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 TopHi (not verified) on 24. January 2012 - 1:18  (87667)

Thanks, you saved my presentation. After clean install of winxp x64 I was unable to find any working burning program for free. Here I found a few :)

by n01paranoid on 8. January 2012 - 9:55  (86811)

Ashampoo Burning Studio goes ahead and installs the Conduit search engine even if you deselect it.

by Anupam on 24. December 2011 - 9:10  (85865)

Good to see you take over this category Remah. Its in a need of an update, and I will be quite interested in the review. My choice of burner is BurnAware free. It has a great interface, and works well.

ImgBurn is also good, but its confusing.

by Remah on 24. December 2011 - 22:30  (85927)

You're right; ImgBurn can be confusing. I initially avoided it because the reviewer said other products were easier. When I first used it I found it frustrating but eventually got used to its exacting interface but effective operation.

by Anupam on 25. December 2011 - 5:38  (85937)

Yes, I will say its very effective. For normal use, I like BurnAware which has a clean interface. But, when I come across a bad CD, or some problem while writing the CD/DVD, I turn to ImgBurn.

by Blue (not verified) on 24. December 2011 - 8:34  (85862)

I understand that CDBurnerXP has suffered negative points due to it being bundled with OpenCandy. I just tried download and I saw that in allows you to download a file that is free from OpenCandy. Click on download options to select. It also comes with a portable version, so no need to install.

by Remah on 24. December 2011 - 8:55  (85864)

Thanks for the info.

by John Ferrier (not verified) on 20. December 2011 - 19:51  (85486)

I don't understany why ImgBurn is so favored here! Because it dosn't have multi-session capability?

by Remah on 24. December 2011 - 8:54  (85863)

I agree with you that multisession would help many people but I remember the developer being obdurate on this saying to use a rewritable disk (http://forum.imgburn.com/index.php?showtopic=3433) which I do.

My personal experience with ImgBurn has been very positive. It has been so reliable that I'll even use it to troubleshoot an optical drive that is having problems.

I've just taken over this review so I can't second-guess what the results of my evaluations will be in the New Year.

by mmtsuchi (not verified) on 7. December 2011 - 23:44  (84609)

Attention : BurnAware FREE does not have "on the fly writing". It is clearly seen here : http://www.burnaware.com/products.html

by SunnyJay (not verified) on 1. February 2012 - 20:54  (88149)

Burnware FREE does have "on the fly writing". It clearly seen here (First "key benefit"): http://www.burnaware.com/burnaware_free.html

by mmTsuchi (not verified) on 27. February 2012 - 17:49  (89595)

Then the burnaware's site is confusing.
Could anyone confirm the "on-the-fly" ability of Burnaware Free ? (No time to verify myself)

by Anupam on 27. February 2012 - 18:22  (89597)

Two people, including the editor of this category has confirmed that the software does have on-the-fly ability.. and its on the page there too, the link of which has been shared above. Its the first point under "Key benefits". What more do you want?

by Remah on 1. February 2012 - 21:07  (88151)

Yes, as the review says.

by Jean Pierre de La Pete (not verified) on 24. November 2011 - 8:09  (83826)

Hello, it's me again. I just tested BurnAware Free. The current version 4.2 doesn't have any 'non-floating-window' problem. Everything is fine.

by Jean Pierre de La Pete (not verified) on 24. November 2011 - 7:12  (83820)

Please, put StarBurn on the list:
http://www.starburnsoftware.com/products/starburn/overview

The software is free, even though there's a 'Buy Now' button on the page. The difference between the free and the licensed version is that the licensed version can also burn via network.

Extract from the description:
"StarBurn is a free and powerful tool that allows its users to grab, burn and master CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. The program supports all types of optical storage media (including CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, BD-R/RE, HD-DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM) and a wide variety of burning hardware."

by Baron (not verified) on 21. November 2011 - 3:26  (83623)

I Have had some very poor recent results with ImgBurn.
I have been playing around with using some Linux versions so have had to download and burn some iso files.
Using Imgburn was repeatedly giving me problems using CD-RW discs and I was always having to reformat after erasing before using it again and soon it would give me errors when verifying its burn. Eventually the CD would not function at all and I am talking about only 2 rewrites.
Then when trying to burn a little larger file Imgburn refused because it saw the never used CD as 100MB smaller.
So I found a program on my computer that must have been included back when I bought it but is not free so will be unnamed. It burned that iso file without a hitch and I was able to boot the computer off that Linux operating system with no problem so I know it worked.
ImgBurn has been removed off my system as unreliable ans a destroyer of cds

by Jeremy Black (not verified) on 17. November 2011 - 19:58  (83448)

I tried several burning programs in the list and the one I decided was Ashampoo. I can't remember why I dislike the others. Imgburn, I remember, had no CD/DVD copy function. You had to make an image and then burn the image.

Not sure if the others had an easy way to copy CD/DVD. I know there were reason I did not like them, just can't remember now. It has been about a month since I tested them. Here is the programs I tested.

