By now, anyone who knows their way around an optical disc drive knows the names Roxio and Nero. The two media-creation mavens have been on the scene since practically the dawn of CD-burning time. And through to today, inclusion of one or the other’s software is de rigueur with the purchase of just about any retail PC or optical drive. Of course, the bundled software packages are but abbreviated versions of the full-on suites Roxio and Nero offer. The stand-alone packages go far beyond the basics of disc copying, burning, and playing—and that’s never been more true than today.
When you install Nero 8 Ultra, no fewer than 22 individual apps take up residence on your PC. Some cover very specific tasks, such as DriveSpeed (which, as you might guess, tests the speed of your drive). Others are much more ambitious, like Nero Home, a Media Center–like interface that serves as an entertainment hub for music and video playback, TV streaming and recording, and content sharing over a network, all via a large living-room-friendly interface.
StarDock enables Windows Vista editions other than Ultimate to enjoy animated wallpapers. We put DeskScapes 2.0 Preview edition to the test on an elderly PC running Vista Home Premium and live to tell the tale.