image to disk is similar in that you
select the image file to be burnt and the target drive
containing the blank disk.
The program has a number of other features that may be of
interest to some users. These include the ability to
print disk covers for both CD's and DVD's, ways to create
bootable disks and your very own ISO image files, and the
option to delete the contents of rewritable disks.
So, for the casual user, CDBurnerXP offers a simple way
to burn files and folders to CD's and DVD's. But, the
program also offers more advanced features to perform
other tasks. It isn't the all-singing, all-dancing, media
production wizard that seems to be the aim of many media
suites. But, it is space efficient, taking up
just over 6MB on the hard disk, loads more-or-less
instantly, has an intuitive interface and it's
free! What more could you ask for?
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Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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