ImgBurn
BurnAware
CDBurner XP
InfraRecorder
Ashampoo Burning Studio - WINNER

by Nucleus (not verified) on 29. December 2011 - 8:05  (86159)

Well, I can help you "remember":
1. Infra recorder is unreliable, no more developed and does not support newer burners. Pros - open source code and there are tons of clones of this programme, all unreliable.
2. ImgBurn is OK but interface is terrible and there is no multisession
3. CDburnerXP is good looking but during burning CPU usage goes up to 70-80% (depends on CPU). It is confirmed and known bug.
4. BurnAware has great interface, it is reliable but not as WINNER
5. Ashampoo - nice interface, reliability, functionality - clear WINNER by considerable margin, second place for BurnAware Free
6. Excellent burner is aBurner: tiny programme, great interface, functionality, very reliable. With BurnAware shares second place on my list.
7. Worth mentioning is Starburn, good programme but not developed since 2009 I belive.
Ashampoo, aBurner, BurnAware Free are way to go. Forget the others.

by Tsu Chi (not verified) on 13. November 2011 - 14:44  (83209)

I had used CdBurnerXP for its simplicity.
But some versions are buggy :
* it doesn't respect the write speed setting (fixed now),
* It could verify a little more : it burns a CD on a DVD, as a result, it is an exotic media that hardly played.
* Some windows are not intuitive
I consider CDBurnerXP in alpha/beta state.

I use actually ImgBurn for its compatibility, its numerous parameters, its non-locked features... But hard, too hard to use for a beginer... It is the top one but I am not satisfied enough : OPC laser adjust should be opt-in by default, Image name should be created from CD text...
I love that I can write at 4x. The resulted CDs have more life time.

I had tried Windows Built in cd/dvd burner (windows vista 32 bits). I am disappointed that Windows create CD only playable on Windows Vista. To workaround, you have to check the good option. This unsettle a beginer who wants his C to be playable anywhere.

Ashampoo seems too comercial

by mrpink on 29. October 2011 - 21:37  (82379)

There's no portable version (legal i mean) for Ashampoo, and for Burnaware there's a development test from PortableApps with dead links

by Jimmy Tomorrow (not verified) on 21. October 2011 - 21:00  (81888)

CD Burner XP has an OpenCandy free download on it's site. On the Download Page under the "Download Latest Version" area it reads " More download options | EULA " This link takes you to the Candy Free download.
I checked with Florian Schmitz on this. We just didn't look close enough... That's why so many people end up with unwanted software on their machines! Maybe you can post the link to the Candy-Free version instead???

by Asmodeus (not verified) on 25. October 2011 - 9:40  (82082)

As long as this programme has unacceptable high CPU usage it is more or less irelevant if it has open candy or not. Pitty, it would be great peace of software if this "bug" is somehow solved.

by MidnightCowboy on 22. October 2011 - 6:34  (81898)

Thank you for the suggestion :) We can't post a link to this version because direct links to files of any type are not permitted. I have however edited the note in the Quick Selection Guide which now indicates this option and where to find it.

by Aleron (not verified) on 19. October 2011 - 17:58  (81740)

Hello, i have few programs to offer you for a review:

1. Burn4Free:

http://www.burn4free.com/download-dvd-burning-software.htm

2. Removed

3. Inscriptio:

http://www.inscriptio.net/

4. Astroburn Lite:

http://www.astroburn.com/products/abLite

5. DeepBurner Free:

http://www.deepburner.com/?r=products&pr=deepburner&prr=features

Me personally using BurnAware Free after your recommendation, but in this new version, startup interface is redisgned.

Best wishes.

by Anupam on 19. October 2011 - 18:23  (81742)

This category presently does not have any editor. So, the software won't be taken into consideration, until an editor takes over the category.

I have removed the 2nd link for aburner, because we do not allow links to non-English site, and I could not see an English version of its site.

Burn4Free is ad-supported according to Softpedia :

http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Audio-CD-DVD-Burning/Burn4Free...

So, its not likely that it will be featured here.

by Alan Cee (not verified) on 19. October 2011 - 2:24  (81680)

Hi guys, i just read this after googling a search for a new and best CD burner program, i currently use the built in Windows Media Player to do it and i feel its very slow, i just want a program that will make CDs and most importantly make MP3 discs as i have not had an MP3 player in my car since my last car but now i have one, sorry for straying off topic, i used to use Nero for making my MP3s on my old computer but i dont have that program on this one, im running Windows Vista so basicly wats the best program for me to use and can i burn CDs faster with any of the above programs, sorry for the long question

Alan

by MidnightCowboy on 19. October 2011 - 5:18  (81687)

This category currently has no editor. Please post your question in our forum.

by JoBalz in Dallas (not verified) on 16. October 2011 - 13:28  (81516)

BurnAware Free: 'Doesn't have the option of a floating window...'

Man, this nearly drove me mad. When the program is doing ANYTHING, the window locks down on the desktop. If you clicked on the window for any reason it chimes at you. I'm used to a floating window so this trait is a big negative that the programmers need to address. Also, if you choose to erase a rewritable disk and happen to hit "full format" option, be ready to wait! It took nearly 20 minutes for the full format to complete. Considering these, I'm going to uninstall and try out CDBurnerXP.

by elizabeth-arden on 14. October 2011 - 0:17  (81372)

I hope it is easy to use, as I am 81 years old

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