Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
by Alan German
If you need
a CD burning program you will probably look at the latest
version of one of the industry's leading utilities
Roxio Creator 2009. But, you will find that you get so
much more than just the ability to burn CD's and
DVDs. Creator 2009 will also let you work with
digital movies, music files, and digital photographs,
providing sophisticated tools to capture, edit, and store
these different types of media.
The program interface is clean, colourful, and very
intuitive to use, with the most recently used items
displayed as icons in the central window. The main
program elements are permanently displayed in a side bar
on the left of the program window. Selecting any one of
these brings up a sub-menu of specific tasks. For the
most part, clicking on a given task launches a
sub-program that opens in a new window.
The Data Copy
option is the source of tools for disk burning
activities, with options to create disks, copy disks, and
backup files. The Burn Data Disk task provides a
project window where you can browse for files or folders,
and then add them to a list of items to be burnt to a CD
or DVD. Individual files and folders can be added by
browsing a disk directory tree and selecting desired
items, or by dragging and dropping them from Windows
Explorer into the project window. You can further tailor
the list by adding more files or folders or removing
specific items. A quick scan feature lets you add all of
the files of specific types, such as e-mail messages,
photographs, or music files, in specified locations.
One of my favourite aspects of the program is that if you
insert an appendable disk, you are asked if you would
like to load the contents of the disk into the current
project. You can then open an existing directory and add
new files to that directory. This provides a very
convenient way of storing sets of files that accumulate
additions over time, such as an archive of OPCUGs
newsletters. It is also possible to delete a file or a
folder from a disk, for example in order to correct an
error in a file burnt to disk by effectively overwriting
the file with an updated version. Obviously, on a
write-once medium such as a CD-R, you cant reclaim
the space taken up by the deleted file, but the deletion
process has the effect of removing the file that is no
longer required and thus cleans up the file
A really handy feature is a bar
graph at the bottom of the display window that tracks how
much of the target disk is in use, and how much free
space remains, so that it's very easy to manage the
burning process. An Options button lets you
change important features like leaving a partially full
disk open so that additional material can be added later,
and selecting between the safest (verification) and
fastest modes of burning. Interestingly, the options
window refers only to DVDs I want to
leave the DVD open so that I can continue to write to
it whereas clearly the options apply equally
to both CDs and DVDs. But, hit the big green Go
button, and the burning process starts automatically,
with an animated display indicating progress to
For users of
older versions of Roxio's Creator series, the advanced
burning option launches the Creator Classic
utility. Some other options are to burn a disk from an
ISO file or create an ISO file from a disk, to make a
copy of a CD or DVD, and to create disk labels.
Creator 2009 also features file backup and restore. The BackonTrack
utility lets you select a folder for backup, the files
within this folder that are to be included, and provides
the ability to set a daily, weekly or monthly backup
schedule if so desired. A second option allows for the
restoration of an existing backup folder.
Those of you who own digital camcorders will find the
programs video functions useful. There is
everything from transferring video from the camera to the
hard disk or direct to DVD, through editing the footage,
to burning the final product to DVD, and even a video
player system to manage and view your movie files.
A similar set of tools is available for processing
digital photographs. Images can be downloaded from a
digital camera and then processed in an editing suite
with more than three dozen tools to let you crop the
image; change the brightness, contrast and colour; fix
red eye; and much more. A separate feature allows such
edits to be made to multiple images. Optional outputs
include slideshows, panoramas, picture albums, greeting
cards and calendars in addition to a variety of print
formats (e.g. contact sheets), and the ability to send
images by E-mail, or share them with family and friends
on the web using Roxio Online.
For music lovers there are tools to rip tracks from
CDs or to record music captured by the sound card.
There are editing capabilities to combine and refine
various sound tracks, convert files to MP3 format, the
ability to add song titles and artist information,
options to create playlists or audiobooks for use on
iPods or other music players, and to tools to burn
your music collections to CD or DVD.
The programs help system uses lots of colour and
graphics to supplement the generally clear instructions.
The backup and restore functions were new to me but,
interestingly, these doesnt seem to be any mention
of these in the help system, nor is BackonTrack
included as a search term. But, as noted earlier,
Creators functions are very intuitive so a little
missing information in the help files is no big deal. A
second option in the help menu leads to a set of files
labelled as Tutorials. Once again, these are very
colourful, and have information that can be readily
assimilated; however, they are more along the lines of
general descriptions of the programs features,
rather than detailed how-to guides. But, overall, there
is lots of useful information in the help system, and
its generally easy to locate the detail required.
This is not a program for the faint of heart. There are
many integrated modules and the complete package weighs
in at approximately 1.5 GB on the hard disk. Also, you
also shouldnt be in a hurry to use any of the
programs features. It takes a surprising two
minutes or so for the program to load on my dual-core
machine. But, once in place, there is a wealth of choices
to process any of your electronic media files.
Click here to view the
full OPCUG website with frames.
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.
comments or suggestions to the .