Regardless of the purpose, the first impression gives you half the boost you need to reach success. This is also the case when distributing data on CDs or DVDs, with a well-designed menu greatly enhancing the user experience. There are various applications that give you the possibility to create such menus, with CDStartDummy! being a suitable example.

You might think that it can take some time to fully configure a CD menu to properly take you from one place to another or run specific files. However, this application manages to prove the contrary, with clever feature implementation taking you through a series of requirements that only take several minutes to fill in and generate a result.

The workspace is pretty compact, yet manages to hold all functions you need to create menus. You start off by choosing a general layout for your menu, with the possibility to pick from several templates. In addition, the application can load HTML, DOC and PDF files with custom scripts in case you fancy coding an already have a menu template created.

You won't catch the application unprepared, since it comes equipped with a menu creation tool. It is brought up in a separate window and lets you either start from a template or create one from scratch. Depending on the depth of content you deploy on a CD, you can spend some time creating links and providing necessary details.

Pictures, clips and text are all items that can be inserted and arranged using your mouse. Moreover, the link tool lets you create connection points that can start from any of the previously mentioned objects. As a destination, you can choose to end up on a custom web page, run a file, display a message box, browse content of the CD, copy files and several more.

With the menu created and navigation fully configured, you can further enhance your project with a few more tools. As such, the application lets you pick a picture to use as a splash screen, custom icon for the CD-ROM drive, as well as a sound effect to trigger when the menu is launched.

Last but not least, the generated output further tips the scale in its favor. This is because all required files to run are stored in a folder, which can not only be used on a CD, but also on any removable storage device capable of performing an autorun function. Hitting the “Create CD” button lets you preview your work, directly burn to CD or save as ISO image for later implementation.

All things considered, we come to the conclusion that CDStartDummy! is an incredibly easy to use and powerful application with which you can create both complex and visual appealing menus. Practicality is further increased by the output that can be deployed on Flash drives as well, or simply stored as an ISO image for later use.