There are many CD burning tools out there, including several popular free ones as well as several commercial ones. In fact, there’s a good chance you might have a trial version of on of the commercial products on your machine right now – they’re often included in the pre-installed software.
I use ImgBurn: it’s free, it’s lightweight, it does more than I’d ever need, and it’s relatively easy to use.
I say that it’s “relatively” easy to use, because its interface can be just a tad intimidating to the first time user. To overcome that, let me show you how to do a few common operations using ImgBurn.
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Create a CD-R or DVD-R Data Disk
This is what I do most often, by far. I use CD-R’s and DVD-R’s (write once media) to archive data and to send data around to others. It’s the most common and most compatible format.
Fire up ImgBurn, and if it doesn’t start with it, click on Mode and then EZ-Mode Picker… (or type CTL+ALT+P):
The mode we want to pick is “Write files/folders to disc“. This is how you create a data disk:
This is the screen that confuses most people, but the steps are actually fairly simple. Note the large empty white box on the left. That’s actually a file selection dialog. You can use controls to its immediate right to select files and folders to be placed in your disk, but I prefer another method. I simply open up Windows Explorer on the files I want to burn, and drag/drop them into the ImgBurn window:
Note that I’ve included both files, and folders – whose entire contents will be included.
The result looks like this:
Note that because I’ve inserted a blank CD, that’s allowed ImgBurn to calculate exactly how full that CD will be. The calculator icon is actually a button that you can press at any time to recalculate the space that will be used.
By far the most common question next is “what now? how do I make it burn?”.
Push Da Button (that’s not all that obviously a button):
ImgBurn will then ask you to specify a Volume Label for the disc, and once you’ve done so it’ll start burning.
Burning an ISO File to Disc
The previous steps to burn files and folders to disk actually encapsulates two steps:
- Create an image file from the files/folders specified
- Burn that image file to the disc
That’s all normally behind the scenes stuff.
But what if you have an image file in the form of an ISO?
Go back to the EZ-Mode Picker… earlier, and this time select “Write image file to disc“:
Once again the “what next?” question rears its ugly head. The solution, also once again, is to click on the correct button:
This then opens a file picker dialog box, and you can select the ISO file that you wish to burn to disc. Once you’ve done so:
You once again click on the largish button on the lower left half of the ImgBurn window to begin the burn.
Other Options and Notes
As always, be aware of the size of the data you’re wanting to write, and whether it will fit on the media that you have. For example, if you have more files or folders than will fit on a single CD, then you may need to break the data up into amounts that will, or perhaps use a larger format such as a DVD instead. If you have an ISO that’s larger than a CD, then you have no choice: you need a DVD.
ImgBurn, as I understand it, won’t create bootable data disks (or if it does, it’s beyond the scope of this discussion). If you’re burning an ISO, and that ISO is of a bootable disk, then the result will be bootable.
As you can see from the “EZ-Mode Picker” you can also create image and ISO files from existing discs (a great way to backup a copy), or from a selection of files or folders.
ImgBurn will create audio CDs as well. There’s a How-To at the ImgBurn discussion forums.
Those discussion forums are worth mentioning as well, as they’re a good resource for not only FAQs and HowTo’s, but also serve as support should you have questions about ImgBurn.
The bottom line is that ImgBurn is a powerful and full featured CD/DVD and even HD-DVD/Blu-ray burning utility. If you’ve got the hardware to burn a disc, ImgBurn is worth evaluating as the tool to do it.
I recommend it.
20 comments on “ImgBurn – Free CD/DVD Burning Tool”
Prtesently I have Roxio on my PC. How does this compare to Ingburn?
Also, I have a full dvd that I would like to make copies, family pictures. Do I use a blank dvd disk and will it copy everything?
THANKS LEO, great timing as usual. Just found out this week that my OEM DVD for my home-built Windows XP machine doesn’t have DVD software, and Windows XP doesn’t support DVD burning natively. You may just have saved me $79.95. (If so, I’ll buy you a latte!)
it is nice that you printed the screen shots, now i can refer to them when i try to burn a dvd or what ever
Leo, no doubt imgburn is a great tool but I couldn’t find the option of burning multisessional disks using this software. If it provides this facility then please tell….
