There are plenty of free CD/DVD burners for Windows, and to be honest we haven't often been tempted to look beyond CDBurnerXP and InfraRecorder, which both seem to handle pretty much any tasks you can throw at them. But while reading an article about BurnOn over at Life Rocks 2.0, we noticed a link in the comments to StarBurn. And while we might check out BurnOn later, we were kind of blown away by StarBurn.
The application can handle all of your basic tasks like burning data, audio, and video discs. It supports a wide variety of formats including CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD. And it has some nifty features like the ability to either rip audio CDs or compress audio already on your computer to MP3, WMA, or OGG formats.
One StarBurn feature that you don't often see bundled with disc burning utilities is a virtual drive mounting application. In other words, you can use StarBurn to create a disc image or ISO file, and then mount that file as a virtual disc so you can see how it performs without actually burning the file to a disc and sticking it in a drive. This can come in handy if you want to see check an image before burning it, or if you want to mount an image you've created or downloaded on a system that doesn't have a working optical drive.
StarBurn is free unless youw ant the network version, which offers network burning features and costs a whopping $495. The full functionality is included in the free version, but you can only use the network features during a 30 day free trial period.