There are many freeware or low-cost disc burning products on the market today, like BurnCDCC, a quick-and-dirty, no-installation-needed utility that can be used to burn a CD or DVD image in Windows (including Windows Vista). However, no product compared to Nero, an at-cost CD/DVD burning package.
I was looking for a "Nero killer" -- a freeware application that could do what the commercial software application Nero does, or at least offered a substantial subset of its features. Now in its 2.3 revision, the ImgBurn freeware utility has a raft of familiar features—creating , burning and verifying CDs and DVDs, mainly—but comes loaded with so many other additional functions that I'm compelled to pay for it. With its new features, the product can:
- Run in all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, including Vista (and in regular-user mode).
- Read and browse existing burned or manufactured discs to an .ISO file.
- Build .ISO images by adding files or directories to a queue. ISO9660, UDF and Joliet file systems are all supported; the user has full control over details such as layer splits file-system naming restrictions; and you can build bootable discs by obtaining boot sectors from an existing disc.
- Burn images to disc and automatically verify the results. The user also has full control over burning speeds, book type (for DVD burning) and many other options that aren't normally exposed.
- Unicode support for UDF volumes and volume labels.
- Automatically check for drive firmware updates, if available.
- Examine drive region code settings (for DVD drives).
- See drive capabilities—i.e., whether advanced features like LightScribe, layer-jump recording or +R/W / -R/W reading/recording are available.
- Change advanced drive settings for drives manufactured by BenQ, LITE-ON and Plextor, which is normally only possible with a utility provided by the manufacturer.
Additional ImgBurn features
The ImgBurn freeware utility even has a feature that I haven't seen in any for-pay burning application: the ability to associate burn speeds with specific devices or even media types. If you know a certain kind of disc can't be burned over a certain speed, or can be burned at a certain speed, you can set the program to automatically switch to a designated speed when that media is inserted. For instance, I have a pile of DVD-Rs, certified at 4x, which I found worked fine at 8x speed, and was able to let the program automatically burn them at 8x whenever they were used.
About the Author:
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.