Storing our data, media files, backups, and all kinds of documents in recordable discs has long become common practice. CDBurnerXP is a disc burning suite that allows you to create all those data, video, audio, backup, and system discs for free. Besides, you can use this tool to rip and clone audio CDs, and to create and burn ISO image files.
Its old-school design may not be the most intuitive one, but it leaves out all the distractions of more modern and attractive interfaces in favor of an extensive functionality. The main menu will take your directly to the most frequent disc types – data discs, video DVDs, and audio CDs. Besides, you’ll find menu entries to burn ISO images, copy and grab audio or data discs, and erase re-writable media. Anyone with a little experience in burning discs using the old Nero or Roxio tools will find the file selection method and the presented interface utterly familiar – a top half with a tree view of the selected drive, and a bottom half where you can drag your files and folders and build the disc structure. All compilation types come with their own settings to help you customize your recordings, as well as a progress tab where you can check the status of the burning process itself.
The familiarity of the interface and the comprehensive functionality that we usually also find in most of its competitors make us forget that CDBurnerXP is a completely free tool. Not only it is on par with many of its commercial competitors, but it is also ahead of some of them in a number of features. As an example, I’d like to highlight the “Audio disc” option. Here you’ll find a built-in audio player to let you double-check your track selection before burning it to disc, a tool that despite being so obviously useful in this context is not present in many other burning suites. Another good example is the program’s audio conversion capabilities – while most similar tools are capable of decompressing MP3 files before burning them to an audio disc as WAV files, CDBurnerXP can also re-encode Ogg, WMA, FLAC, AIFF, BWF, and MP2 files on the fly.
There are other miscellaneous utilities that I believe are worth mentioning to put this free tool in perspective of other highly-priced burning suites. The program offers you a cover printing feature, the possibility of spanning large amounts of data into various discs (BDs included), of creating “mixed mode discs” (i.e., Enhanced CD, CD Extra, and CD Plus discs), of ripping audio from CDs, etc. On the cons side, it is true that DVD authoring is not one of its many features, that you will need to create an ISO file first to clone discs or to create bootable discs, and that discs protected in any way are not supported, but for the price I pay to enjoy CDBurnerXP’s extensive functionality I can happily live without everything it lacks while I make the most of everything it offers.