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Keywords: CD and DVD burning, media players
Title: Nero 6 ReloadedURL: http://www.nero.com/nero6/eng/index.html
Verdict: A mixed set of apps, but the core CD/DVD burning application is recommended
This collection of tools and utilities bundles Nero's core 'Burning ROM' application with a set of other applications and a front-end that ties all of them together.
First off there's no faulting Nero Burning ROM. It's one of the leading CD and DVD burning applications on the Windows platform. It's easy to use, covers a very wide range of formats and features a user interface that makes it easy to use for the majority of cases but provides more control when required. Common tasks, such as CD-CD or DVD-DVD copying are well-catered for, and in most cases can be kicked off with a couple of mouse-clicks. Burning bootable CDs or DVDs is also straightforward, and in the case of burning from ISO images can be accomplished with drag and drop.
While there's no disputing the functionality of Burning ROM, some of the other applications are less accomplished.
BackitUp is a back-up/archiving system that can be configured to create scheduled backups, (incremental as well as full), can create one-off archives of files and data and has an easy to use restore process. For home use it's functional and fairly easy to use. If you have no other back-up system in place then it's probably fine. Whether you'd want to risk your office data on it is a different question altogether.
On the media player front there are two options on offer. Nero Media Player and Nero Show Time. As suggested by the name, Nero Media Player is used to play media files (MPEG, AVI etc), which Show Time can be used to play DVDs. While Media Player works well and is useful, there are plenty of other media players around (including Microsoft's own player). On the other hand Show Time failed repeatedly on the test system we used for this review. No amount of tweaking or re-installations would get it to work, and when it failed it seemed to fail spectacularly and needed a reboot to really get the system functioning again. This is a shame as a decent DVD player would have been a real bonus for this package.
Also useful is Nero Recode 2.1, which can copy and compress DVDs so they fit onto a single 4.7GB DVD, or else chunks up the movie to fit onto multiple 4.7GB disks. In practice this worked well enough and the DVDs which were burned had a good picture and sound quality. Note that it does not work on copy protected DVDs, so can't be used to back these up to other DVDs.
Worth mentioning is inCD which is Nero's well-established packet driver for CD and DVD disks. It basically enables rewritable media to be used as though it were a local hard disk. Once installed properly formatted disks appear as rewritable drives, (similar to a diskette or flash drive), and files can be written to and from the drive, dragged across using Explorer etc. It's a useful function to have, though obviously the CD/DVD drives can only be read by other machines which have inCD installed as well.
There are other small applications included in this bundle, such as Nero Vision Express 3, PhotoSnap, SoundTrax and so on. None of these is a major application in the way that Burning ROM is, but they're useful if you need them. For example SoundTrax enables the burning of music CDs from audio tape or vinyl. Useful if you need it.
While most of the apps can be accessed directly, there's also a front end that ties everything together. While it's over-heavy with icons, it does enable fast navigation to the functions that you want.
To conclude, there's a lot to be positive with this bundle, particularly the core applications. The major disappointment was Nero Show Time, and when that failed it generally caused the other Nero components to fail as well. Aside from that this remains an industry leader.