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.

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.

 

ashampoo navigation pageAshampoo Burning Studio  When trying this software I was relieved to find it  is still simple and intuitive to use. For power, simplicity and file backup  I suggest you try the new Ashampoo Burning Studio 9.24 FREE which contains numerous small improvements that make the program easier to use and more effective as well.

Anybody who is struggling with the ever increasing complexity of CD and DVD burning applications then Ashampoo 9.24 may be the answer you are looking for. If you want a program that focuses on burning discs quickly and easily with quality and a minimum fuss then this could be the program may well suit your needs.

This version retains all the advantages of previous versions as well as adding multi-disc file backups and restores on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray. The program creates compressed backup archives with powerful password protection as well as splitting archives automatically across multiple CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs. I loved the fact it restored the archive contents to their original locations

Ashampoo Burning Studio 9.24 FREE also features, an integrated audio CD ripper which stores your audio tracks as WMA or WAV files with an option across all formats to set the number of copies you want to burn. All discs can now be verified without ejecting first.

What's new:

  • Multi-disc file backup and restore on CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs
  • Create compressed backup archives with powerful password protection
  • Split archives automatically across multiple CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs
  • Restore archive contents to their original locations
  • Integrated Audio CD ripper - store your audio tracks as MP3, WMA or WAV files
  • New option for setting the number of copies you want to burn (available for all disc formats)
  • Discs can now be verified immediately without being ejected first (if the drive supports this feature).
 
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. Be wary during installation to avoid the bundled Toolbar. The toolbar will also try to install when you upgrade the program to a later version. Installing the free version of WinPatrol on your computer will help you to avoid these unwanted items.
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

Ashampoo Burning Studio
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Full featured CD/DVD/Blu-Ray burning suite that enables you to create data, music, video and audio discs
Tries to install toolbar. Need to deselect during installation if not wanted
www.ashampoo.com
11.0.6
77.7 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP/ Vista/ 7 and 8

Requires registration within 10 days

 
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Comments

by Anonymous on 1. August 2009 - 18:21  (26116)

Question--
Does anyone know of a program that will format dvd+rw disks so they can function in xp thru explorer, i.e., use drag and drop files to the disk?
Nero 9 e.g., is more than I want in a program (incd utility is part of the Nero Suite, but not separate I believe).

by Compeek on 2. August 2009 - 21:04  (26153)

I've done some searching around, and what people are saying is that there is no reliable solution.

This Wikipedia article does a good job describing one program called DirectCD. It seems that it has problems on XP. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag-to-Disc

There is also Drive Letter Access, which is by HP if I'm not mistaken. However, it, too, has some downfalls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive_Letter_Access

by Compeek on 2. August 2009 - 21:05  (26155)

Thanks for the links! These will surely help people.

by Anonymous on 3. August 2009 - 19:29  (26211)

CDBurnerXP is easy to use, but I also don't like .NET framework. Currently I have some old version of .NET installed (so CDBurnerXP works), but soon I will get new computer with XP, and I don't want to download a 300+ MB (or something like that) of .NET files just to make one 3 MB program work, because no other of my programs needs it.


So I was happy that I saw new software recommended: InfraRecorder. It seems easy enough to use, but it failed to open existing session on my multi-session DVD. I checked the forum (view forum posts) and saw that a few other people had the same problem with opening existing sessions on multi-session discs.


ImgBurn might be very good, but I don't need advanced features, I just want basic feature like disc to disc copy, and this isn't available with it.

by Anonymous on 5. August 2009 - 1:19  (26286)

Does anyone know if any of the above programs let you span a dvd movie across mutiple disks? I am trying to back up some of my DVD collection with AShampoo and it says it requires a Dual Layer disk-Which I don't have.

by Compeek on 6. August 2009 - 16:28  (26543)

I'm pretty sure that's not possible, regardless of the program. DVD movie discs work a certain way, and I'm almost positive no DVD player can handle a movie that spans multiple discs. Somebody correct me with I'm wrong, but I don't think what you want to do will work even if the program can do it. :(

by Compeek on 6. August 2009 - 16:31  (26544)

Look into Ashampoo Burning Studio 2009 Free. You can find links in one of the comments farther down the page.

I haven't given it a thorough try yet, but it seems to be well featured.

by Anonymous on 6. August 2009 - 21:24  (26557)

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2009 Free is improved with new “Advanced” version:

http://dottech.org/freebies/7914

by Anonymous on 7. August 2009 - 16:50  (26588)

They don't, and I was having the same problem. You pretty much have to pick up a dedicated video DVD menuing app. I tried DVDStyler and that was OK, but although it doesn't have as many options a free one I found that is really easy to use is DVD Flick.

I've been using it for a while now to take .avi's of the kids and other sources, put them on a DVD with basic menus, and it will even put chapters into longer selections - you can choose how many minutes in to break it up.

For a free product, it's great. More intense stuff I've had great luck with Roxio, but for some quick one-offs (and free) DVD Flick is great.

http://www.dvdflick.net

by ma_t on 9. August 2009 - 13:06  (26694)

You can use GSplit to split the files and then rejoin them. It's the only way a I can think of

by Super2cool on 10. August 2009 - 17:59  (26786)

Why is there 2 top picks ?

