Recordable CDs and DVDs have made it possible for the home computer user to work with data in a range of new ways. As well as making it possible to create your own music and data discs, a disc burner is also a valuable tool when it comes to backing up data.

Disc burning has now become part and parcel of owning a computer; it is such a common activity that Windows has featured built in support for disc creation for quite some time. However, the support offered by Windows is a little limited, so most people tend to turn to third party programs instead. Such software tends to fall into one of two categories - either too expensive to justify buying, or two complicated to use.

BurnAware manages to perfect the balance between ease of use and range of features, and yet it is available completely free of charge. Rather than being fill with options and features which are rarely used, BurnAware focuses on the disc burning tasks which most users need most frequently. In just a few clicks of the mouse, it is possible to create a data, audio, MP3 or boot disc, create an ISO of an existing disc or burn a disc from an ISO file. The program supports not only recordable CDs and DVDs but also Blu-ray discs.

BurnAware Free is the basic version which is ideal for burning a quick disc and is good enough for home users.

BurnAware Premium also offers disc copying, so you can easily make a direct 1:1 copy of an existing disc. You also get the ability to extract audio files from a CD and also recover files from scratched discs.

BurnAware Professional adds even more functionality, including the ability to write to multiple disc recorders, essential if you're duplicating discs, plus the all-important commercial license.

What's new in v8.3?

- Option to use lowercase characters in ISO file names
Improvements to burning process and handling of files and folders
User interface improvements
Updated translations
- Bug with cropping track titles in MP3 compilations
- Bug with dropping file extensions of long file names
- Bug with applying file system restrictions to file names
Few minor fixes

Verdict

Feature-packed and yet free, BurnAware Professional provides all the tools you need to create a variety of different discs.