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 Anonymous on 29. July 2009 - 15:47  (25951)

BurnAware Free seems to insist on installing the ASK.com toolbar in my browser (Firefox) even when I unchecked that choice (pretty sure I did). Can be uninstalled or deselected of course -- but annoying still!

by Compeek on 29. July 2009 - 16:11  (25962)

I unchecked it when installing, and it wasn't installed, but maybe you accidentally missed the checkbox or something. I do agree that it's annoying, though. Maybe I'll mention that in the article.

by MidnightCowboy on 28. July 2009 - 21:09  (25893)

Great review! I use ImgBurn if I need to write an ISO image very slowly, otherwise my use of this media is definitely "average". Having had the odd issue with Ashampoo and network related problems with CDBurnerXP, I'd not heard of BurnAware until now. Like you say, it's a breeze to use. Thanks.

by Compeek on 28. July 2009 - 21:14  (25894)

Thanks! I'm glad I've already been able to help somebody find another program they might stick with. :D

by Anonymous on 23. July 2009 - 17:56  (25655)

Maybe you could flag up right at the start of the CDburnerXP review that it needs .NET as many of us avoid that.

chris.p

by Compeek on 27. July 2009 - 5:42  (25806)

That's a very good idea, and I'll be sure to do so in the new article. Should be very soon!

by Anonymous on 14. July 2009 - 6:34  (25049)

Imgburn looks very small and powerful except I can't find the function to erase a rewritable media. Maybe it is the only thing it misses or hides, but as to this part, I feel much comfortable with infra recorder.

by Anonymous on 19. July 2009 - 8:12  (25345)

choose output to device and then in tools you will find drive and from drive choose erase disk. it's not that difficult to find the option if you look more carefully.

by Compeek on 19. July 2009 - 20:14  (25377)

I just found this today when I was going through it. I selected burn from image (any burn option should do), and then in Tools->Drive there's an option to erase like you said. It's not the easiest to find, but it's there.

by Anonymous on 6. July 2009 - 6:18  (24693)

There is an official portable version of CDBurnerXP available here - http://cdburnerxp.se/downloads/portable/

I'm interested in seeing how InfraRecorder squares up to the competition!

by Anonymous on 9. July 2009 - 16:53  (24841)

.Net applications can't be considered portable!

Read here:
http://portableapps.com/node/9406
And especially here:
http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/dotnet_portable_apps/

"Overall, your chances of encountering a PC equipped with the proper version of the .NET Framework are relatively low. Most pre-Vista PCs in public locations (net cafes, coffee shops, libraries, hotel business centers, school computer labs, etc) simply won't have .NET installed. Of course, your personal results may vary greatly as you may be using a Vista PC at home or you may have the .NET Framework installed at work due to corporate applications that require it. Overall, however, applications based on .NET simply can't be considered portable due to the fact that the files they need can't be bundled portably and won't be on most PCs you encounter in the wild."

by Anonymous on 10. July 2009 - 4:48  (24877)

That is fair point that I hadn't considered, thanks you. It's nice to see a rational reason for not using a .NET app for once!

Having said that, CDBurnerXP only requires .NET Framework 2.0. But I have no idea what percentage of XP machines now have .NET installed, I would imagine it would actually be quite high, but have no real way of proving that!

by phughes699 on 13. June 2009 - 6:53  (23754)

I have just tried Ashampoo Burning Studio to burn a CD. It took nearly 40 minutes to burn a CD. Far too slow.

by Anonymous on 17. July 2009 - 18:56  (25269)

That is not trouth!!!Hi make 15 min to burn 4.7GB CD

by Anonymous on 14. July 2009 - 6:39  (25050)

Most likely the CD is low speed ones. I have the experience to spend about 15 minutes on each CD (650M) to burn -- those are 4x rewritables). Another fact might be a problem for disc burning is DMA setting for your cd or dvd driver. I once experience slow copying disc before because I didn't set DMA for one of my cd drive.

by MidnightCowboy on 3. July 2009 - 11:28  (24599)

Hi
My guess is there are other factors in play here. If you wish, please post this again here in the forum with some more details about your PC and what you were doing and one of us will attempt assistance.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/

by Anonymous on 3. July 2009 - 10:53  (24596)

then update your pc rookie!! ashampoo is ok app. those who claims otherwise are some kind of nero freaks most of them any way i burn dvd with ashampoo 4.3 GB of data betwen 8-10 min
its your lousy pc then not ashampoo to burn music CD 40 min.
get life!

