Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


Burn 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 media.

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?


Bottom Line:

CDBurnerXP (Freeware)
Canneverbe Limited
http://cdburnerxp.se

 


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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