Open, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, mount and extract ISO files with PowerISO

The one thing I really like about Macs is its ability to distribute software on disk images. Most software is actually distributed in downloadable disk images and run or installed right from the image. This is one reason why I really like PowerISO. It’s a disk image editing and creating tool for Windows.

PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD/BD image file processing tool, allowing you to open, extract, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, split, convert and mount ISO files as internal, virtual drives. It can process almost all CD/DVD/BD image files including ISO and BIN files. PowerISO provides an all-in-one solution, allowing you to do manipulate and use your ISO and disc image files as you need.

PowerISO doesn’t just allow you to mount and use CD/DVD/BD-ROM images like any other disk your computer connects to.  It also allows you to create a DAA (Direct-Access-Archive) file, an advanced image file, which supports compression, password protection, and splitting the image to multiple volumes, if needed.  PowerISO also supports creating and editing ISO, BIN, NRG, CD file formats as well.  Creating bootable CD/DVD’s is also supported in both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows.

Read full review | Download PowerISO

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Burn your CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc in Full HD quality quickly and easily with Ashampoo Burning Studio 11

Take complete control of your DVD and Blu-ray burning process with this great Windows application.

HD movies are awesome, but not everyone has the bandwidth to be able to stream and view home movies on the Internet. With three kids, and two of them under the age of 7, my wife and I are always taking movies of the kids for relatives who live out of state. Helping them view those movies can be a challenge, as not everyone has the level of Internet service that I do. This is why I really like Ashampoo Burning Studio. It’s a complete CD/DVD utility for Windows.

Ashampoo Burning Studio is fast, easy to use and efficient, as it handles all of your data – files, audio and video authoring tasks without sacrificing its famous ease of use. In version 10 they added a bunch of new features, but the program is still easy to use. Everything is explained to you as you do it.

The application’s main focus is its authoring capabilities for building video and audio discs. It fully supports 720p and 1080p HD video for Blu-ray discs. All the encoding is handled by Ashampoo Burning Studio. All the authoring tools have been overhauled. You now use the same new integrated editor for building DVD and Blu-ray video disks with menus.

In addition, there is a new Autoplay Editor module that you can use to build auto-starting data discs with attractive interactive menus. It also has a new Audio Player that plays audio files and audio CDs without leaving the program.

Read Full Review | Download Ashampoo Burning Studio 11

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Nero Burning ROM 11 gets high in the charts

Nero fiddled while Rome burned — but you won’t have to fiddle with Nero for long before your disc burns. But while this is a true classic in the disc burning genre, Nero Burning ROM also has some useful add-on features.

The heart of the software is its ability to create all sorts of discs: CDs, DVDs and even Blu-ray discs. Depending on the format, you can easily create audio, video or data discs, or even a combination.

As for the added features, you can do everything from password protecting a disc to automatically splitting a collection of files across multiple discs. There’s even a special writing feature that makes it much more likely you’ll be able to read or recover data even if the disc gets damaged. And for added security, there’s a built-in virus checker to make sure nothing unwanted gets on the disc.

But for all the features, usability matters. To be fair, Nero does lack some of the “quick start” features of its rivals that allow you to simply choose a common disc format and get straight to work. That’s not to say it’s an overly complicated program to use: if you can find your way round Windows Explorer without problems you should be fine with Nero.

Performance is also fine: with most modern computers you shouldn’t get any freezes or glitches while burning.

download Nero Burning ROM 11

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Emulates your computer’s CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs with Virtual Drive Pro

I bought a new laptop earlier this year.  One of the mods I made was to remove the DVD drive and replace it with an SSD.  While this configuration does a lot for the battery life and speed of the system, it leaves me without an optical drive.  While external, USB drives always work, taking them with you isn’t always the most convenient thing in the world.  In some cases, it’s not possible.  That’s why I’m glad there are things like Virtual Drive Pro. It’s a soft DVD drive for Windows.

VirtualDrive Pro has a unique burning capability that allows you to copy your CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs, games, and other programs to physical and virtual discs. VirtualDrive Pro allows you to convert original discs into a virtual CD (VCD), which plays in any one of up to 23 VCD drives. VirtualDrive Pro provides a quick and responsive playback without leaving any wear or tear on your disc drive.

Download VirtualDrive Pro

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Make web-like presentations with CD FrontEnd

CD FrontEnd PRO creates professional autorun CD DVD presentations. With it you can make self-running catalogs, brochures, simple CD menus, and much more.  When completed, the end user simply inserts the autoplay CD, then a Web-like presentation is shown. You can include video, music, hyperlinked texts, hot spots, slides, frames, popup windows, and buttons.  You can launch documents, PDF’s, or self-extracting exe files. You can show licenses, additional info, etc.

No browsers or specific programs are needed to view the presentations. The self-running CD/DVD plays on all PCs. You can create a simple custom front end menu as well as a complex CD-ROM with thousands of pages.

