When good software goes bad…

For the past eight years, I’ve been a devoted user of Ahead’s Nero Burning ROM program. Back in 1999, the king of DVD burning software was Adaptec’s Easy CD Creator which I used. However, I didn’t like it because it was quickly becoming bloatware with Adaptec trying to tack on feature after feature and the program became less stable over time. Around that time I became award of Ahead Software’s Nero Burning ROM software which was a bare bones burning software that was rock solid. What ultimately sold me on it was that it was the first burning software that was compatible with my Firewire-based DVD burner and I have been using it ever since. I started with version 4.0 and have steadily upgraded to every version including the most recent version 7.x Ultra.

Over the years, Nero has added tons of features as “value adds” on top of their already solid burning software. Unfortunately, this has led to feature bloat with the latest incarnation of the software weighing just over 200MB. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind getting new features for “free” but I feel like the software has lost some of the charm that it used to have. Also, I’m not a fan of the install options where the program will try to install everything and change all your file associations without asking you.

Case in point. Tonight I decided to run Nero Update and was notified there were updates. Typically, I manually download the new install file because every time I’ve tried to upgrade my current install, Nero’s installer will hose my current installation leaving me with a non-working Nero install. This has happened ever since the new Nero ProductSetup was introduced. Tonight, I decided to give it another chance and let it attempt to upgrade my current setup. Amazingly, the updates installed without a hitch and the process actually finished. However, I was not pleased when I rebooted my system.

First of all, Nero had decided to change my file associations without asking me. It didn’t change all of them but it decided that it was going to handle most of my video formats. I don’t see why it couldn’t leave my existing associations as they were. While this is easy to change, it’s annoying that it changed them.

Secondly, Nero decided that I wanted every single component of the Ultra suite to be installed despite the fact that I had only installed some of the applications from the suite. I purposely don’t install things like Scout, Home, Mobile, Photosnap, CoverDesigner and BackItUp because I don’t use those features and some of them take up a lot of resources, install unnecessary services and generally try to slow down your system.

Lastly, if you do a manual install you’ll notice that Nero gives you the option of installing a “search toolbar”. I wish companies would cut this out. Stop bundling unrelated and unnecessary software! All it does is piss off your customer. I can understand if the software is shareware or donationware but if I’m paying for the software already stop wasting my time by making your download unnecessarily larger. In some cases, I’ve seen every single language version of a particular toolbar software be included with the download representing a noticeable chunk of the download. If I want a toolbar, I’ll download it myself. Or how about this, simply provide a link to the software and let me decide instead of forcing it on me.

So, I’ll keep using Nero because they still have a great product and they don’t treat their customers like criminals. However, I would like them to make their update process smarter and offer alternative ways to download “lighter” versions or configurations of their software. I know there are some people doing this with the Nero Light and Nero Micro efforts but I’d like to see something official from Nero since their product continues to grow in size.








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