There are dangerous signs of a shift in audience or focus with this successor to Easy Media Creator 9 and 10, as if Roxio feels that two of the biggest selling points of its media suite - ease of use and a rigorous approach to organising and working with your digital media - were no longer as cool or interesting as the creative aspects. There's no need to worry. Creator 2009 still features all the burning, ripping, converting, transfer and editing facilities we've come to expect from Easy Media Creator, and it's still very easy to use. For the average user who wants an all-in-one package with which to master their growing library of audio, video and photo content, it's currently the best option out there.
Easy Media Creator 9 was a hit with us at TrustedReviews, but while we also had good things to say about version 10, it wasn't quite the follow-up it could have been. Creator 2009 sorts out its biggest weaknesses in style. First, a revamped interface gives it a more coherent and intuitive look and feel across all the components - and believe me, there are plenty - in the suite. A central Home screen gives you instant access to the program's most powerful and useful features, while sub-screens for Data, Video, Music, Photo and Online take you to a series of tasks relevant to each category. This approach, based more on what you need to do than the tools you'll need to do it, has worked well for Roxio in the last few versions and it works well here too, but where Easy Media Creator 9 and 10 sometimes felt like a selection of separate applications that had been linked together by task screens and a central interface, Creator 2009 feels much more like a single package. You're still working with a range of programs, but - with the odd exception - they follow similar conventions and a similar approach.
The second major issue was Vista support. It's fair to say that Easy Media Creator 10 had a few glitches when it came to Vista, with installation problems, certain components that wouldn't run and occasional hangs commonly reported. Creator 2009 is a big improvement. Running on Vista Ultimate x64 I've only had to suffer one crash, and I'd give Roxio the benefit of the doubt on that one given that the video file involved has similar effects with other programs. In fact, technically speaking I only had two issues, the first being a painfully protracted installation that took upwards of forty minutes, the second being that - despite this - the package still seems to need to access the installation discs on a semi-regular basis to add support for certain file formats or features. Keep yours handy would be my advice.