CD Front End Pro is a professional tool; and it’s got a professional price tag to boot. While consumers can master and use this program, I didn’t find it as intuitive as I was hoping it would be when I initially installed it.

download CD Front End Pro

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10 top rated open source applications

We have to admit that the open source community brings a big contribution to the software market through its useful and original projects. Many free applications have been strong opponents to similar paid-for products for years, forcing the competitor companies to rise the quality of their products. So I’m bound to present to you a couple of these products that are still remarkable and can make the difference in their category. In randomly order:

CDex

A CD-Ripper, which can extract digital audio data from an Audio CD. Started as a project in 2001, CDex became a very reliable and simple to use CD-ripper with its latest stable version released in 2003. Since then, many are still using this old version, although the project has been restarted in 2006 and several new beta versions have been released. The application supports many Audio encoders, like MPEG (MP2,MP3), VQF, AAC encoders. CDex is supported by all 32-bit MS Windows operating systems.

 

 

Audacity

A very powerful multi-track audio editor and recorder for Linux, BSD, Mac OS, and Windows. Supports WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and MP3 formats. Features include envelope editing, mixing, built-in effects and plug-ins, all with unlimited undo. The only drawback is that many opened tracks will force your PC to the limits making Audacity a real mastodon when it comes to hardware requirements. Of course, you will need to download the lame encoder first, if you want to export your work in mp3 format.

 

 

VirtualDub

VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms. It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video.  It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters.  VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.

 

PDFCreator
PDFCreator easily creates PDFs from any Windows program. Use it like a printer in Word, OpenOffice or any other Windows application that supports a printer. Every pdf file that you create with PDFCreator can be encrypted and digitally signed. You can even merge multiple files into one PDF. Besides its main objective of converting any photo or document file into pdf format, PDFCreator can also convert files into PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS formats.

 

FreeMind

FreeMind is a free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has  turned it into high productivity tool. It is said that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of MindManager because of one-click “fold / unfold” and “follow link” operations. Do you want to prioritize, know where you are, where you’ve been and where you are heading, then use FreeMind.

 

 

 

BitTorrent

A very popular upload/download manager among that allows you to publish or share your data with the P2P community. It’s easy to install and set-up on your home network because it uses standard UPnP and NAT-PMP networking technologies to prepare your router for torrent access. It can auto-adjusts bandwidth usage based upon your network and the Internet, so that you can play games, stream videos and use instant messaging services without having downtime moments.

 

 

FileZilla

FileZilla is a cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client a lot of features, supporting Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more. It features an intuitive interface in order to ease the send/receive data operations. Supports resume and transfer of large files over 4GB, features drag & drop support, configurable transfer speed limits, synchronized directory browsing, and remote file search.

 

 

 

NotePad++

A source code editor and MS Windows Notepad replacement. It comes with an optimized code that results in reducing CPU usage while running. It also supports external plugins which can perform several text editing tasks such as XHTML, XML, and brace auto close, the text to HEX converter, the C++ code re-indent, the trailing space trimmer, FTP support and the case converter. You can set the colors which are used for code highlighting and even record key-presses in order to play them back later.

 

 

KeePass Password Safe

KeePass Password Safe is a free, open source, portable and easy-to-use password manager for Windows. You can store your passwords in a highly-encrypted database, which is locked with one master password or key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).

 

 

 

Eraser

Eraser is a secure data removal tool for Windows. It completely removes sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. It’s important to know that Eraser works with any drive that works with Windows. There is no need to customize the application because all the important secure drive erasure methods are supported out of the box. In order to obtain a definitive deletion, the application not only erases files and folders but also their previously deleted counterparts.

 

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Run ISO files with free Virtual CloneDrive

Optical drives have been around for years. I remember working with CD’s and hacking CD drives back in early 1996. Today, having a DVD drive in your computer, mobile or otherwise is almost second nature. However, carrying DVD’s can often be cumbersome; and with the new trend of mobile computers shipping without optical drives, working with CD’s and DVD’s is difficult. That’s why I like Virtual CloneDrive. It’s an optical drive emulator for Windows.

The application is small, simple in functionality and easy to use.

Read the full review | Download Virtual CloneDrive

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WinZip Mac Edition updated

Corel updated WinZip Mac Edition to version 1.5. From the functionality point of view, the application features:

Improved support for Mac application bundles (.app), with the option to view package contents before unzipping. You can also extract individual applications in a Zip file directly into your applications folder

Option to include hidden files when zipping, in order to preserve the full content, structure, and presentation of file folders.

Ability to extract an even wider range of compressed file types, including files without Zip or Zipx extensions (such as .jar and .war files).

With WinZip Mac Edition you can also share archiving data or burn Zip files to CD/DVD. The enhanced interface gives an at a glance breakdown of file sizes before and after compression, showing you exactly how much space was saved by zipping.

Zip and Email’ feature now allows you to resize and compress your high-resolution photos before attaching them to your email, reducing their size and optimizing them to fit standard computer screens.

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