BurnAware Free 17.1
Review & Alternatives
"Free CD, DVD and Blu-ray burning software"
BurnAware free is a simple utility that finds itself competing with several other pieces of software in the disc mastering category of tools. Allowing you to performbasic operations such as burning data discs or audio discs, as well as slightly more advanced features such as making a disc image for a CD, this may not be the most feature loaded disc burning software out there, but it does the job, and it does it for free.
Installation of the program is quick and painless, and takes barely any time once you’re done with the small 4MB download, without the need to figure out any complicated settings. OS support runs all the way back to Windows 2000, but all you need to know is that it works perfectly fine on Windows XP, Vista and 7.
Once you run the program, you’re greeted with one of the most simplistic, and minimalist menus you probably have ever seen on a burning program. Everything that BurnAware Free is capable of doing is listed out in clean rows, with icons for every function, and that’s about it. No complicated, long menus with hidden options, no “advanced mode”, nothing, which makes it a great interface that’s really easy to begin using from the moment you install the program, regardless of how comfortable you are with computers.
Once you choose a particular function, the associated window pops up, and the windows for the individual features are just as simple as the home window.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that BurnAware is extremely user friendly. Everything from the clean, categorized home menu, to the visual representation of how much space is left on the disc you’re burning using a neat diagram, screams intuitive. One characteristic that has come to associate itself with just about any disc mastering program is a cluttered user interface. So BurnAware’s beautiful, elementary interface is a huge plus in its favour, and that, combined with the simple installation, makes it an ideal solution for beginners. The fact that it’s really light on resources helps too.
Another quick point to be noted here is that at 4MB, it really is quite exceptionally small for burning software. For instance, Nero’s Kwik Media, their popular free Burning Tool, comes in at a 174MB download. This isn’t much of an issue for most people, considering what internet speeds are today, but if you find yourself in a situation where you need to burn a disc really quick, and don’t have any software to do so, BurnAware should be your go-to burning studio.
BurnAware is actually pretty light on features, and offers most of the options you might need while burning a disc, along with a couple of interesting add-ons such as the ability to make a Bootable CD or even a Bootable ISO. It should be fine for most basic users, with one glaring exception, which comes up next.
Something that’s really disappointing is the lack of a function that allows you to copy one CD or DVD to the other. BurnAware offers this in the paid versions of their software (home and professional), but the basic, useful functionality of making copies of discs is just something that you’d expect to be there, even in the free version. It is of course still possible to make copies of discs by first making an image, then burning the image, but that’s an unintuitive and troublesome route to take.
Another small problem is that the functions are completely independent. You have to close function windows and go back to the window to pick out a new function. There’s no way to go directly from one function to the other. Also, the lack of advanced features and options can definitely be a disadvantage for some users.
Two obvious alternatives are Ashampoo Burning Studio and Nero KwikMedia, both immensely popular in the disc burning space. When compared to BurnAware, both are heavier, more fully featured applications, but can’t match the level of simplicity that BurnAware boasts of.
BurnAware is a great, simple utility that carves a niche for itself in the crowded space of disc burning tools. Advanced users should probably keep looking, but for beginners, and people who don’t need the more powerful features that some other burning tools offer, it’s probably the best solution to your disc authoring needs.
What's new in this version: Improvements to user interface.
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