VSO's BlindWrite 5 Beta

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Product: BlindWrite Suite 5 (Beta)
Provided By: VSO Software

Introduction:
 

In this day and age, software piracy is on the rise. Unfortunately that pushes software companies to spend millions of dollars researching and licensing "anti-piracy" technology to thwart would-be pirates. There are several downsides to this. The first is the increased cost of software, and the second is that this "anti-piracy" measures make it very difficult for the honest person to back up their software, especially their games.

I am not a big fan of piracy. I buy a lot of games (hence the empty wallet), but I insist on backing up my CD's as I don't want a $60CAD game to be ruined from scratches which will invariably happen. I loath the use of "No-CD" cracks as well. Some work great, but some cause major issues.

This presents a problem that VSO Software is overcoming with their line of products. Today, we are looking specifically at BlindWrite 5. I've used the trial version of BlindWrite 4, and was very impressed with it. It worked very well, especially on older games that were in their online database. To copy new versions of SecuROM or SafeDisk required a bit of messing around to find the proper Read & Write methods. BlindWrite 5 is designed to take away all the guesswork. Let's take a look, shall we?

BlindWrite has changed it's look quite a bit with this new version. It is pretty much a one-page interface that allows you to copy a disk, read the disk to an image file, as well as write a disk from an image file. It is able to read image files from every major CD burning program.

At this stage in the Beta, (4.9.9.97, and 4.9.9.100) there is only the "Automatic" Profile available. It works very well, but does not allow for custom tweaking as of yet. The final version should have more options available.

 

Speaking of options, we'll take a look at the Settings available from within the Options Drop-down menu. Nothing really exciting here. It allows automatic updating, and Live Assistance which will give some advice on how to backup most copy-protected CD's. At the bottom are the speed, erase, and eject settings.

So it looks different, claims to be better, and simpler to use. . . how well can it actually detect copy-protections and adjust accordingly? You'll have to head on over to the next page to find out.


Test Setup:

  • ASUS A7N8X Deluxe Rev. 2 (1006 Bios)
  • AMD XP 2500+ Barton (166FSB)
  • 2x 512MB OCZ EL Rev 2. Cas 2 PC3200 in Dual Channel Mode
  • 60GB WD600JB - IDE 0 - Master (OS)
  • Plextor PX-504A DVD+R/+RW IDE 0 - Slave
  • Plextor PlexWriter 52/32/52 CDRW IDE 1 - Master
  • 2 - 120GB WD1200JD (8MB cache) 7200rpm Sil 1 & 2 in RAID 0
  • ATi Radeon 9800 Pro
  • Audigy 2
  • GVC Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)
  • nForce 2 2.25 drivers.
  • On-Board Silicon Image 3112 SATA Controller with Drivers v. 1.0.0.32
  • Windows 2000 Professional SP4 with all patches and updates.

All of the read and write tests were done using the Plextor Premium CDRW drive.

Tests:

For the tests, I made copies of Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII, and Enter The Matrix. Secret Weapons uses Safedisk 2.9+ according to ClonyXXL, and Enter The Matrix uses SecuROM 4.84.76. According to Clony's "Skulls" rating these are 10/10 - very hard. Well see how it does.

When I started this review, version 4.9.9.97 of Blindwrite was the latest version. After taking my screenshots, 4.9.9.100 was released. I ran the tests, and ended up with the same results, so this data is relevant to both versions.

The above screenshot shows how this BlindWrite handles SecuROM. SecuROM, is a technology where not only does the data integrity have to be identical, it also has to be assembled in the exact same structure. Gaps in data have to be identical. . . that's why there is an additional "Topology" extraction. The Topology is extracted at 8X and the disk is later written at 4X. Quite slow in my book, but the result is a perfect backup that doesn't require any "cracks" to make it work. When it comes right down to it, I'd rather have the backup take a little longer and end up with a disk that works, than to speed it up a bit and end up with a disk that needs to be "cracked."  

 

The only beef I have with BlindWrite at this stage is the fact that on the "Automatic" setting (under options) it selects quite low speeds to read topology and to burn certain images. The image of Secret Weapons was written much faster, but this image of Enter The Matrix was quite slow. If you are unsatisfied with these slow speeds, you can choose "Fast" under the speed setting and crank it up a bit. You will run more risk of making non-perfect images, but if speed is your thing, BlindWrite 5 delivers.

Another feature new to BlindWrite 5 is that it now support reading/writing DVD's. From what I've tested, it makes 1:1 copies of DVD's.

Conclusion:  

BlindWrite has come a long way in the usability department. Ever since I've tried it out, it's been a good program, and in my opinion BlindWrite 5 is going to be a great version. A fear I had was that they would "dumb down" the interface, but the interface and the engine still allows a large measure of control on the reading and writing process. All said, BlindWrite 5 has made absolute perfect copies of every CD I've tried yet. Excellent work. Excellent product.  

Pros:

  • Excellent Product.
  • Excellent Support from VSO.

Cons:

  • None at this time.

Without a doubt, BlindWrite 5, even in it's Beta stage, is a Ben's Custom Cases Top Pick!

I'd like to thank Fabrice over at VSO-Software for letting me try out BlindWrite 5.

** Disclaimer** BensCustomCases does not endorse, condone, or encourage software piracy. If you use a product - buy it. Plain and simple. Stealing is stealing. BlindWrite 5 is to be used for backing up and making legitimate copies of your own software for your own use. 'nuff said.