Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software

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Introduction

When looking for the best free software program for either CD (Compact Disc) or DVD (Digitally Versatile Disc) I think it is worth the effort to consider your exact requirements.

Keep in mind that CD & DVD burning programs are designed for you to author CDs and DVDs for: music, photos, movies, games, data, or other digital files that will hopefully stimulate your creativity. As well as CD and DVD burning software, this category also includes Lightscribe software which enables you to produce laser-etched labels with text or graphics, as opposed to stick-on labels and printable discs.

With new software (particularly new free software) don't be afraid to experiment and try a few different options before you decide on the right one for you.

 
Discussion

ImgBurnImgBurn is the product I decided is the most powerful free burning tool, as no other software comes close to its advanced features and options.

ImgBurn includes support for:

  • every modern optical disc from CD to Blu-Ray
  • more than 10 image formats
  • authoring rewritable discs
  • producing images from file compilations or discs
  • building audio CDs from a variety of file types
  • creating video discs on DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD
  • enabling access to drives for restricted users
  • endless tweaking of all aspects of the burn process.

ImgBurn has several 'Modes', each one for performing a different task:

Read - Read a disc to an image file.
Build - Create an image file from files on your computer or network or you can write the files directly to a disc
Write - Write an image file to a disc
Verify - Check a disc is 100% readable. Optionally, you can also have ImgBurn compare it against a given image file to ensure the actual data is correct
Discovery - Put your drive/media to the test! Used in combination with DVDInfoPro, you can check the quality of the burns your drive is producing.

ImgBurn's advanced features may confuse you if you just want to do a basic burn. The welcome menu provides quick access to some common tasks, but other basic features such as erasing a re-writable disc are not immediately visible. Try playing around with ImgBurn for a while. Exploring the menus will certainly reveal most of what you need. However, if you simply aren’t interested in advanced functionality  you may wish to check out my other recommendations. Although ImgBurn is primarily aimed at advanced users, I still feel that it deserves top spot in this category. Caution: ImgBurn is now bundled with the OpenCandy wrapped installer.

 

BurnAware FreeBurnAware Free is probably the prettiest in the interface department for this collection and offers a step-by-step procedure for your burning projects. It is now probably one of the most popular free CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc burning software available for Windows. Using BurnAware Free Edition you can easily create and burn Audio and MP3 CD, Data and DVD-Video disc, ISO and Cue Image, erase or format rewritable disc, copy your CD or DVD to ISO image. This software is for personal home use only.

A launch window lets you choose the type of project you want and leads you through the process to completion. Navigating your directories is easy with BurnAware's file management system and adding files is as simple as highlighting them and hitting a button. BurnAware offers enough features for most burning projects including burn data, bootable and multi-session discs, burn audio, video and MP3 discs, create and burn ISO/CUE/BIN images, copy discs to ISO images and erase rewritable discs. Sometimes you just need a simple program for your burning needs and don't need all the extra features of a paid application. Caution: BurnAware Free is now bundled with the OpenCandy installer. See this information page for details.

Supports:

  • All media types (CD/DVD/Blu-ray Disc) including Double Layer
  • All current hardware interfaces (IDE/SCSI/USB/1394/SATA) including AHCI
  • UDF/ISO9660/Joliet file systems (any combination)
  • On-the-fly writing (no staging to hard drive first)
  • Verification of written files
  • Multi-session DVD-RW/DVD+RW
  • Unicode CD-Text (tracks and disc)
  • Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 (32 and 64 Bit), .Net framework is NOT required.

 

CDBurnerXPCDBurnerXP is a another wonderful free tool. It is especially brilliant if you are accustomed to using Nero.

Big picture - CDBurnerXP is a quick and easy solution for creating audio CDs, video discs (DVD and Blu-Ray) and has extra features for ripping your audio CDs and finding track info on the Web.