Go to know What is the Best DVD Burner Program to use.
I am confused. Did you say that ImgBurn will burn CDs and DVDs? when I go to the ImgBurn web link I find that the free software only burns CD’s . I have to buy the Express Burn “commercial” software to burn DVDs. Am I missing something?
Leo! Thanks so much for the AWESOME article on ImgBurn! I have used this program for quite a while, also. It more than meets my needs for writing, building, and burning. Your ‘how-to” tips were outstanding!!! I always enjoy your newsletters and always learn a lot from them! Keep up the GREAT work!!!
Hey, Merso nice link. Now how about the IBM users?
free imgburn will burn dvd and cd , i use it all the time.
I have just purchased a Toshiba NB 300 notebook. It has Windows Media Player but no burner. In fact it has no facility for loading a disc.
I want to;
. rip music tracks from my cd collection and
.load Norton security which I have already purchased and used on another pc (it is good for 3 pc’s so I dont want to have to pay again for an on line download.)
Any help wd be appreciated. I amm a novice.
I use CDBurnerXP. Works right through to Windows 7. It’s free and burns CDs and DVDs, including Blue-Ray and HD-DVDs.
I’ve used a freeware program called DeepBurner for many years. (There’s also a paid “Pro” version.) It has similar features, plus you can save a list of files to burn as a “project” so you can come back later and burn another disc with the same files. You can also have multiple different “projects” open at the same time, so you can assemble a burn list for several different disks at the same time.
Thanks Again, Leo. I’ve Tried several ISO Burning programs. I’ve kept ImgBurn. Thanks for the detailed instruction (w/ screenshots). It appears simple and non-intimidating, but many times proved unsuccessful because I didn’t set it up properly. Well, no longer. Detailed instructions help in any endeavor in the computer world. Now I can act like I know what I’m doing.
if I lost IP of any access point or router witch program can do scan and find IP us it. I already use Ubntu OS.
i tried the above ”ImgBurn” on windows 7 64bit but always says it is blocked because of compatability.
i downloaded ”SPTDinst-v1.78-x64.exe” but this too didn’t solve the problem.
what do you think went wrong !
I appreciate the advice to avoid toolbars, scans, other “stuff” they offer. It was not easy unless you read closely, unchecked items as needed, and clicked with care…before download *and* during installation. Bloatware everywhere! Does seem to be a really neat program, though. Wish I’d had it before now.
While I get not many people burn CD/DVD’s anymore (as it’s March 2022 as I type this) I still consider this the ‘gold standard’ of burning apps. but I suggest getting it from the MajorGeeks website instead of the official site since the installer does not have junk in it and it’s the same version it’s been for years now, which is v184.108.40.206.
while ImgBurn will work for burning standard audio CD’s, it’s a bit less optimally setup as if there is anything ImgBurn is weakest at, it’s this (as a typical burning app is probably better suited for burning audio CD’s). still, it works well enough if I need to use it (since I can change my FLAC files back to WAV with Foobar2000 so ImgBurn can use them etc) and I like it’s overburning ability for audio CD’s. I suggest not going over around 30 seconds beyond the 80 minute normal limit of CD-R’s if you want to be fairly safe since I suspect this will likely work without any error for most CD-R’s in my estimations. you ‘might’ get up around 1 minute beyond the 80 minute normal limit but beyond this starts to really push it as I probably would not even attempt going over around 1 minute beyond the 80 minute limit as it will likely fail.
but as a general guideline… I don’t overburn audio CD’s much, since there is usually not too much reason to, but I do on the occasion I make a custom audio CD and the songs I add to it go slightly over 80 minutes as this way I don’t have to remove any song from the custom CD.
