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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Burning CDs and DVDs from the Desktop

Burning a CD or DVD is great for backing stuff up, transferring stuff to another computer, mailing to somebody, or archiving older files to free up hard drive space. These days, you can buy blank CDs and DVDs very inexpensively in bulk via the Web or a discount store.

If your computer has a drive at all, it can burn both CDs and DVDs. Many Windows 8.1 machines, however, are designed to be small and light—tablets and ultralight laptops, for example—and don’t have disc drives at all. In that case, you can always buy an external USB burner; they’re dirt cheap.

Before you dig in, however, here’s a brief chalk talk about CD data formats.

A Tale of Two Formats

Turns out Windows can burn blank CDs and DVDs using your choice of two formats:

  • Mastered (ISO). This is what most of the world is used to. It’s what everybody burned before Windows Vista came along. The primary virtue of discs burned this way is compatibility; they play in just about any computer, including Macs, PCs, and CD or DVD players that play MP3 CDs and digital video.

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