Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software

Other Language?
  Read this article in Spanish
  Read this article in Chinese
 
In a Hurry?
Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
 
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

 

Share this
4.22078
Average: 4.2 (385 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by GeorgeH on 10. May 2013 - 3:29  (107619)

What software do I use to make an image of the disc and burn it?

by Anupam on 10. May 2013 - 4:55  (107622)

CDBurnerXP itself will do it :). I don't use it nowadays, so I won't be able to point it out, but I am sure you will find it in the program if you look for it. If not, please post again, and I will install the program and point to you how to get to that.

by GeorgeH on 16. May 2013 - 16:57  (107788)

Thank you for your help. I decided to install ImgBurn that receives numerous good reviews on the internet. It worked quite well. It created *.bin and *.cue files on my hard disc from which I was able to burn CDs that play well. I followed directions on this web page which are quite simple.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/computers/585878-copy-backup-music-cdrom-...

In addition to the directions, I decided to use the "Verify" option to verify the *.bin and *.cue files to the CD. I don't know how important it is to do that. If anyone else decides to try ImgBurn, be aware that you need to uncheck the option to install the Ask toolbar during the installation process.

George

by Anupam on 16. May 2013 - 20:54  (107792)

Good to know you were able to successfully copy the disc using ImgBurn. Actually, any of the free burners will be able to do that job, of making an image, and then burning it on a disc, since it can be found on them all. Since you had CDBurnerXP, that's why I had told that it will do the job well. Anyways, ImgBurn is also a great program, and it's good that it was able to do the job for you. I personally use BurnAware Free, and I find it very easy to use with a simple and pleasant interface. It too has the feature to make an image and burn it.

Regarding the image, there are different image formats, and .bin is one of them, which is accompanied by .cue often. Other format is .ISO, which I like to use, and it involves only a single file creation, and is the most commonly used image format. Others are also there. I save my images in .ISO format using BurnAware. Of course, there are several ways of doing the same thing, like you did.

by ccchuck2 on 5. May 2013 - 16:43  (107476)

re: cdburnerXP, with the newer updates I encountered a problem with cataloging discs with cathy.exe.
It seems like the discs all get the same serial number which causes Cathy to believe all discs are the same.

I have advised the author about this. version 4.3xx and older do not have this problem.

by tbriggs on 1. April 2013 - 18:20  (106729)

Hi,

Thanks for your reviews. I'm wanting to create a backup of an instructional DVD (3.89GB) onto a blank DVD. Will the products you've reviewed here allow me to do that, or will I need a DVD Authoring application for that? Perhaps the MS Windows disk copy routine will work?

Thank you,

by Anupam on 1. April 2013 - 18:35  (106730)

If you want to just make an exact copy of the disc, you do not need to do anything special. Just make an image of the disc, and then burn the image to the blank DVD. As simple as that.

Will give an example with BurnAware free, which is what I use. To make the image, click on "Make ISO" in the "Disc Images" block. Save that image on your system. Then, to burn that image on to the blank DVD, click on "Burn Image".

It will be similar for any other burning application.

by Anupam on 6. February 2013 - 7:49  (105126)

BurnAware updated to version 6.0

by George.J on 4. May 2013 - 12:51  (107463)

I was excited for a moment to see the clean certificate award given to BurnAware at Softpedia, only to find it was a mistake...:v

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting!

Gizmos Needs YouShare your knowledge of free software with millions of Gizmo's readers by joining our editing team.  Details here.