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How do you burn a CD?


How do you burn a CD? I used Real Clear, DivX, others and my computer doesn’t
record any audio or visual.

The concept of burning a CD can be a little difficult to grasp and is complicated
by the fact that not all types of CDs or DVDs are burned the same way.

In this audio excerpt from a recent Ask Leo! webinar,
I’ll review what I use to burn CDs and DVDs.


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How do you burn a CD? Used Real Clear, DivX, others and my computer doesn’t record any audio or visual.

So it kind of depends on what you’re doing. The tool that I use frequently is called ImgBurn. It does several different things. One of the things that people tend to get a little confused about is the fact that there are no less than three different types of things that we talk about when we talk about burning to CD or DVD.

The thing that’s the easiest is what’s called a data CD where you are simply burning data files to a CD and in fact, if I’m not mistaken, yea, this actually walks through the sequence of burning data files to a CD.

What many people get hung up on are audio CDs. And by that, I don’t mean CDs that contain MP3s. I mean the old-style CDs that contain exactly 70 minutes of music and no more that play in your car audio player. That’s actually a different format and I think there was a link to it here. Yea, ‘ImgBurn will create audio CDs as well,’ It requires a separate set of steps.

A lot of the ImgBurn discussion forums are to detail those steps with ImgBurn. The third type is the other type that people get a little bit hung up on. They’ve got a video of some sort and they try to burn it to a CD or a DVD and they end up with data DVD which, of course, your DVD player doesn’t know what to do with most of the time. DVD format truly, you know, ‘get a movie on a DVD kind of format’ is really a special and almost unique kind of format that DVD players understand and interpret.

And, correspondingly, you need special DVD burning software. I don’t think ImgBurn does it; I could be wrong, but there are definitely DVD burning software packages and what they allow you to do (besides just streaming the video to a DVD) is just to let you set up a rudimentary menu system like you might see at the front of your movie that lets you play the movie or pick some scenes or that kind of thing. But it’s a different beast than just burning some files.

Nine times out of 10, what people want to do is just burn files to a CD; burn data files to a CD or a DVD and that’s actually pretty straightforward and ImgBurn is actually the tool that I use for that.

And, of course, I’m making an assumption that you have a CD burner. In other words, a CD or DVD drive that is capable of burning CDs and DVDs or these days, potentially even Blu-ray.

A normal CD reader will not; it requires additional hardware in the CD drive to be able to burn CDs.

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2 comments on “How do you burn a CD?”

  1. Getting burned…

    And then there are ISOs, or image burns…that usually are bootable. ;)

    (not to be confused necessarily with the NAME of a product like ‘ImgBurn’)

    Not to mention the confusion often surrounding +/- media types.

    Oh…and the recording ‘method’ used matters. Is it ‘track-at-once’? Does the media have to be ‘finalized’?

    One more item: A platter burned on one drive in a computer/device using a particular OS may NOT work on another (similar) drive in a DIFFERENT computer/device using a different OS.

    See? It’s all pretty straightforward! ;)

  2. This is something that in the far past was always a problem – however over the past 10 or so years I have used Nero and upgraded each time a later version appears – I have recorded more than 3 000 movies and/or episodes onto DVDs over this past decade and with great success – many people have borrowed my DVDs and not had any problem playing them !!
    I must however mention the following:- some of the more expensive DVDs (I will not mention names) state that they have only one compatability range and therefore do not copy my episodes – I have learned that and I only use the cheaper (which have up to four compata-bility ranges) DVDs for this purpose !!
    I also write my backups onto them once a month using Nero StartSmart essentials with NO problems at all – I am in South Africa and I have no way of knowing whether Nero is available in your country – the internet should be able to help you !!
    Regards, live long and prosper,
    Gregory (Bobby) Adam


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