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 Anupam on 30. March 2012 - 9:12  (91417)

ImgBurn 2.5.7.0 has been released with loads of changes, and fixes.

by RonL (not verified) on 28. March 2012 - 2:13  (91300)

CDBurnerXP is my favorite. I'm using the Windows 7 64-bit version. Clean install without OpenCandy. Works great. Good user interface.

by RGS (not verified) on 3. April 2012 - 10:23  (91607)

I used to use CDBurnerXP too, but it doesn't support the DVD drive in my Dell Vostro 3550. I've seen others face similar problems on other laptops too.

by George.J on 26. March 2012 - 7:23  (91169)

Does BurnAware Free still offer to install Ask Toolbar? I ran the latest version and seems like it doesnt.

by Anupam on 27. March 2012 - 11:24  (91247)

Yes, it still offers the Ask toolbar, and its in the latest version too, which is 4.7.

by George.J on 27. March 2012 - 18:30  (91280)

That's strange. I just downloaded and installed the software on my system and it never offered to install the Ask toolbar. I checked the version number, its 4.7, compiled on 3/7/2012. There's no mention of Ask toolbar in its EULA also.

by Anupam on 30. March 2012 - 9:12  (91416)

Version 4.8 is released, and it too contains Ask Toolbar. And yes, there is no mention of it in the EULA. But, Ask is definitely bundled with BurnAware.

by George.J on 30. March 2012 - 13:39  (91430)

I contacted BurnAware support. This was the reply.

"Yes, it does. But if your default web browser is not IE or Firefox, ASK Offer will be skipped."

by Anupam on 30. March 2012 - 16:28  (91434)

Aha! Is that so? Quite strange. So, the mystery is finally solved.

by George.J on 30. March 2012 - 13:36  (91429)

Am I just lucky or missing something. Not faced with Ask Toolbar recommendation in v4.8 also.

by Pete (not verified) on 21. March 2012 - 22:24  (90954)

I'm burning a movie I have on my HP computer on a DVD but it only plays on my pc.I would like to be able to play it on my DVD player and tv. What do I need to do or get(something free if possible)?? thanks for helping a beginner

by Anupam on 22. March 2012 - 7:03  (90965)

You actually need a DVD authoring software, which will make video DVDs, using one or more videos. Please look here :

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-dvd-authoring-software...

by EarlBj (not verified) on 21. March 2012 - 14:34  (90935)

Help educate me! I am using free versions of video authoring software (Movie Maker, VideoPad, and PhotoStage Slidestage Producer) to make DVD videos of my pictures. Problem is--my Movie Maker DOES NOT let me save projects as DVD videos, the other two programs let me burn DVD videos to disks BUT only one video to a disk. The free authoring programs I use DO NOT allow me to put "chapters" into my videos and I don't know if this is the only way to go. Is there a way to burn MULTIPLE VIDEOS to a single DVD disk? How do I identify a burning program that will do that? Can you suggest the right program for doing this?

I am a beginner at this, as you can tell. Thanks a lot.

by PB (not verified) on 14. June 2012 - 6:19  (94827)

There is a program called DVDStyler. It is pretty easy to use. But it very good. Simple for beginners right up to Advanced users. It is a bit slow. But it can use just about any format of video file you can throw at it. Here is the web site for it dvdstyler .org.

by Anupam on 21. March 2012 - 15:01  (90936)

You actually need a DVD authoring software, which will make video DVDs, using one or more videos. Please look here :

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-dvd-authoring-software...

by Paul B NZ (not verified) on 12. March 2012 - 8:22  (90266)

Interesting to read the comments. I have an issue whereby I have installed adobe photoshop elements 9 on my computer but have found that it does not seem to have a DVD burn capability. You simply cannot go in and burn photos from it to a disc. So it looks like one would need a third party burner. The question thus is that if I installed a freeware program such as ashampoo would that then allow me to easily burn a disc using photographs stored within the elements 9 organiser. I guess you would need to copy the photos to a folder and then burn them. Any helpful advice would be most appreciated.
Thanks..Paul.

by jlamarre (not verified) on 10. March 2012 - 22:08  (90202)

Hi, I bought a hp computer last december & had them install a DVD burner(LG burner).Now i can`t use it,I am told I need to download software to access it & I don`t have to use their stuff. can I download any free software or how does this work?? help

by Anupam on 11. March 2012 - 5:53  (90215)

Please post the query in the forum :

http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/

by Beeginner (not verified) on 6. March 2012 - 16:55  (90007)

having just purchased a new Windows7 64bit loaded notebook and
discovering that Windows package no longer inc's burning
ripping for conversion to mp3,it was recommended that I load up Nero 9.... wonder why this features nowhere in your user/experts opinions?....I just want simple easy use software...it does'nt have to be 'free'..so what is recommended please?

by Anupam on 6. March 2012 - 17:12  (90009)

This is a freeware site, and we won't provide help with suggesting commercial software. We only talk about freeware here. If you want a commercial solution, you will have to get help from some other site.

That said, the freeware listed here, are very much capable of doing the job that you want.

Ripping is a different thing than burning, and requires a different software.

by Beeginner (not verified) on 6. March 2012 - 18:18  (90013)

....thank you

by Remah on 6. March 2012 - 19:33  (90017)

Nero does have a free version (it used to be called Nero Essentials) but it is feature-limited and only allows you to burn data to disc and copy discs. Therefore it is not much use to most people. So it does not provide the wide range of features offered by the products recommended here.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Data-CD-DVD-Burning/Nero-Free....

by Lisa (not verified) on 6. March 2012 - 11:55  (89991)

I just tested BurnAware in Windows 7, burning a DVD in UDF format. Unfortunately, BurnAware produces only garbage discs. After finishing the burn process, discs are unreadable. So I switched to ImgBurn, which was able to reformat the disc and burn a readable DVD. Technically, I think that BurnAware does not deserve its rating. The interface is very easy, yes. But the results by far are not satisfying. I do not recommend it for users who are dealing with sensitive data.

by Andrew Baker (not verified) on 6. March 2012 - 20:18  (90022)

Opposite situation on my Win 7 64-bit (Pioneer). ImgBurn killed my UDF DVD+R, switched to BurnAware and everything went smooth.

by Remah on 6. March 2012 - 19:35  (90018)

Thanks for that info.

I have started testing the products and will be updating the review when I get the time.

by Lisa (not verified) on 6. March 2012 - 11:12  (89990)

ImgBurn is 64-bit compatible. Please add this information.

"ImgBurn supports all the Microsoft Windows OS's - Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 2008 and Windows 7 (including all the 64-bit versions)."

by Mr Hughes (not verified) on 29. February 2012 - 5:10  (89677)

BurnAware screenshot differs from screenshots from official website. Great tool!

by Remah on 2. March 2012 - 3:57  (89787)

Of course the screenshots differ. We take our own when we review an application.

by Anupam on 2. March 2012 - 9:34  (89801)

It also differs because the present screenshot is for a very old version of BurnAware. Its because no editor was for the category for a long time, until you took over. I think you will update the screenshot when you update the review.

by Anupam on 29. January 2012 - 10:10  (87974)

This one looks quite good :

http://www.deskshare.com/dvd-authoring-burning-software.aspx

Although its termed as DVD authoring software, but it has all capabilities. Apart from creating video DVDs, it is able to write to data CDs/DVDs, copy disc, erase disc, create image, write image etc.

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