Yowser! I must admit that a free version of Nero’s burning suite
caught me by surprise. I suppose it shouldn’t have, as there are
enough free disc burning alternatives out there–and enough
articles pointing to them–that this was probably inevitable.
Inevitable and welcome. There’s absolutely no questioning Nero’s
expertise with all things optical.
Basically a stripped down version of the Nero StartSmart control
center, it only creates CD/DVD data discs: no audio ripping or
burning, no VCD/SVCD support, and no DVD movie burning from
existing files, though it will copy all those types of discs. I
wasn’t shocked that the free version of Nero lacked almost all the
functionality of the pay version, but I was a tad surprised at just
how limited it was compared to other free programs such as DeepBurner Free,
Portable. The program was also a bit of a tease. It recognized
the Lite-on WH08LS20 Blu-ray burner on my system as well as BD
discs. I was hoping that like ImgBurn it would burn Blu-ray data
discs–however, it did not.
Despite its highly-limited functionality, hefty 130MB install
footprint, and dead-end buttons encouraging you to buy a full
version, the extremely reliable free Nero is a welcome addition to
my toolbox. It’s nice having something around that I know will work
(I’ve had some problems with other freebies and late-model drives
recently), even if it’s not my first option. Now if they’d only
make a portable version…
Note: The Nero Free install routine wants to
install the Ask toolbar. If you don’t want said toolbar, be sure to
de-select this option.
–Jon L. Jacobi