The free version of Nero's burning suite caught us by surprise - Nero 9 Free is an excellent disc burner, but its limitations are many.

There are plenty of free disc-burning alternatives out there - and enough articles pointing to them - but the strength of Nero's offering is welcome. There's absolutely no questioning Nero's expertise with all things optical.

Basically a stripped down version of the Nero StartSmart control centre, Nero Free creates only CD/DVD data discs: no audio ripping or burning, no VCD/SVCD support, and no DVD movie burning from existing files, although it will copy all those types of discs.

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We weren't shocked that the free version of Nero lacked almost all the functionality of the pay version, but we were a tad surprised at just how limited it was compared to other free programs such as DeepBurner Free, ImgBurn, and InfraRecorder Portable.

Nero 9 Free is also a bit of a tease. In tests it recognised the Lite-on WH08LS20 Blu-ray burner on our system as well as BD discs. We were hoping that like ImgBurn it would burn Blu-ray data discs - however, it does not.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

Nero 9 Free: Specs

  • 1GHz CPU
  • DVD burner
  • 256MB RAM
  • 500MB free hard drive space
  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • 1GHz CPU
  • DVD burner
  • 256MB RAM
  • 500MB free hard drive space
  • Windows XP/Vista/7

OUR VERDICT

Despite its highly-limited functionality, hefty 130MB install footprint, and dead-end buttons encouraging you to buy a full version, the extremely reliable Nero 9 Free is a welcome addition to my toolbox. It's nice having something around that we know will work (we've had some problems with other freebies and late-model drives), even if it's not our first choice. Now if they'd only make a portable version...

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