WARNING: while I don’t know how true it is, they ‘claim’ one can damage ones CD/DVD burner by overburning!!! ; but personally… I think this risk is minimal to nothing, especially if you don’t get too crazy on how far you overburn your audio CD’s. but, like I was saying, personally I feel your probably ‘safe enough’ in most situations if you stay within around 30 seconds beyond the usual 80 minute CD-R mark when overburning a standard audio CD.
for the record… ImgBurn v220.127.116.11, which is the newest, works on Linux Mint v20.x series (and I suspect future versions to as long as PlayOnLinux continues to work etc).
but basically on Linux Mint v20.x series… install PlayOnLinux (sudo apt install playonlinux) and then load it up, install Wine v4.0.4 from there (I opt for the 64bit version (amd64)), change that Wine ‘virtual drive’ to ‘Windows XP’ mode (this is critical/required otherwise if you leave Wine at it’s defaults, which is Windows 7 mode, ImgBurn will freeze on it’s initial loading screen and simply won’t work), then ImgBurn will load up and work as expected. PlayOnLinux should automatically create a ImgBurn shortcut on the desktop after you set it up, but if not it’s easy enough to do and makes it easier since without the shortcut on the desktop you would have to load ImgBurn from within the PlayOnLinux program, which is less convenient than loading it from a icon on your desktop like usual since you would first have to load PlayOnLinux, then load ImgBurn through there, vs if you just simply load it from the ImgBurn desktop icon as PlayOnLinux itself does not need to be running for ImgBurn to work.
NOTE: while one can use newer versions of Wine (say Wine v5 series etc (currently Wine v7 series is the newest)) for ImgBurn, ImgBurn will not detect any of your CD/DVD burners by default (which you will immediately notice on the ‘ImgBurn Log’ screen it shows when you start it up) and you will have to change ImgBurn itself, at “Tools > Settings > I/O”, to use ‘SPTI – Microsoft’ at which point it will now see your CD/DVD burners. but I suggest using Wine v4.0.4 since it’s less stuff to mess around with and it’s pretty much the newest Wine series that still works with ImgBurn’s default ASPI mode for detecting CD/DVD drives.
another small note… I was briefly playing with older versions of Wine through PlayOnLinux and with ‘Wine v2.0.5’ you no longer have to change it from Windows 7 to Windows XP mode for use with ImgBurn since it defaults to Windows XP mode when using that old version of Wine and while that seems to work okay enough, the fonts look a bit worse in my opinion. also, I think with Wine v3 series is when it started using Windows 7 mode by default with all Wine versions. so if for whatever reason Wine v4.0.4 don’t work for you using what I said (which it should work as I tested it on all three computers I have), or you have trouble figuring out how to configure Wine to use Windows XP mode, you can install Wine v2.0.5 and setup a ‘virtual drive’ and install ImgBurn within that and it should just start right up and basically work without issue.
A reply to myself… I was recently (here in March 2022) playing with overburning a audio CD on my Sony Optiarc 7240s with ImgBurn (on Mint v20.3-Xfce on PlayOnLinux paired with Wine v4.0.4 etc) on a old Samsung 4x 650MB/74min CD-RW disc as a quick test and that disc works to at least 1min15sec over the 74min limit (actually it’s precisely 74:40:73, or basically 74min41sec is the official capacity of the disc as standard) as I overburned to 75:55:53 (or 76min56sec) to it and after it was done, while there some some error (see below), which I think might be semi-normal when overburning like this, in the end the disc was still readable as I copied the last track to my hard drive (which copying that data seemed to go okay as no read issues or slow down) and then dragged it into Foobar2000 and played it and I especially paid attention to the last couple of minutes (since about the last 1min15sec of the song will be in the overburned section of the disc) and all is good as there is no audible flaws.
so given this info, in relation to my previous post from about a week ago now, where I mentioned overburning 30sec to maybe around 1 min max, while that’s still probably a little on the safer/conservative side, I think there is a pretty good chance of success if your floating around 1min over the maximum capacity of the disc. but much beyond that you might be gambling a bit even though, in that particular persons tests from a May 2021 article online (which is old data he saved many years ago), a fair amount of the discs could do around 2min (some being a bit more). but looking at that persons test, it’s realistic to think ‘up to’ 1min30sec over the maximum capacity of the disc will work (or has a good chance to), but I prefer to be on the cautious side and not push things TOO close to the true limit as, to state the obvious, the less overburning the safer in general. so if you overburn ‘around 1 minute’ over the capacity of the disc, there is a good chance it will work.
