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 20. February 2009 - 22:04  (16451)

The most impotant is the drive.But if you look for the best burning software - GEAR Pro 7 Master Edition.The copy is just like original.Believe me.

by Anonymous on 4. November 2008 - 20:44  (10059)

This is a great article as usual. Thanks for the great list to investigate. I have a couple of favourites myself...
DVD shrink - fantastic for taking a dvd movie from a dvd disc to your computer to burn. (which you have mentioned) How to use dvd shrink

DVD decrypter - Which does the same thing as Dvd shrink but is better at bypassing the copyright protection. (maybe thats why you didn't mention it) How to use Dvd decrypter

With these programs you can backup your wedding DVD or even a movie you have purchased. But just be aware that every country has a different copyright law. Check yours out before making copies of anything. (except your wedding video)

by Anonymous on 24. October 2008 - 9:26  (9569)

wow im really surprised to not see starburn up there omg that program is excellent and I sware it has all the core features you need without the hefty price.

by Anonymous on 22. October 2008 - 15:14  (9465)

there are more freeware nero alternatives

http://www.bildirgec.org/yazi/nero-ve-alternatifi-ucretsiz-7

site is in turkish but we do care about the programs :)

by Anonymous on 21. October 2008 - 8:10  (9404)

CDBurnerXP has just mythological reputation on the Internet as reliable perfect etc. burner. The reality is that it is unreliable buggy unlogically organized. It freezed my computer, destroyed a few cds before I finally decided to unistall and forget about it till next year when I will try a better version (if comes out).

by Anonymous on 18. October 2008 - 6:59  (9280)

I liked alot the CDBurnerXP, but it doesn't verify the cd/dvd after recording an ISO. I think that option should be available.

by Anonymous on 12. October 2008 - 14:47  (9085)

CDBurnerXP, for whatever reason, worked poorly for me on a Vista system. The problem was mainly the audio CDs I produced with it on a system with ample memory and processing power (and no other apps running during the burn), even though my CD burner was writing at below its top speed. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with the CD/DVD writer. Especially recently, my audio CDs would come out with blips and skips on the tracks and extra long periods of silence being added to the end of the tracks. Data CDs were, to my knowledge, okay, but I don't burn many of those (and don't always check every single file after I do).

The other thing I noticed about CDBurnerXP was that with the CDs and DVDs I was using, it would miscalculate the time left when burning audio discs. If the software thinks you've exceeded the space on the disc for burning, it won't burn until you remove from your project the remaining files that it thinks don't fit. This probably had something to do with the fact that it was automatically adding long blank sections to the end of some tracks and factoring that in before the burn--I really don't know. But I obviously ended up having to abandon this app.

by Anonymous on 1. October 2008 - 13:28  (8538)

JetBee free

by Anonymous on 24. September 2008 - 16:08  (8233)

I've tried CDBurnerXP, infraburner, Deepburner, imgburn, iso burner, etc and. I found all of them to be lacking in at least one area including usability, features, buggy performence, etc.

I've got to agree with Ashampoo free being the best and easiest to use freebie I've tried so far. If I was going to install a free burner on a non power users PC this is the one to use.

-J

by zip_up_99 on 24. September 2008 - 3:24  (8216)

Maybe there should be a list of best software review/download sites!!! Oh wait... download.com (http://www.download.com/3055-2094_4-10847734.html?tag=pdl-redir) and most of the other popular sites have the categories broken down for: freeware, WIN or Mac... mobile, webware, & games...Editors picks, most popular, etc. etc. as you can see on the bottom of the page url I listed above. Not knocking you guys but there seems to be too much disagreement between your choices of "best" and those of the commentators??? Your "top" video editor page has only one choice: Virtual Dub...why??? I tried a few of your "top-picks" out of curiousity and didn't agree. Of course I do "buy" software when I really need it and there are always Utorrent/Mininova downloads where you can get the "big-boys" versions when cash is short, LOL. You'll find DVDFab5 there (full version)...just scan all your downloads with Kaspersky, etc... Which you can get there as well. Sorry for ranting (newbie here) but I hope you do a revamp of your reviews...categorized and unbiased...or maybe list the better sites where people can download free/share ware...Kinda like a review of the "reviewers. Cheers : )

by joe.bennett on 24. September 2008 - 11:15  (8225)

Thank you for your comments.

You make some valid points, but no matter where you go for software downloads, there is always going to be someone who disagrees with their assessments. For example... I went to download.com and looked at their "Top Freeware in Windows" section and found that I disagreed with 6 out of their top 10 software picks. Does this make download.com any less of a valid resource? Absolutely not. They have their opinions and I have mine... and you have yours.

The focus of this site is to be a more personal resource. Sites like download.com have their place, but are rather impersonal. They just don't give a personal and practical review of the products they list. TechSupportAlert is attempting to do just that. You will also notice that other sites will list both freeware, plus shareware and commercial products. We don't do that. Software we review will be 100% free. Not everyone will agree with our editors assessments, but that is to be expected. If you don't like the products we are listing, feel free to suggest a product. We are not perfect either and heavily depend upon comments like yours to improve our reviews.

