What happened to Nero Burning ROM, the program with which we filled all those tubs of CD’s


For about a decade, starting with its launch in 1997, Nero was one of the most popular applications in home computing (mainly on Windows, although it has also landed on Mac and Linux systems at times). Its main function? Burn, overwrite and rip CDs and DVDsthe most used portable storage media in those (distant) times.

If we had a ‘What happened to…?’ to a program defeated by the advocates of the music industry, our protagonist today mainly defeated by the development of hardwarewhich eventually made it obsolete after the advent of thumb drives and the cloud.

Although, to be fair, in both cases their respective declines had already begun, and this time for the same reasons as Kazaa: an unstoppable tendency to bloat your software and constantly pepper it with user-unwanted adware.

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In 1995 there was no software for the Windows home user (Windows 95 had just hit the PC market) capable of managing CD recording, overwriting and ripping. In the same year, German businessman Richard Lesser founded Ahead Software and began publishing Nero Burning ROM.

Nero 1 was never released as it is only a trial version but Nero 2 and Nero 3 were both released during 1997 (also available in Spanish).. Two years later, in January 1999, the fourth version of Nero was released, available for Windows 3.1, 9x and Windows ME. It was then this support for them ISO, MP3 and Video CD formatsthey are all the keys to success in the years to come.

It was released for the first time together with a complementary software, Nero Cover Editora small application that made it easier to design and print covers for CDs… and that was the starting point of Ahead’s trend, multiplying with each release the number of applications that accompanied its flagship program and, in addition to mere recording, more and more “sticks β€œ to play discs.

Ahead released Nero 5.0 back in 2000, the biggest innovation of which was actually the loss of compatibility with Windows 3.1. We had to wait a few months until the 5.0.35 update to see how its developers also implemented support for WMA audio files. They also released around this time the first version of Nero for Mac systems called NeroMax: Its appearance was quite different from its “big brother” for Windows, but its functionality was not.

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At the turn of the century in 2001, Nero 5.5 was supposed to be released. From that point forward, Ahead would add numerous new companion apps with each release, although in some cases they were merely mergers or divisions of previous applications. Thus, Nero Cover Editor has been replaced by Nero Cover Designer and applications like Nero Wave Editor (a copy of Audacity) or Nero Toolkit have been added.

In 2005, with “Nero” as the main brand of Ahead Software AG, Ahead Software AG became Nero AG. Oh, and they throw its first version for Linux (NeroLinux) and the seventh version of its suite for Windows (with another handful of new applications: Nero Home, Nero Recode, Nero Scout, Nero Media Home, Nero PhotoSnap…). In the same year, Nero Software launches its first mobile app (for Windows Mobile) and opens offices in China, however Its star is beginning to fade with the advent of USBs and free and lightweight alternatives of the likes of CDBurnerXP or ImgBurn.

Nero made it easy for the competition integrate unwanted software into their installers like the browser toolbars that were so modern at the time (Yahoo!, Ask, AVG…). In the years that followed, Nero started an “online community”, MyNero, for hosting media files in the cloud (no longer exists), phased out Linux and Mac, and switched to Nero Burning Suite ROM three times (from Ultra Edition to Multimedia Suite, then to Burn Light and finally to Nero Platinum).

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It’s still around today (and still has tons of apps for all sorts of purposes), although I personally don’t know anyone who still uses their CD/DVD burning program. It was nice while it lasted, Nero.

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Nero 2022 is already prepared to burn ISOs on USB or Raspberry memory cards.

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Why Nero Burning ROM?

I mean why is the show called that? Well, it can be interpreted like this ‘Nero recording [una memoria] ROM (read only)‘, but it is also an obvious reference to the burning of Rome: since ‘ROM’ and ‘Rome’ are pronounced the same in English, another possible translation is “Nero Burns Rome”.

Obviously, the fact that the program’s icon was the Colosseum on fire made the clue clear… nonetheless, there are users who pick it up years and years after using the program.





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