Chapter 15. Burning Your Own CDs and DVDs

It’s great to have hundreds of hours of music stored on your PC, but what if you want to play your downloaded MP3 files on your existing CD player before you plunk down a few hundred dollars on an iPod? And what if you want to back up your music collection, just in case your 100-GB hard drive crashes? The solution? Why, burn discs, of course!

With a CD burner you can create standard audio CDs with custom mixes of music, “MP3” CDs that can hold more than 12 hours of music, or backups of important files from your hard disk. If you’re in a band, a CD burner provides a low-cost way to create demo discs of your songs.

A DVD burner takes things a step further and lets you burn DVDs that hold more than 12 times as much information as CDs. Plus, with the right software, you can record DVD-Video discs.


The term “burning” refers to the process of writing data to write-once recordable optical media such as CD-Rs or DVD-Rs. The computer drives used to record CDs and DVDs are often called “burners.” You may also hear these drives referred to as CD-RW or DVD-RW/+RW units, because they can also write data to erasable RW (rewritable) media.

This chapter covers everything you need to know to successfully burn CDs or DVDs, including the different types of recording software and the most common CD and DVD formats. You’ll learn how to choose the best type of blank media and how to optimize your computer to ensure successful burns and playback compatibility ...

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