What's thin, light, powerful, sometimes clever, and always there to handle your data burning needs? ImgBurn, easily the most impressive free/donationware burning software I've run across. The program handles a host of image types including ISO, NRG, PDI, UDI, BIN/CUE, and CDI -- obviating the need to buy several different imaging programs -- and will also create data CDs, DVDs, and get this: Blu-ray data discs.
Though the up-front placement of advanced options and technical jargon might make ImgBurn a little daunting for less tech-savvy users, it's great for those who understand the process. The interface feels a bit cramped, but overall it's easy to use once you adapt to the close quarters.
It's not often that software makes me smile, as ImgBurn did when it popped open a dialog informing me that the volume name I'd entered wasn't unique. It wasn't the dialog itself that made me smile, but the cleverly-employed progress bar that showed me how many characters I had remaining for use in my volume name as I typed.
What impressed me even more was that ImgBurn successfully created a Blu-ray data disc from within a virtual machine while I multi-tasked outside of the VM and just generally ignored it. It was rock-solid in all my tests -- which I ran on several recorders -- and very nimble at such tasks as gathering info about drives and inserted discs. The software is also capable of creating bootable discs, and it offers granular access to just about any disc-burning option you can think of. On top of that, it will queue multiple images for burning and output statistics gathered during the burn process.
Although ImgBurn is free, the author gladly accepts donations via PayPal. If you find the program suits your needs, as it does mine, I highly suggest that you donate. Encouraging clever programming is never a bad thing. My only complaint about ImgBurn is about the Web site, which serves up a gauntlet of ads and non-related download links en route to the correct link. Solution: Download it here.