Ashampoo Burning Studio
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Full user review
"Program works, but it's the OTHER stuff that sucks"
Easy to use interface, fast ripping tool. Good-sounding files.
Associated Conduit Apps Engine secretly installed toolbar and changed homepage in FF4, tried the same but blocked in IE9. Abuses admin privileges.
Downloaded this to test CD ripping problems with my TSSTCorp DVD burner.with another media app. Chose it because of relatively high ratings here on CNET. The finished install of the trial version was slick, and did the ripping quite fast with good-sounding MP3 files on the finish end. But in this version it didn't accept tag data edits (I could make the edits but Ashampoo didn't embed them into the finished rips), nor did it have an album art database to draw from, leaving it up to me to use another program to hunt down or otherwise acquire the artwork from other resources.Based upon comments left after my review, it seems that there is an opt-out for the installation routine to keep Ashampoo from changing browser settings. Well and good, but my point is why should a media program WANT TO CHANGE BROWSER SETTINGS in its default install routine in the first place? Easy CD-DA Extractor didn't do this. MediaMonkey didn't do this. iTunes didn't do this. Zune software didn't do this. Sorry, but a conscientious organization would openly tell a user that settings would change before proceeding with the install. Most people don't choose a customized install, in part because most 'custom' installs involves in-depth knowledge of what the user wants the program itself to do (hard to do when there's no prior experience), and Ashampoo knew that. However benign it perhaps was in The Big Picture, it's still a classic example of abusive social engineering by recognizing what an average person wold proceed and using that to their advantage. That's a F grade, period.
But the worst thing about this install was the Conduit Engine, a third-party app installation utility that was bundled with the actual program. I made the install from a non-admin user account in Win7, but provided the requisite admin password to allow the install to happen. Conduit Engine secretly installed an Ashampoo toolbar in FireFox 4 and tried to do the same in IE9, but safeguards within IE prevented it from happening automatically. Moreover CE rudely CHANGED the homepage of FF4 without any user input or acknowledgement. Unacceptable behavior for ANY program. If I ever had any notion that I would keep this program it went down the toilet with the Conduit Engine's abusive acts. There were other examples of CE's abuses of the admin rights; I uninstalled the Ashampoo package in the user account, but when the routine opened up FF to go to a feedback web page, it was using the ADMIN account FF profile(!). It was simple to tell this right away because of the lack of add-ons I have with the admin FF profile. With this sort of invasive behavior there's NO WAY any Ashampoo app will ever find its way onto any of my machines again.
As a heads up, if you do decide to try Ashampoo and then decide to uninstall for whatever reason, you will also have to uninstall the Conduit Engine separately. For me, the whole sordid episode left a very BAD taste. In my book Ashampoo now sucks for choosing to partner with Conduit.
Updated on Jul 19, 2011