but since I mentioned a ‘error’ above in the ‘ImgBurn Log’, here is what it does, but I don’t think it’s a big deal since the audio seems to be intact…
I 13:33:27 Writing Track 15 of 15… (AUDIO/2352, WAVE, LBA: 310766 – 341527)
I 13:35:10 Synchronising Cache…
W 13:35:25 Potential ‘WaitImmediateIO’ Deferred Error – (0%, 0/3) – Write Error
W 13:35:25 Synchronise Cache Failed! – Reason: Write Error
W 13:35:25 Retrying (1 of 3)…
I suspect that error might have to something to do with properly closing the disc (but there was no error shown on the actual data burned and it passed the ‘verify’ part to) and, if I recall correctly, I got that years ago when overburning and I was still okay to as the disc played on a older CD player I have from the early 1990’s which should be a pretty good test on CD player compatibility (but who knows, as some players might be pickier than others).
also, while I don’t know how true it is, some say when overburning it might not be a bad idea to slow down your burn speed a bit. so ‘if’ you buy into that stuff I suspect something like 8x or 16x should be generally good for burning audio CD-R’s and ‘may’ raise the compatibility of the disc with some standard audio CD players. but I had to use 4x on my Samsung CD-RW test since that’s all the disc supports. but, if I recall correctly, I think when I overburned a audio CD on a typical CD-R some years ago now, I used my Liteon 24102b burner (Dec 2001 mfg date) and used 16x burn speed as I think I specifically used that when I tested on that old CD player I have from the early 1990’s.
p.s. to overburn a AUDIO CD on ImgBurn, I suggest using standard audio CD WAV files (16-bit/44.1kHz) since this will always work without conversion issues since it won’t have to convert anything with ImgBurn itself. so I just took my FLAC files in Foobar2000 and converted over to WAV files (there is no quality loss here since both are lossless audio formats as it’s generally not a good idea to from MP3 back to WAV if you want maximum quality, but it still might be passable depending on how picky one is with audio quality) so ImgBurn can use them. but to overburn a audio CD in ImgBurn it’s easy enough… as it’s basically done through the ‘Tools > Create CUE File…’, then you pretty much drag and drop your WAV files into that window that comes up (in whatever order you prefer etc) and after you get the proper length like over your 80min normal limit (say you got 81min of songs in there) and then basically click ‘OK’ it should ask you to save a “.cue” file of which you save this to the location of the WAV files you want to burn. then at this point go to ‘Mode > Write’ and for ‘source’ you load the cue file here, then proceed to burn the disc like usual (adjust write speed etc if you want) but on the following screen it will ask something like ‘truncate’ or ‘overburn’, you want to select ‘overburn’ because if you select ‘truncate’ it will simply cut off the song when it reaches the normal capacity of the audio CD (i.e. you won’t be overburning at this point) which we don’t want since it will cut off a song instead of burning all of the audio data like we want, so select ‘overburn’ and then sit back and wait until it’s done.
also, keep the ‘PreGap’ to what it should automatically select which is ‘0 seconds’ which will conserve further storage space on the audio CD since after a track is finished playing it immediately goes into the next track instead of having maybe a 1-2second pause like some audio CD’s do before playing the next track, which just wastes further disc space and we need all of the storage space possible when overburning to increase chance of success which is why I strongly recommend your using the ‘0 seconds’ PreGap setting.
Another reply to myself… I noticed recently that if you edit a FLAC/WAV (I loaded a FLAC file but outputted to a WAV file since ImgBurn can’t work with FLAC directly on Linux and basically needs WAV), but basically the same) with Audacity/Ocenaudio to say remove some silence from beginning and end of a track for example (I followed the info from here… https://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?t=99503#p345303 ; so that the file remains lossless) that Wine versions prior to the v5 series with ImgBurn, ImgBurn will error during the reading of that file as you can see a ‘Direct Show’ error when trying to burn a standard audio CD (basically it can’t read the trimmed WAV file(s) as ImgBurn uses Direct Show to process the WAV files when burning a standard audio CD). but that error does not happen once you use Wine v5 series or newer. I tested v5.0.4 and v6.0.1 and both work within PlayOnLinux.
even the native Linux burning program ‘Xfburn’ does not like those modified files.
with that said… I get this particular situation probably won’t occur for many because not many still burn CD/DVD’s and those who do probably ain’t on Linux, and even if they are, will probably be using standard/non-modified FLAC/WAV files for which you can pretty much use a wider range of Wine versions with ImgBurn without issue like I was saying in my previous post.