It adds sessions to multi-session discs; burns on-the-fly and verifies burns; erases rewritable media; creates audio discs and video DVDs; command line version; LightScribe cover printing support with very basic designer supporting custom background images; enables access to drives for restricted users; multilingual; some advanced features and options.

I like CDBurnerXP's clean user interface. The four-paned interface makes it easy to find what you are looking for. You can then drop-and-drag files to your chosen media. Also, the audio player, which is included, helps you ensure you have captured the tracks you want. You may find the dropbox window handy as it allows you to browse your files using Windows Explorer and then quickly drop-and-drag files to your burn list as you go. Judging from other user reviews, some people had trouble with CDBurnerXP when burning data DVDs although I did find I was able to use this function without too many hassles.

Once again, CDBurnerXP supports common types of optical discs like CD, DVD, and Blue-Ray including double layer mediums. You will find creating Audio CDs, Video Discs, DVD or Blue-Ray, very easy. I found dealing with re-writable media is also very comfortable with this program. ISO files can be created and burned as well with support of converting BIN/NRG file formats into ISO.

CDBurnerXP is multilingual and natively supports 32 and 64 bits version of Windows 7.

Editor's Advisory Note: CDBurnerXP is now bundled with OpenCandy. See this article for more information.

 

InfraRecorder I consider a review of free burning software must include InfraRecorder so I am listing it as my fourth choice. InfraRecorder is a stable project that has been popular for quite a long time. It supports all of the common features that a good burning application should have, and it works with all types of CDs and DVDs including dual layer discs. It even includes full command line support like CDBurnerXP. With InfraRecorder, you can burn and create images with support for bootable discs, author rewritable discs, and create audio CDs and video DVDs. The interface is clean and simple without a lot of extras to make things confused.

InfraRecorder is a respectable burning program, but it has a few disadvantages as well. It does not support Blu-Ray discs or HD-DVDs. It also does not include many advanced options for tweaking the burn process to perfection like ImgBurn. Its interface isn’t as nice as that of BurnAware Free, and it doesn’t have any extra features like CDBurnerXP. Aside from these possible downsides, it feels like a solid program that definitely deserves a chance at becoming a part of your favored software collection.

 

 

 
Related Products and Links
 
Quick Selection Guide

ImgBurn
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
A free tool that enables you to burn CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-Ray images with ease. Very flexible application with several advanced features not available in other tools.
Bundled with OpenCandy - see information link in review text. Probably more suited to advanced users who will appreciate the extent of its configurability.
http://www.imgburn.com/
2.5.8.0
3.39 MB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Win 9x/ME/NT/2K/XP/2K3/Vista/7. If you use Wine, it should also run on Linux and other x86-based Unixes.

Although no official portable version exists, Googling "ImgBurn portable" returns several results showing how to run it from a flash drive.

BurnAware Free
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
BurnAware Free is a free CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc burning software
Doesn't have the option of a floating window that features in programs such as CDBurnerXP. Installer bundled with OpenCandy (see information link in review text).
6.8
11.0 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7
InfraRecorder
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
supports CD-R/CD-RW/DVD+R/DVD-R/DVD+RW/DVD-RW/DVD-RAM (double layer mediums included); burns discs from images or files, creates bootable discs, creates images from files or discs, copies discs to discs (does not seem to bypass copyright protection), adds sessions to multisession discs, fixates discs, burns on-the-fly, verifies burns, erases rewritable media; creates audio discs, creates video DVDs; command line version; multilingual; simple, easily accessible interface
does not support HD-DVD, Blu-Ray; lacks advanced features
http://infrarecorder.org/
0.53
3.96 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000/ XP/ Vista/ 7
CDBurnerXP
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Clean user friendly interface. Multi-session functionality.
Requires Microsoft .NET Framework.
http://cdburnerxp.se/
4.5.2.4291
5.04 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/7

Caution: Now bundled with OpenCandy - see note above. An OpenCandy free version is available by clicking the "More download options" link on the downloads page.
Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Windows Media Format 9.0 Update are required

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here

 

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Comments

by Profh0011 on 3. August 2014 - 13:37  (117720)

I recently had to get a new computer, which has caused the usual nightmares of installing, re-installing, re-registering, and learning some new programs from scratch.

