- Platform: Windows 2000 / 98 / NT / Me / XP
- Media: CD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
Before you start burning discs, you can organise and edit images using the cut-down version of PhotoSuite, or music in the AudioCentral media player. PhotoSuite has a friendly interface with all the tools you need for basic image editing such as removing red eye, correcting exposure and repairing scratches. You can organise images into albums, print multiple images in a variety of templates to make the most of expensive photo paper and make video CDs to look at your photos on TV. AudioCentral catalogues the music on your PC: it also rips CDs to MP3 (or the unusual Ogg Vorbis format) and looks up track names automatically. You can clean up problem audio by removing noise, create playlists, watch colourful visualisations and burn songs directly to CD.
The classic CD burning functions are (logically enough) in the Creator Classic tool, where you can drag files from the Explorer window into the disk menu to build your disc. You can choose different types of disc here directly (data, audio CD, MP3 and enhanced CDs). Projects can now span multiple CDs and DVDs and automatically include the Roxio Retrieve utility for opening individual files from a multi-disc project on any PC. Filtering files in or out by name or file type makes it easy to back up documents without wasting space on temporary files. The Label Creator automatically picks up the details of tracks in your project; you get a good range of templates, including Mini Disc and DVD cases, and some colourful themes too.
If you just want to copy a disc, the Disc Copier has a clearer interface than previous versions and it now handles raw mode copies, so you can backup almost any format of disc. You can also burn files just by dragging them to the Drag-to-Disc icon on your desktop: this is very similar to Direct CD but supports more disc types, including all the varieties of DVD, giving you what's effectively an enormous floppy disk.
All the options for video discs (DVD and video CD) are in the DVD Builder tool: this isn't the most sophisticated DVD authoring tool and the menu tools are on the simple side but it's easy to use. You can add video clips and still images from your hard drive or capture from a camera, extract stills from video, add transitions between clips and pick a theme for your menu. If you're using DVD+R/W, the software lets you capture straight from the camera onto a DVD without filling up your hard drive.
The various tools all strike a balance between including powerful features and being easy to use. You need a fairly powerful system for the video capturing options, but whatever you want to do with CDs and DVDs, you should be able to do it in Roxio Easy CD & DVD Creator. --Mary Branscombe