Another reply to myself… in April 2022 I bought some Verbatim 80min/700MB 52x CD-R’s (a 100-pack) from Amazon for only about $18 and ImgBurn will overburn them, with no errors whatsoever, to at least 82:14:66 (i.e. 82min15sec) and it plays back without any problem on my original audio CD player (Panasonic RX-DS620) which has a April 1991 mfg date on it (I had it since probably 1992) as on that the CD shows up as 82min12sec. I burned this disc (and about another five standard audio CD’s) with my Sony Optiarc 7240s (from 2009) @ 16x. I can burn faster (as high as 48x) but I heard in terms of ‘jitter’ (lower the better) that a pretty good guideline is to burn audio CD’s at 16x and given the KProbe scan on my old Liteon 24102b CD-RW drive (Dec 2001 mfg date) the C1 errors are low enough with no C2 errors whatsoever as I heard in terms of CD-R’s you want ZERO C2 errors (like even a single C2 error would be suspect burn quality) when doing a KProbe scan as your going to have some level of C1 errors, which is normal. but not all CD/DVD burners can do proper C1/C2 scanning on CD-R’s (probably easier to find a DVD burner that can scan DVD’s but not CD’s at this point in time). because for example you can tell my newer Liteon iHAS324B CD/DVD burner (from 2011) cannot scan CD-R’s properly given it lacks the steady stream of C1 info like my older 24102b CD-RW drive has. but it can do proper DVD+R and DVD-R scanning with PI/PIF’s.
but out of the seven or so Verbatim CD-R’s from that recent 100-pack I bought in April 2022 the total C1 errors are between 16k-54.6k with a single highest spike of about 64, which was on the disc with the highest total C1’s as the other discs it’s generally around 30 for a single spike. with that said… it does not appear there is too much info on where things should be for CD-R’s, but these should be no where near failure (failure as in a actual read error occurring on a CD drive reading the disc). on DVD’s there is a bit more info to use as a pretty good guideline (basically for more optimal DVD PI/PIF’s… around 10-20 PI spikes, PIF spikes to 4 or less. but it appears in terms of PI spike up to 280 is within spec and I have a small amount of DVD+R’s I burned not long ago that exceed 280 and still reads fine on my PC burners as PIF is more important than PI’s are in general). still, what I posted here should give others a rough ball park on where you probably want to be around for CD-R’s (hell, some CD-R’s I burned many years ago have less total PI’s than what I recently burned).
but the Verbatim CD-R 100-pack I got in April 2022 are ‘CMC Magnetics’ media code, as these are the cheaper CD-R’s (as I paid about $18 for a 100-pack) as if you want the higher quality ones (which have a ‘Mitsubishi’ media code), they tend to cost roughly $3-5 more. but I don’t think those Mitsubishi ones will overburn as far as the CMC Magnetics ones. I did not even expect that 82min15sec overburn to succeed, but it did. I might be able to go a little more but I don’t want to push it too far. but given what I read online, which may or may not be roughly accurate for these current CD-R’s, I might be able to reach as high as 82min27sec. either way, I suspect I am close to the limit already with the 82min15sec successful burn. but on random CD-R’s, like I mentioned before, I think overburning by 30 seconds or so should be safe, maybe to up around 1 minute, but much over that you might be rolling-the-dice (like say 81min30sec+).
hell, I was doing some KProbe scanning of my old CD-R’s on my Liteon 24102b CD-RW drive, which were burned in the 2001-2004 time frame (I first got into CD burning in 1998 and DVD burning in 2005), and they still scan well to this day.
p.s. I am currently using ImgBurn v18.104.22.168 (set as ‘SPTI – Microsoft’ and ‘Device Interface’) through PlayOnLinux using Wine v6.0.1 (32bit) on Linux Mint v20.3-Xfce.