"ImgBurn" was installed. You know, after many years of working with computer programs, you get to know good design from BAD design. Frankly, "ImgBurn" is the worst piece of S*** I've ever run across-- and I've been using "3D Studio Viz" for ages! For the life of me, I could not figure out how to use it, and it was driving me up a wall.

Similarly, the new version of "Windows Media Player" is EVEN WORSE than the earlier ones. That, ALLEGEDLY, is supposed to allow you to burn CDs-- but after many years, I have still not been able to figure out how. (That's not an exaggeration.)

I wanted to thank you for the list of recommended programs. I was looking for something SIMPLE. I downloaded "CDBurnerXP", and figured it out RIGHT, first time, easily. I might never have found it without your help. I give this MY highest recommendation.

by Anupam on 3. August 2014 - 14:59  (117723)

I agree about interface of ImgBurn. That's one reason why I don't use it.

You will find BurnAware free to be good and easy to use too, with a simple interface. I used to use CDBurnerXP before, but I use BurnAware free now.

by Profh0011 on 3. August 2014 - 16:28  (117725)

Thanks. It's nice to know I'm not alone in my opinions of certain programs. Also good to get recommendations.

The one thing that seems to be missing from "CDBurnerXP" is, it doesn't tell you the total length for a CD before you run it off (something "RecordNow!" did). Unless I can't find that option yet...

I often assemble custom CDs, and more than once have gotten something down to JUST under 80 minutes.

by sicknero on 3. August 2014 - 16:58  (117726)

I really don't get the problem with ImgBurn, especially why it should prompt such vitriolic feelings. I find it a breeze to use and it's easy to create a non-install version to avoid any bundling, or just download the PAF version.

I'm with you on Media Player though, I've never liked it and would disable it completely if it wasn't needed as the engine for a couple of third-party programs I use. Media Player Classic is excellent though.

I agree about CDBurnerXP too, it is very very good. Ususally my first choice for anything other than simple tasks with disk images. The integrated audio previewer is a nice touch.

by sicknero on 3. August 2014 - 17:11  (117727)

You don't have this?

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10260027/ShareX/2014/08/2014-08-03_1...

(screenshot by the way in case you wondered :-) )

by AussieExpat on 15. August 2014 - 5:31  (117955)

What's missing from this review, and it's getting pretty crucial these days is any discussion of booting on Windows 8 using Live CD / Live USB -- even in the comments section, there's no discussion of it.

by Anupam on 15. August 2014 - 6:23  (117956)

I think you are confusing things. The review is about software required to burn CD/DVD. The review is not for discussion about boot media.

by AussieExpat on 15. August 2014 - 7:53  (117963)

That's right -- I AM talking about "burn CD/DVD", for a particular purpose -- and apart from what I can see from an old comment (2011), it's a topic that's largely been ignored on this site -- in my view, a comprehensive review of products needs to include products to "burn CD/DVD", regardless of the purpose. Granted, of course, that one does not have to use CD/DVD media to boot, indeed in some ways USB is better, although the producers of these products for USB occasionally use the expression "burn USB" for describing what their products do -- kinda correct, kinda incorrect, which is why they put the expression in inverted commas when they do, usually. Indeed, with the arrival of Windows 8, developers of these products, need to include facilities for this purpose in their products.

by Anupam on 15. August 2014 - 8:43  (117964)

The products covered in this review contain software to burn all kind of media, bootable to data discs. What you are asking for is a particular purpose, which is not what the review is about. Also, I haven't seen any of these software to have the option of creating bootable USB media. There are other software for that, like WinToFlash, and therefore, cannot be included in this review.

Your topic of discussion is for a particular purpose, and therefore, does not belong in the comments section of this review. Please open a new thread in the freeware forum for this discussion.

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