How to Burn a CD

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Whether you want to copy your CDs of favorite bands, keep a record of your own music or backup data files from your computer, burning a CD is a fairly easy process. Many computers have CD burning capability, and it's easy to get burn ware if you don't have it. Burn CDs and feel secure knowing you have backups for all of your data and audio files.

Step 1

Buy recordable CDs. Know that you can record on both CD-R as well as CD-RW, but CD-R is best for recording both music and data, whereas CD-RW is best for data as some audio equipment won't play music recorded on a CD-RW. However, CD-RW is rewritable and is great for saving files and data and then altering what's on it.

Step 2

Check your computer to make sure it has a CD burner. Find out if it also has CD writing software. Realize that most computers now do come with a CD burner-you can get one installed, for instance, at a computer repair shop. Download or purchase CD writing software (online or from an electronics store) if you lack the software needed. Buy software, such as "Nero Burning ROM," which also comes with a CD label maker.

Step 3

Insert your blank CD-R or CD-RW. Look for your CD writing software-click the "Start" menu; then click "Programs." Open the software and choose "Wizard" over the "Manual" option if available, especially if you've not used the software before or if it's been a while since you've used it.

Step 4

Select the option for either data or audio. Remember if you want to backup or save data files from your computer, select "data," but if you want to make a copy of one of your listening CDs, choose "audio" or "music."

Step 5

Open the files or music to be copied from within your CD writing software. Find data or audio easily with the software wizard, or see an option for opening files in the software menu or on the screen (it should be fairly obvious).

Step 6

Know that a lot of CD writing software has a "drag and drop" option similar to a Windows Explorer type of look and function. Use this feature or copy and paste data or audio you want to put on your blank CD.

Step 7

Wait for the CD writing software to copy the data or music. Pick "Burn" once the files or audio have been copied-this might take a little time. Avoid messing with your computer while the software is copying or burning because you might end up with an incomplete burning session or a damaged CD.

Step 8

Check your new CD once the burning session is complete. Open it from "My Computer" or a program on your machine. Look to see if all the data or audio files you wanted copied are there. Listen to your audio CD to check it too if you want.

Tips & Warnings

  • Name your CD while it's in your computer-if you run Windows or similar, simply click the file label (icon) twice slowly until it changes to allow a text change. Give it an appropriate title if you weren't prompted to do so within your CD writing software.
  • Know that Windows XP has a CD burner and software built in.