Though this multifaceted burning tool won't win any beauty awards, it has almost everything Windows users need to create CDs and DVDs. One of the most glaring holes in Windows XP is a good DVD burner program, and CDBurnerXP Pro fits the bill well. Despite a slightly confusing interface, this freeware tool should not disappoint users who take the time to familiarize themselves with its functionality.

The core of the program's feature set consists of three main tasks, which are prompted via a wizard upon start-up: writing data CDs and DVDs, creating CDs for audio playback, and ripping music from CDs, or editing ID3 tags. Canceling the wizard results in a rather blank blue screen with only a few selections in the toolbar. To work on a new project, you'll need to select one of the options, which can be brought back via the "New document" icon in the upper left. Unfortunately, you can't even open an existing project without selecting one of the wizard options first.

The program supports both burnproof and on-the-fly disc writing, as well as bootable ISO files, but it cannot burn double-layer DVDs, a feature promised for version 3.5 and still in alpha development. While it may take users some time to learn how to use it effectively, CDBurnerXP Pro is a competent tool and a great value.