Thanks again for your comments.

by Anonymous on 17. September 2008 - 13:18  (7921)

I've just tryied five burners and the winner is ASHAMPOO BURNING STUDIO 6 v6.71
A freeware product with all the major possibilities everybody needs with a user friendly interface Please try it (softpedia). The second one is ImgBurn but it is not very simple to ad files in the window
Others are not finished , many had problems with the burn engine (freeze, bugs ,shutdown etc...)CD Burner XP Pro IS NOT the best thing (2 install 2 freezing )A pretty interface is not enough

by Anonymous on 1. September 2008 - 22:26  (7180)

I just tried CDBurnerXP 3 times (download, reinstall,etc.). I tried copying a disk 3 times; it said there was an error with the disk. I then tried to use it to create a cd-the next 2 times the program hung and repeatedly would not respond. Pity, because I've read numerous positive ratings-and i downloaded the latest version. Perhaps there is something on my computer that is not compatible, but I honestly don't have the patience right now to go through everything...

by morrig on 23. September 2008 - 13:49  (8193)

I have used this software for 4 years ever since buying XP system now on 512mb of ram,and have had no problems,and is now a very easy and intuitive to use it virtually holds your hand,considering it's freeware that feel's it's not,and the only thing I think is are your disks good as poor quality can defeat the best.
http://www.majorgeeks.com/CDBurnerXP_d4242.html

by Anonymous on 26. September 2008 - 16:35  (8324)

Yeah, we know it's good for XP SP2...

by Anonymous on 29. August 2008 - 6:08  (7051)

ImTOO Music CD Burner v3.0
ImTOO Music CD Burner is expert music CD burning software with simple settings. It can burn music CD from almost all video and audio formats, including MPEG, WMV, ASF, AVI, MOV, MP3, 3GP, RM, MP2, WMA, WAV, AU, M4A, RA, OGG, AAC, AC3.
http://www.kooksoft.com/software/MP3-Audio/Music-Management/200808/16-58...

ZC WMV to DVD Burner
ZC WMV to DVD Burner transcodes and burns WMV, ASF, ASX files into DVD disc. With DVD encoding and burning engine integrated you can easily Merge up to 4 hours of multiple movies or episodic files to standard MPEG2 Video and burn it into a DVD±R/RW disc that playable on car or home DVD player.supports both NTSC and PAL TV system.Supports widescreen and standard TV. It's a 1 click solution to burn DVD movie from huge internet movie resources.
http://www.kooksoft.com/software/DVD-Video/Multimedia/200808/15-576.html

by pconrad on 13. August 2008 - 17:21  (6052)

CDBurnerXP has never let me down.
CDBurnerXP is so effective that can be compared with the paid CD / DVD Burning Software.

Check always for a newer version, as they constantly improve it.
http://www.cdburnerxp.se/

by Anonymous on 11. August 2008 - 18:16  (5929)

CDBurnerXP looks like a perfect replacement to Nero, but with time you discover the multitude of bugs. The version I had from a couple of months ago couldn't drag and drop to specific folders in the DVD - everything went from the hard drive into the root directory of the DVD, and had to be redragged to the specific folder! Annoying as heck.
Worse was that it got this problem that burnt a disc halfway through and then stopped. Thinking it was a bad disk (which is more or less what it reported) I promptly put in another disc, only to eventually realize that ALL burns were going to be bad. The only solution is to reboot the computer. You don't know how many discs CDBXP killed. I downloaded the latest version, which fixed the dragging bug but still has the burning bug. Obviously I'm done using this software, though I believe it has much potential.

by Anonymous on 1. August 2008 - 19:19  (5319)

I agree with the other guys about the infrarecorder. It is really nice piece of software and is a pity to be missed in the test list. I have only one thing to complain about it. I burned some file with Asian characters as file name and that is not readable any more. I experience this, however, with several other free burner I tried before. Besides that, it is nearly as good as CDBurnXPpro.

CDburnxppro is great ---- I started to equip it for 3 years ago (the over 10M version). I complained (to the author) about unicode support like Asian language file name, and get the answer that their (only?) 2 guys are busy with new .net based burner, and there is no promise it will support in the next release. However, the next release 4.0 series, support it. And it is a pleasure to see the improvement in organizing the GUI. I really like this kind of simple but pretty and easy interface. And it works fine, at least on my systems.

by Anonymous on 26. July 2008 - 17:24  (5019)

CDburnerXp doesn't support .bin or .cue file burning whic is lame. any one recommend me a program that does. thanks

by Anonymous on 1. August 2008 - 19:43  (5321)

Imageburn. It is excellent.

by Anonymous on 26. July 2008 - 14:20  (5009)

Ashampo Burning Studio 6 is free. Ashampoo software gives this away for free and it's an excellent burning program. I much prefer it to CD Burner XP. It has an very nice and intuitive GUI. It should have been mentioned in the list of programs. maybe you don't realize it is free because Ashamppo charges for all their other programs. The list should be updated to include it because it's better than all the others listed.

by Anonymous on 22. July 2008 - 6:35  (4724)

What about Starburn?

by Anonymous on 14. July 2008 - 4:42  (4216)

I didn't see any mention to the free version of dvdfab. It gets updated regularly and is what i use first. I make an iso and go to dvdshrink if its too large a file for dvd5, using shrink i create a new iso and burn with dvddecrypter or imageburn. no need for nero burning engine this way...well for you dvdshrink fans, you know about this.

by mikedutch (not verified) on 8. July 2008 - 14:00  (3809)

ImgBurn is my favorite and can be portable too:

by Anonymous on 8. July 2008 - 7:10  (3785)

Im missing infrarecorder here :-) it tops all the others

by Anonymous on 12. July 2008 - 8:57  (4135)

Agreed, InfraRecorder is straightforward to use and handles everything really well.

by Anonymous on 31. July 2008 - 19:18  (5264)

Not the unicode file names

by Anonymous on 7. July 2008 - 11:54  (3728)

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