CopyToDVD Ver.3 - The Perfect Sequel?

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Product: CopyToDVD 3
Provided By: VSO-Software

Introduction:
 
I had originally released this review using what I believed to be the latest version that VSO-Software had supplied me with. I was mistaken. The original review was of a pre-release beta that was labeled version 3.0.0.2, and the updated areas of this review will be of the latest build, version 3.0.3.8. Most of the features are the same, however the updated sections will be labeled by being printed in italics. The following is merely a revision of the original review. There are a few noteworthy differences though, so I encourage you to read on.
 

Back in December, I got a chance to take a look at Copy2DVD Ver. 2.x. I was quite impressed with the product, as it added a "Right Click To Burn" solution for other OS's than Windows XP. It packed powerful settings, and carried with it a simple plain interface.

Since then, VSO-Software has been busy working on their next installment to Copy2DVD. This version is much more pretty, and coupled with BlindWrite, it offers a total solution package. From Data Backups, Media (CD/DVD) Backups, Audio Compilation, or just general CD Burning, Copy2DVD 3 can handle it all. How well it can handle it is another question however. Continue on to take a look at the new Copy2DVD and what it offers.


Upon firing up Copy2DVD for the first time, you'll no doubt be surprised at the interface changes. The previous version, was very simple and didn't offer a wide variety of functionality. Things have certainly changed here.

At the main screen you have the option to select from Data, Audio, Movie & Pictures, as well as Copy functions. You also have some handy tools available as well as a help section. (In the current version the help file will need to be downloaded separately.)

All thumbs are clickable BTW.

 
In all honesty, I'm not a big fan of "pretty" interfaces. I loath Nero Vision Express, and the "Start Smart" screen. Generally, these interfaces seem too 'dumbed down' and actually make things harder instead of easier. I do however like the interface of Copy2DVD 3. It is very simple, easy to use, and is set up very logically. So let's take a tour through the functions. . .
 
Data:
 

Quite simply, you have two basic choices. You can either create a Data CD/DVD, or choose to schedule a backup. Choosing the Create Data CD/DVD brings up a simple file explorer (Copy2DVD Manager) where you can simply drag and drop files to your compilation. You have the options to rename your disc and adjust settings as much as you like. Very straightforward.

 

Choosing to Schedule a Backup will bring up a Backup Scheduling Window where you can easily add files, choose how often to backup, and give the backup a specific name. Handy program for sure. Now you have no excuses for losing your data when you hose your machine. Click the pics below to see the backup screenshots.

 

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Backups couldn't be simpler!
Audio:
 

No CD Burning software would be complete without the ability to burn audio CD's. VSO's Copy2DVD goes a step further than that and allows you to play your music using a built-in media player. It is definitely not a replacement for WinAMP, but it does allow you to make sure that you are choosing the right tunes to stick on your CD.

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The "Manage Music" button activates a launcher that allows you to choose from a selection of compatible installed media managers. If a compatible one isn't available, you can click a link to download an appropriate plug-in. If you have a media manager installed you can check it to be lauched by default instead of viewing the list. This is just another way that VSO is trying to prove their worthyness as an all-in-one Optical media burning solution.

Movies & Pictures:
 
Moving down the list of buttons we come now to the "Movie & Pictures" section. Under this section we have only two choices: Write DVD-Video from Hard Disk, or Copy DVD Video. The later choice allows you to choose from a list of compatible DVD-Video ripping programs. . . such as DVD Shrink. If you don't have any installed, you may download more by clicking on the appropriate link.
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I am impressed though at how simple it is to burn DVD-Movies with Copy2DVD. If you have edited a home video and have exported the file to an *.IFO, all you have to do is select it and you're ready to burn. If you have previously backed up a movie, the same thing applies, point to the IFO and you're good to go.

 
I'm quite pleased to see that VSO has incorporated some of the most popular DVD Ripping plugin's into their program. Many, many people use DVD-Shrink and I am quite please to see that it is compatible. Backing up your DVD Movies just got a little easier. I understand that VSO doesn't include DVD ripping software into their program due to copyright laws, but they have made it easy to obtain rippers. Good show.


