I've been using Nero 8 with my CD/DVD-RW drive for a while now, and I have grown tired of the extraordinarily slowness and bloat (and from reading user reviews, it appears I'm with the majority on this). Besides, it does way more than I need it to. I'm looking to drop Nero, but it appears their biggest and most direct competitor is Roxio, who also gets widely criticized for bloat, even though they seem to offer several versions of their software that vary in capability.
Maybe I'm on the wrong track with both Nero and Roxio. All I want is bare-bones basic capability to do a few things:
1. Read and write data and audio CDs
2. Read and write data DVDs
3. Play DVD movies
I know Windows XP can already write data CDs, and Windows Media Player can write audio CDs (albeit without all the fancy features in suites like Nero, but I don't really care). I'd be perfectly happy to use Windows Media Player for watching DVDs, and I think all I need for that is a cheap decoder, (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/pl...).
That just leaves me with one unresolved issue: writing data DVDs.
I'd like to hear input from others on this. What solution would you recommend for writing data DVDs (don't care about movie DVDs) with an absolute minimum application size and demand on system resources? Also, any suggestions among the DVD decoder plugins for Windows Media Player at the above link? Is Roxio's trustworthy? (I have ATI, so that rules out the NVIDIA one).
One possibility: my other computer, my Toshiba laptop, came with a really basic CD/DVD-writing application called "Drag'n Drop CD+DVD" that worked pretty well for CDs at least (my laptop's drive does not write DVDs), other than the strange limitation of producing audio CDs not readable by older CD players (while Nero's will work in them). But that was 2003, and going by Google, I'm not sure if that software exists anymore; but if it does, and if anybody has had favorable experiences with a newer version, I'd be intersted in hearing about it.
I'm so sick of Nero, I'm practically ready to just go with XP's built-in capabilities for now and live without the missing functionality until I can decide on a new solution. It's one of the most obnoxious applications I've ever used
Thanks for the input. I never thought that going freeware might solve this particular problem. Thanks for the useful link. I'll consult that list in figuring out how to get basic optical drive functionality without all the bloat.