Not-o Run

This CD-ROM authoring tool is too complex to use.

AutoRun is the handy Windows feature that automatically starts a program when, for example, you insert a CD-ROM in your PC's drive. Whether you're a network administrator or a newbie, an installation program that starts right up with a professional-looking interface is a reassuring sight. Good installation programs don't design themselves, though. Someone put it all together and put it on disk. You can, too, with AutoRun Pro Enterprise II from Longtion. It's designed to let anyone create interactive front ends for downloads, CD-ROMs, and other such applications, regardless of skill level. It lets you bring together text, images, video, and audio to create a presentation and access point. It contains templates, wizards, and demos designed to get you started quickly.

Unfortunately, getting started quickly isn't an option with AutoRun Pro, which has what may be the most complicated and crowded interface we've ever encountered. Its front end is jam-packed with features and options that may dazzle power users, but it's overwhelming to the average user and hieroglyphics to newbies. For a program that claims to be for users of all skill levels, that's a problem. More serious was the screen wizard's inability to open the links it offered; a major strike against a program supposedly designed to help you create such items.

AutoRun Pro Enterprise II is free to try for 30 days, after which it costs no less than $199. That's a lot, especially for a too-complex program that doesn't seem to do its job.

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