Nowadays digital content is delivered mostly as CDs and DVDs, so it’s a fair statement if we say that optical disk authoring, popularly referred to as CD/DVD burning has become a necessity for all computer users. On the other side we are all aware how quickly optical discs become damaged and we need to make back-up copies or store them on our PCs to protect all those money we spent on expensive CDs and DVDs. So wouldn’t it be great if we had a single piece of software that can do all the things mentioned above? Well, that’s why Alcohol 120% exists, not the chemical substance that occasionally makes us cheerful, but a feature-rich application successfully delivering both burning and image emulation tools for CDs and DVDs.
Installation & Requirements
Installing Alcohol 120% is a breeze; the program is ready for use in just a couple of minutes. You will be prompted to uncheck some features from being installed but it’s not advised to do that unless you know what you’re doing ,the program working just fine if you do a full installation.
The customary optional toolbar is present, claiming valuable space in your web browser so you might read carefully and uncheck this feature during the installation process. Of course you can specifically uninstall it later.
The only inconvenience is that the installer requires a system reboot in the middle of the process. As a complication, the restart might not be effective if you have active antivirus or anti-malware programs and the application will continue to ask for a reboot endlessly. The solution is to disable the antivirus programs temporarily and re-activate them when the installation process is finished.
Even if Alcohol 120% is a complex piece of software, it has reasonable system requirements, nevertheless you still need an Internet connection, at least 10 GB free hard disk space and one or more CD/DVD recorders (obviously).
The developers of Alcohol 120% are definitely fans of functionality as they designed the interface with a clean minimalistic top layout, displaying only the main tools and options with additional features and settings located on deeper layers. This particular style of multilayered interface allows a quick grasp of the program’s functions and at the same time speedy access to advanced sub-menus, making it easy to navigate through its features.
The sidebar menu delivers the tools, options and help in three resizable panels, under the form of representative titles accompanied by expressive large icons.
Another great asset of Alcohol’s interface is that many of the tools come as wizards, providing step-by-step guidance for beginner users, making its design a successful combination of basic usability and advanced tuning.
- Delivers all the tools for CD/DVD burning and emulation, eliminating the need to install additional applications.
- The feature-rich yet easy to use interface makes it suitable for all types of users.
- Supports loading up to 31 virtual drives, performance unmatched by any other similar program.
- Can make 1:1 copies of your CDs and DVDs, there are no compromises made concerning quality.
- Excellent support is provided with multiple options to choose from: the classic FAQ for often-encountered problems, a forum and a support team reachable via e-mail.
- Requires system reboot during the installation process.
- Some incompatibilities with antivirus and antimalware products can cause installation errors.
- New users can get easily confused when accessing the myriad of settings options.
Not many programs are comparable to Alcohol 120% in terms of complexity, still there is some competition out there, for example CDBurnerXP, a free utility which lacks some of Alcohol’s performances and functionality yet supplies a substantial amount of features for disk burning and creating images, at no cost whatsoever.
If you only need optical disk authoring tools than the list notably expands and you can opt for specialized applications such as Nero, the highly popular commercial suite with extended capabilities or go for the free alternatives such as ImgBurn which has excellent multilingual support and is actively developed.
On the other side of the coin if you only need an image emulator there are plenty of options many of them free, for example Daemon Tools Lite and MagicISO, highly appreciated for their dependable functionality. If you want some extra features and support, licensed products such as Alcohol 52% the sibling of Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools Pro would make great choices.
Taking into consideration that Alcohol 120% is one of the most powerful image emulators currently available and furthermore it comprises full capabilities for optical disk authoring, we perceive this application as a trustworthy and comprehensive software product standing at the top of its niche.
If you appreciate having CD/DVD burning and image emulating tools wrapped up into a single product, and are willing to invest a decent amount of money, Alcohol 120% will certainly give you more bang for your buck.