Share your CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray drive (reader or burner) over a network with Paragon Net Burner

Do you have a computer (desktop, notebook, or netbook) that does not have an optical drive? Or, maybe it has an optical drive but the optical drive is broken? Well, then, Paragon Net Burner may be for you. Paragon Net Burner is a software that aims to do one thing and one thing only: Allow users to share CD/DVD/HD-DVD/BD drives (readers and burners) over a network. Thus you do not have to spend extra cash purchasing drives for computers that do not have an optical drive, or have a broken optical drive – you can just share the optical drives you have with all computers on your network with Paragon Net Burner.

These are all the types of optical drives Paragon Net Burner supports:

  • CD-R/RW
  • DVD-R/RW
  • DVD+R/RW
  • DVD+/-R (DL)
  • BD-R/RE (Blu-ray)
  • HD-DVD

How Paragon Net Burner works is it allows you to mount an optical drive from one computer (the computer that has the drive) onto another computer (the computer that does not have the drive); by mount I mean virtually mount, not physically mount. Once you have the optical drive mounted, you can use it normally just like you would if the actual physical optical drive was in the computer (i.e. you can use any burning program, read the disk, etc.). Of course you still need to physically insert/remove disks from the actual drive – Paragon Net Burner won’t magically insert/remove the disks for you. And take note that only one computer can access an optical drive at a time. In other words, while an optical drive is mounted on a remote computer, the local computer cannot use it – nor can you use the same optical drive on another remote computer (yes, you can share one optical with multiple computers, but only one computer can use it at a time).

Paragon Net Burner utilizes a server-client relationship. In other words, it has a server component and a client component. The server component is installed on the computer that has an optical drive and wants to share the optical drive with other computers on the network. The client component is installed on the computer(s) that don’t have an optical drive of their own. During installation of Paragon Net Burner you are asked if you want to do a full installation, install the server edition, or the client edition:

If you are not tech savvy and don’t feel comfortable selecting which type of installation to do, you can do a full installation on both the server (the computer with the optical drive) and the client (the computer(s) without the optical drive) and everything will work just fine.

Once you install Paragon Net Burner on the server, all you have to do is make sure Paragon Net Burner is running (look for Paragon Net Burner’s icon in the system tray: ) – you need not do anything else on the server. After Paragon Net Burner has been installed on the server (and running on the server) and on the client, go to the client computer and run Paragon Net Burner; you will need to select the optical drive that you want to use:

If no optical drive is found, try hitting the “Refresh” button or manually entering the IP address (local LAN IP) of the computer that has the optical drive. Once you have the optical drive selected, hit “Next” and the drive will be mounted on the client. If it is the first time you are mounting the drive, it will be treated as new hardware by your computer and it will first be installed (takes a few seconds). After the drive has been mounted, you can use it normally as if you had the actual drive in your computer (including being able to use burning programs):

After you are done using the drive, you can easily unmount it via the right-click menu of Paragon Net Burner’s system tray icon:

As you can see from the above screenshot, if you ever want to mount a drive again, right-click on the system tray icon, select “Mount optical drive” and start the process all over again.

There are three things to note about Paragon Net Burner:

  • Paragon Net Burner is based on Rocket Division’s StarBurn SDK. So, during installation of Paragon Net Burner you may be asked to install StarBurn/StarPort/Rocket Division drivers – these drives are safe to install, so don’t worry about it.
  • If you are unable to properly find optical drives on the network, be sure to open the proper ports in your firewalls to make sure the firewall is not blocking anything.
  • You need to fill out a short form after which you are e-mailed the download link for Paragon Net Burner:

Since Paragon Net Burner is aimed at businesses, the form asks you for a “Company Name”; if you are using Paragon Net Burner for home, just put something like “Home Use”.

The e-mail you get is from “eservice@paragon-software.com” with the subject of “Your Product Information for Paragon Net Burner 2.0 – Free (English)”. In the e-mail is registration information and a download link:

Even though you are provided with registration information I found there is no need and no place to enter the registration information. So, just download and install Paragon Net Burner without worrying about registering it. (Someone correct me if I am wrong.)

That said, you can grab Paragon Net Burner from the following link:

Version reviewed: v2.0.0.1

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Server 2003/Server 2008

Windows 7 is not officially supported but it seems to work fine on Win7.

Download size: 2.7 MB

Paragon Net Burner homepage [direct link to registration/download page]

Thanks PCbasics!

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14 comments

  1. composting toilets

    Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  2. konik

    Hi, I tried this software on my netbook, sharing DVD-R/RW drive of my laptop, but it doesn’t seem to work. For instance I wanted to make backup of system files (the one, which POP up on new netbook) to DVD.I can see DVD drive is installed on netbook, but no burning software can see it.I tried bunch of them.So basically you can use it for installing staff from CD or DVD or running movies, but not for burning discs.

  3. David Prowse

    I’m trying to share my Blu ray drive from my desktop PC with my laptop. Paragon sees the drive, and allows me to select, but after hitting next, it says the installation of remote device failed. I’ve turned Firewall off on both machines to rule out any connection blocks, but still haven’t been able to resolve the issue, any ideas or suggestions?

  4. Patrick

    Hi,

    I haven’t read Paragon’s pages on this program, but I fail to see the use of it in a rather strictly managed LAN-environment – i.e. large volumes of datatransfer from one office computer to another within the same company.
    Why install a dedicated client-server relationship when datatransfer is routed through the main server? Furthermore I have no idea why a company’s IT-security team would allow such practices. Trying to circumvent the central server for station to station datatransfer while there are (or should be) strict regulations about who may access what information may, at least, result in a serious reprimand or, in a worst case scenario, to instant discharge. 
    This part of my reflections comes from “Since Paragon Net Burner is aimed at businesses”… I guess that it may be of some use to small (family) businesses? Big corporations, IMHO, will not appreciate someone installing this tool in their network. I may be wrong of course.

    In an educational environment though, where (e.g.) ’small’ schools don’t have enough servercapacity, it may have a role to play. A idea to explore?

    Small local libraries perhaps? Local community initiatives? Hobbyclubs?..

    For home use then? I would have to think along lines of personal administration, kid-protection,..  

    Finally…
    What about using it to send whole CD’s/DVD’s over the internet, person to person, to family or friends, seeing the e-mail volume limits? Would that work? Really, would that work?

    The more I think about it “outside of the (corporate) business box”, the more I feel attracted to it.

    I trust Paragon’s software, and I have no reason not to as their software does what they claim it does.

    I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ALL ABOUT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH NET BURNER.
    What you use it for and wether or not it covers your needs and expectations.
    Also if any of my above ideas seem feasable or completely mad…
     
    Thanks for any reactions and
    Greetz!
    Patrick.

    BTW, Just to avoid any second thoughts, I’m not in any way affilliated with Paragon (wish I were ;-).  

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @PCbasics: I wish I could I am glad to be back… I wanted to have a longer vacation =P.

    That said, yeah, I am looking through forum posts for ideas on what to post – I see you have been busy! Thanks for that.