Alcohol 120% rips and burns backup copies of your valuable discs and also creates and plays 31 different virtual discs: everything from Audio CDs to DVDs, with blazing access speeds. It records audio and converts data, too. Alcohol 120% is free to try for 15 days, though the trial version is limited to six virtual drives instead of 31, and to burning with only two drives, simultaneously. Alcohol 120% is compatible with Windows XP to 7, with a separate download for Windows 98/Me. You'll need an optical disc drive to use Alcohol 120%, too, though you'll only need a disc burner if you plan to burn discs.
We chose the Advanced option instead of the "recommended" Standard installation when installing Alcohol 120% and were glad we did since the installation wizard tries to install some "extra" programs. Freeware often comes with optional downloads (someone has to pay the bill!) but Alcohol 120% isn't freeware, nor is it particularly cheap, even for a good disc burner, so we were a bit dismayed not only to see extra toolbars and coupon apps but what would have been a rather large number of them even in freeware. But Alcohol 120% also offers a good amount of support, including a manual. Its user interface is easy to understand, with a spare but familiar look. The program started by asking permission to scan our system to obtain information about our DVD burner and any virtual discs we had. While its speed will depend on your system's resources, Alcohol 120% certainly worked quickly.
A good disc burning utility isn't hard to come by, and we'd probably have a hard time justifying Alcohol 120%'s cost if that were its only trick. But combine it with a terabyte drive, and you've got a powerful disc archiving tool that lets you play your CDs, DVDs, and games over and over without scratching them on the tray.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Alcohol 120% 188.8.131.5213.