ImgBurn - Free Disc Burning and ISO Software Review
Burning discs and managing disk images can be somewhat murky territory for most users. The wide range of commercial and free ISO image handlers and disc burners doesn’t help matters much, either. The problem is that the vast majority of users—including advanced users—don’t know whether a disk image burning program is worth their money, because frankly, they don’t know what they need it to do and they don’t know why. Because of this, there’s a certain amount of buyer’s remorse built in to virtually every program that promises to help you mount images, extract files from ISOs, create bootable media, author DVDs and burn audio CDs and system discs.
ImgBurn takes care of almost all of those issues. For one, it’s free—so all you risk in downloading it is time. But more importantly, you don’t have to worry that it’s not going to take care of your needs—because it does everything. And if the intersection of a free tool that goes far beyond the basics wasn’t rare enough, ImgBurn is actually amazingly user-friendly, too. Read the full review to learn more about ImgBurn.
ImgBurn is lightweight and runs on practically any Windows platform, including Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT4, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 (including 64-bit versions). It also works in Linux, if you’re running Wine.
You can download it here: http://www.imgburn.com/
The install file is amazingly only about 5 MB. It only takes a few minutes to get up and running.
ImgBurn User Interface
ImgBurn has an intuitive graphical user interface. Most users will stick to the E-Z-Mode Picker. It presents your options in very clear terms, with pictures. You can choose from “Write image file to disc” “create image file from disc” “verify disc” “write files/folders to disc” “create image file from files/folders” and “discovery.” Once you click any of these options, you’ll have the opportunity to choose the requisite sources and destinations. There isn’t as much handholding as you’d see in a wizard-style interface, but it’s simple enough for most computer novices to get through.
The E-Z Mode picker actually just brings you to the necessary spots in the Read, Build, Write and Verify modes. The Read mode lets you create disk images from CDs and DVDs. This is fairly straightforward. You can save your images as .iso, .bin, .img or, if it’s an audio CD, .wav.
The Build mode is the most complex mode, and it allows you to take the contents of a folder and turn it into bootable media or a video disc. There are reams of options here, most of which you don’t have to understand—but if you do need them, they are there.
The Write mode is a little more what basic users are familiar with. It lets you take an ISO, APE, BIN, DVD or one of several dozen other disk image file types and burn them to a CD or DVD. This makes exact copies and is great for backing up discs or using downloaded ISOs.
The Verify mode is often overlooked, but it plays an important role. Reading and writing to optical media is iffy business—and before you wind up scratching your head over strange errors, the Verify mode lets you ensure that the disk was read/written properly. For example, when you download and install the Windows 7 ISO from the Microsoft Store, there are plethora of errors that pop up that essentially all point to the same diagnosis: a bad burn or ISO download. The Verify mode lets you nip these problems in the bud.
The strength of ImgBurn is that it’s highly flexible for power users, but incredibly unintimidating for novices. For example, you can create bootable discs and specify details such as the load segment, sectors to load and file system. But if you don’t know what any of this means—and most don’t—ImgBurn will help you out. For example, if you are about to burn an operating system using the wrong interface, a helpful message pops up saying: “Hey, looks like you are burning an OS—usually, these discs have x settings. Want me to change them for you?” Most of the time, ImgBurn is dead on with its suggestions, saving users from a lot of headache and wasted DVDs.