A month of free software – 24. ImgBurn

ImgBurn screenshot

ImgBurn screenshot

Today’s free program (*1) is ImgBurn, a lightweight CD/DVD burning program for Windows.

With ImgBurn you can burn existing disk image files to disk, create disk image files from a CD/DVD or from files on your computer, and you can do regular CD/DVD creation (burn files from your computer straight to a disk).

And that’s it. No nonsense, no frills, no extras… Unless your taste in frills and extras is very geeky: If you want to mass-produce disks with your multiple drives, analyze the quality of the burns with your various drives to various brands of writable disks, etc. then ImgBurn will let you geek out.

Why ImgBurn and not, say, Nero?

I’ve mentioned the problem of software bloat before in this series, as the reason I’m using Paint.NET and not Paint Shop Pro. The previous fan-favorite disk-writing program Nero is a great example of software that has become too bloated, at least for this geek.

Nero (or Nero Burning ROM as it used to be called) was a great program a couple of years ago. Then it got bloated with a lot of extraneous functionality. Here’s the Nero 9 highlights as they appear on Nero’s product page today:

  • Fast and easy rip, burn, Autobackup, and copy functions
  • Backup files to CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs
  • Copy, burn, share, upload, and create music mixes like a DJ
  • Quick photo and video upload to My Nero, YouTube™, and MySpace
  • Watch, record, pause, and customize your live TV experience
Nero 9 - included applications

Nero 9 - included applications

The two first items are the features you really want. The rest is bloat for at least 90% of users.

But wait, there’s more bloat / more features:

  • Video creation and editing tool
  • Movie Wizard template library
  • Ad Spotter to automatically cut out commercials from recorded movies or TV programs
  • Archive your old CDs and LPs
  • Manage and play your favorite music
  • Music recognition service delivers accurate song and artist information and album art
  • Photo-editing tools to correct red-eyes, crop, rotate, adjust, and enhance photo quality
  • Create photo slideshows with special effects, transitions, and music; burn it on DVD with great 3D menus.

Nero’s trial version used to be restricted only in that you could only write disks at limited speed, but the current limitations are much more strict: The trial version has some formats locked-down, and it’ll only run for 15 days. After that it will cost you $80 to upgrade to the full version.

Nero has chosen to produce an entire media PC package. And I actually think that it’s a great package for the price if you want to stick with one provider for all your entertainment software needs. But that’s not the geek way. We like to optimize each component (preferably with free software) instead of buying a package deal.

*1 Well, “yesterday’s free program”, really, as I’m behind on the series and actually writing this on January 25th and back-dating the post. (Don’t tell anyone!)

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