Since I had first CD burner (2x Mitsumi CD drive) I used Nero for my burning need. Like half of the world, I never paid for the software, just got a OEM licence from a friend or cracked it. I never liked Nero much, but other software was even worse. Last couple of months the Nero guys really made a mess out of their flagship product. It installs several million thing, most of which I don't use and will never run. Nero 7 Premium installs 38 icons in your start menu! WTF?!
So what to do? Well, it's 21st century. CD/DVD burning isn't high-tech anymore so it's time to take a look at free / open source alternatives. And that's exactly what I have been doing for last couple of months. Since I'm not a heavy burner it took long time to test couple of programs and I'm happy to report I have found what I've been looking for!
First, let's make it clear what I need from a burning app:
- image burning (.img & .iso)
- regular (Joilet) files burning (like mp3 or divx for DVD player, archiving)
- DVD-Video burning (for those rare times I burn a DVD copy to DVD+R)
- dual layer recording (even rarer)
Not required, but it's nice to have:
And some general requirements that I force on all of tools that I use. Not required, but is a major plus:
- it's nice that program is portable (no installation, so I can have it in my Tools folder and automatically synced across all of my machines)
- active development is a big plus
These are free CD/DVD burning programs I tested:
CDBurnerXP Pro was my first free CD/DVD burning app. Worked quite well, but missed some features, DVD-video burning and disc-copy to name just two. The biggest offence is that it's not been updated since 2004. In computer year that's about a 70 regular years which is just too much. And the name - well, it's so 1990's!
It was time to look further.
DeepBurner Free Version
A friend pointed my to DeepBurner and it was a step forward. Also did OK job as a burner. It's rock solid, works nice, but it's also kind of out of date. Feature-wise it's very similar to CDBurnerXP Pro lacking same "advanced" features. Good thing is that actually has a special portable edition which is cool. I had some issues though. Sometimes it finalized a multi session disc but when I didn't want it to. Not a big deal, but it's annoying.
I used it a long time, but never really liked it, so I kept looking.
I really like the minimalism of InfraRecorder. It has all the feature I want, even disc-copy. Plus points are that it's open source, that comes packed as installer and as zip (portable is good, remember) and there is a x64 build. Not that I can use it, but it's cool. It also looks quite nice.
The architecture is somewhat different, since the program uses some opensource command line utils to do (part?) of the job. Why not, if it works. My GetCanon uses same tricks.
But it never worked for me. Kept crashing under Vista. I just read that the latest version fixes that so I'm giving it another chance.
I don't remember how I came across ImgBurn, but I do remember it wasn't intentional. The history of it is rather interesting as it started as a DVD decripter, a DVD-Video copying program that is now a history. But the burning engine evolved in ImgBurn that is a fantastic piece of software. Since ImgBurn's main feature is image burning (as the name suggest), it's UI is somewhat different from every other burning software on the planet, but once you get it it's not bad at all (hint: go to "Mode" menu and select "Build" if you want to add files to your compilations, burn DVD-Video etc). Some of the features are not very obious, but probably are there. If you can't seem to find it, just google it!
So far I don't have anythig that didn't work or that I miss. It doesn't come in zip or other portable format, but you can easily unzip an installation .exe itself (works with 7zip, haven't tested with others). It also lacks disc-copy feature but you can always burn an image, change the disc and burn back. The days that we hade two CD's in machines and copied CDs are kind of gone, right?
I have two of these in my tools folder. ImgBurn and InfraRecorder. Both get the job done, but if could just use one, I would go for ImgBurn.
What's your CD/DVD burning poison? Please share your though and experience in the comments.