by MidnightCowboy on 3. July 2009 - 11:24  (24598)

Please remember that there are huge differences between the ability levels of people posting here and in the forum. Insulting them or their equipment contributes nothing to their problem or the wider ranging subject here. Ashampoo does not profess to be a top end burning suite but it's simplicity does make it a valid choice for many users.

by Anonymous on 7. July 2009 - 13:17  (24770)

give me a brak. at least people have some basic knowledge here before someone spit on some others app. just look other comments and now you cray to me who insulting who? is just so stupid someone claim that is downloading some burning app. and then say how s***y it is and not checking some basic things like checking the burning speed, defragmented hard drive (can have huge efect on burning speed no matter how god pc you have) etc..
yes those kind of people are rookie to me. just check your settings first have regulary fragmented hard drive, close other app. befor burning etc.. do that firs then we will have some fair arguments then. if is someone insulted im sorry then ok.

by Anonymous on 14. June 2009 - 8:28  (23839)

Ashampoo Burning Studio is a lousy performer!!!
This software Sucks!!!

by DesElms on 20. July 2009 - 0:34  (25387)

Um... I don't mean to argue, but I would have agreed more strongly with that blanket assessment were we discussing version 6 through 8... basically any of the versions one can get for free, if they know where to look.

But, ya' know, with this version 9.05 that's, as of this writing, current now... well... I just couldn't more disagree. It's actually a quite remarkable product.

Look... any of these commercial, try-to-be-everything-to-everyone products are going to have some issues. But I gotta' tell ya'... version 9.05 is, in my opinion, easily good enough to completely replace either of the feature-reduced Roxio or Nero versions that PC manufacturers typically put on their machines as shipped from the factory. Ashampoo Burning Studio 9.05 certainly leaves no stone unturned compared with those... and it's wholly better than either, without even breaking a sweat.

And the truth is, I think it holds its own with the high-end versions of either of those packages. The problem, of course, is that it's not free... and this is a freeware site. Of course, based on Ashampoo's history, it probably WILL be soon enough... again, if one knows where to look for it.

I DO have... ummm... lemmee think... I believe it's Ashampoo Burning Studio 2009 or something like that... a freebie... on my wife's machine. She loves it, but then, again, she's not expert with this kinda' stuff.

Anyway... those are my thoughts, for whatever that's worth.

 

__________________________
Gregg L. DesElms
gregg [at] greggdeselms.com
Napa, California

 

by Urbane.Tiger on 30. July 2009 - 4:30  (26000)

AShampoo Burning Studio 2009, 9.05, 2008 etc are NOT FREE.

Sure you can make or get a crack - but I thought that this site was about FREE software, not bootleg software.

by Anonymous on 20. June 2009 - 9:26  (24173)

100% Agree!
Ashampoo Burning Studio is a shampoo...

by rKAnjEL on 13. June 2009 - 11:27  (23774)

That's most certainly a problem at your end, not the software, I never had any problems with it.

by Anonymous on 20. June 2009 - 9:28  (24174)

My system is 100% spotless!
I NEVER had any problems with
other CD / DVD Burning Software!

A-shampoo is just for Washing...

by Anonymous on 10. June 2009 - 3:27  (23473)

The best one for me is infrarecorder. I'm surprised it's not listed here.

by Anonymous on 14. July 2009 - 6:45  (25051)

Also my favorite. Only a flaw, every time trying to make multiple copies with it, it would always repeatly ask you to insert original one and create a buffer image -- is there some setting to control this?

by Compeek on 5. July 2009 - 22:15  (24679)

I also agree that InfraRecorder is quite good, and as one of my first significant updates as the new editor of this category, I'm going to download the latest version and add it to the recommendations. :D I'll try to have InfraRecorder in the article soon.

by Anonymous on 14. July 2009 - 0:50  (25040)

I've had good luck with using InfraRecorder portable's interface to choose files and create a .iso image -- but it then couldn't recognize my FireWire burner. ImgBurn portable, however, recognized my FireWire burner and burned the ISO with no problem. Since both are portable and free, I keep both on my flash drive just in case.

by Anonymous on 8. June 2009 - 18:24  (23342)

CDBurnerXP requires .NET to install.
That is a total deal killer for anyone looking for a small footprint program.

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