Copy:
 

One of the best features of Copy2DVD Ver.3 is that it incorporates BlindWrite 5 into the mix. There have been some improvements to BlindWrite since my review, but the basic functionality of it is the same, so I won't spend a lot of time on it. Suffice to say that BlindWrite is by far the best CD/DVD Backup software I've ever used. Not only can it handle CD backups, but it can also handle DVD-ROM backups as well as DVD-Video backups by using a compatible ripper such as DVD Shrink. Due to the size limitation of current DVDRW media, most DVD movies will have to be compressed in order to backup onto one DVDR/RW.

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The BlindWrite engine uses it's own proprietary format to write images to the hard drive. It does carry compatibility to burn BW5, BW4, ISO, CloneCD, Alcohol and CUE sheet images. Good deal.

I use Copy2DVD 3/BlindWrite to backup every piece of software I purchase. I can't afford to replace a scratched or broken disc.

 
Tools:
 
Only a couple of different tools are available under the Tools button. Here you can erase a CDRW, DVD-RW or DVD+RW. You can choose between full or quick erase. Very basic, but the previous version of Copy2DVD lacked this simple feature to choose to erase media.
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The last major button in this program is the Settings button. Here is where you discover the real power and customizability of Copy2DVD. Upon first clicking the "Settings" Button, you are met with a very basic "Quick Settings" window (as I like to call it). Here you can choose a couple of basic function controls of Copy2DVD. If you need more power, you can click the CopyToDVD Writing Engine Settings. Here you have a myriad of Tabs and a veritable plethora of options all over the place. You have pretty much total control of drive settings and software defaults and over-rides. It would take another 2-3 pages to cover all the tweaks available.

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Help:
 

As I mentioned on the previous page, the Help button gives you the option to download the Copy2DVD manual. It also can connect you directly to technical support. From personal experience, VSO-Software's technical support is very good. They offer frequent updates to their software, and reply to my questions within a matter of hours. Not bad at all.


So it comes down to this, the conclusions:
 
Conclusion:
 

Copy2DVD 2 that I reviewed back in December 2003 was a marvelous piece of software. It added a whole new level of functionality to Windows 98/ME/2000 that was previously available only to Windows XP users. It was basic, simple and it worked. Copy2DVD 3 is a whole new game. It also allows the same functionality of Copy2DVD 2, but it also adds a tonne of extra's to it's repertoire. It is classy, simple, and it works very well.

The simple interface allows you to easily create Data CD's and DVD's as well as schedule backups to either of these media. It is a capable audio CD creator that also allows you to play your music. If you use a DVD Authoring program to create *.IFO files to burn, Copy2DVD 3 handles this very well, but only if it an *.IFO file. The Copy capabilities are incredible. Thanks to it's incorporation of BlindWrite 5, backing up your software has never been easier. Lastly, the settings can be adjusted and tweaked almost to no end.

 
This updated version of Copy2DVD Ver.3 has a much friendlier plug-in interface. Things work much better, and they've included more popular media manager and DVD-Ripping plugins. Just to note, if you need a manuage for Copy2DVD it must be downloaded separately. It is a very useful 19 page PDF manual, but they've elected to keep it separate to reduce the programs download size.

Pros:

  • Excellent set of features.
  • Allows "Right Click To Burn" capability.
  • Includes Backup2DVD.
  • Utilizes BlindWrite 5 for copying.
  • Supports upcoming DVD+R9 (Dual Layer) Format.
  • Free Upgrade For Copy2DVD 2 users.
 

Cons:

  • Requires download of plug-ins to support all the features.
  • "Movie & Pictures" does not include pictures.
 
All in all, Copy2DVD 3 is I believe an excellent sequel to the original. Although it does leave me wanting a bit more, it's shortfalls are very minimal. I have no trouble recommending this product to anyone, as it is the only piece of burning software that I use. I like it. . . I like it a lot. 1 & 3/4 thumbs up on this one. I give Copy2DVD Ver.3 a well deserved (and updated) 9/10.
 
If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please head on over here and post 'em!