I think only ImgBurn deserves the top pick

by Sope on 11. August 2009 - 19:00  (26900)

IMO your best option would be DVD Shrink (rather than try to split a movie over two discs shrink it to fit onto one)

by Anonymous on 12. August 2009 - 15:36  (26948)

I made two top picks because there were two different extremes. ImgBurn is the most powerful burner by far (for advanced users), but BurnAware Free is my top pick for the easiest to use (for average users).

by Anonymous on 14. August 2009 - 23:19  (27111)

New update of InfraRecorder (0.5) is scheduled for release the upcoming weekend.

by Anonymous on 15. August 2009 - 18:46  (27170)

I have to admit, I'm really no longer a fan of CDBurner XP. Besides forcing me to install .NET, and running rather sluggishly on reasonably potent dual-core machines, I found it too buggy and unpredicatable to rely upon. Now, this is only my experience, and experience derived from running the program on two computers, but as cheap as discs are, it's no fun to have a good half of your burns turned into coasters because the program crashes halfway through operation.

I'll stick with the quicker, more stable, neater and more reliable InfraRecorder and my old pal ImgBurn, thanks.

by Anonymous on 16. August 2009 - 17:42  (27243)

New info: CDburnerXP now auto-updates and does over-burns. An update list shows some errors have been removed as well - Cheers (works on Vista-64)

by Anonymous on 17. August 2009 - 2:20  (27264)

I've used CDBurnerXP (version 4.2.4.xxxx) recently to burn three DVDs from iso files. Everything went off without a hitch and pretty fast, too. I haven't tried the other programs yet so I can't compare them to CDBurner, but so far I'm pleased.

by Anonymous on 17. August 2009 - 18:58  (31033)

ImgBurn.......I was unable to find the option for making multisession disk or importing previous sessions!! Is there an option to do so or not?

by Compeek on 18. August 2009 - 1:03  (31050)

I'm sure there is, but as I mentioned in the article, ImgBurn does not have a very intuitive interface. I personally don't use it in depth enough to know how to do either of those, so I'm sorry I can't be of much help. Perhaps another visitor who knows will leave a comment, but with ImgBurn, you often just have to go look around in places you wouldn't expect to find something.

by Anupam on 18. August 2009 - 12:21  (31080)

The new version of InfraRecorder has been released :D.

Anupam Shriwatri

by MidnightCowboy on 18. August 2009 - 16:13  (31089)

Unfortunately, ImgBurn does not support multi-session recording. (see link)
You will find much more information about this software plus notes and guidance from other users in other parts of their forum.

http://forum.imgburn.com/index.php?s=ffd099e9c5be191a3e10c1a652be0f52&sh...

by Anonymous on 19. August 2009 - 4:24  (31128)

too bad....thanks.

by Anonymous on 19. August 2009 - 19:44  (31182)

So far ImgBurn, BurnAware, and InfraRecorder have disappointed. They can burn a file to a DVD disc that can only be watched on the same computer the video was already on. My wife is trying to get me to burn videos to DVD discs in order to watch them on our DVD player while it is connected to a TV set. Does anyone know of any free programs that have this capability? Does such a thing even exist?

by mr6n8 on 19. August 2009 - 21:19  (31185)

Yes it exists. It sounds like what you are burning might need to be converted.

I would suggest something that might make it easier.

Check your DVD player and see if it is DivX compatible. If it is (most are), then any DivX or XviD encoded video should play without conversion and only needs to be burned as a data disc (much quicker).
If you DVD player is DivX compatible, make sure what kind of disc can be used (mine will only play DivX/XviD on CD-R discs).

If you are not sure how the video is encoded, the free GSpot will help. After install, right-click the video and open with GSpot.
http://www.headbands.com/gspot/

by Compeek on 21. August 2009 - 3:05  (31258)

Also realize that you cannot simply burn a video file onto a disc to watch in a DVD player. Programs like BurnAware can make valid DVD movie discs from the correct files, but you need a program that can make those files. Specifically, they will include a VIDEO_TS folder. I'm sorry I don't have much to help with what programs can do this, but the burning programs are not at fault. The program you need first doesn't really fall under this category. :(

by Anonymous on 21. August 2009 - 9:56  (31267)

Explore&Burn 1.2.1

http://exploreburn.com/Download.aspx

Anyone tried it?

by Anonymous on 22. August 2009 - 9:58  (31315)

The best always in quality if make setting to slow down the speed it will be CD burner XP.When it was at maximum speed from time to time i foun errors but know when reduce at 16 no errors and enough fast.When i was working with Nero demo it was many errors name :reduntancy ,now i don't have errors and is very simple to use it,i make even iso image that work even i don't know haw to do this and not tell me someone.I work intuitive and i have succes.So from now it will be my preferated burner forever.I try also version portable but not work.

by Anonymous on 23. August 2009 - 2:52  (31355)

Use DVD Flick

by Anonymous on 26. August 2009 - 19:07  (31576)

Have a look at

# Ashampoo Burning Studio 6.76 = Free Version
http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Data-CD-DVD-Burning/Ashampoo-B...

# Nero 9 Essentials = Free Version
http://www.nero.com/eng/downloads-nero9-free.php

by Anonymous on 26. August 2009 - 23:21  (31593)

Make sure of a few things before you burn your discs....
Make sure that you use DVD-R discs...these are the only discs that are supported on all playback machines...
Also make sure that the disc that you burn is finalized. (completely closed) Not finalizing a disc will cause some players to not recognize the disc.
Also check what kind of files your are burning...(ie; dvd, avi, iso, etc..)
Some players will not support all types of files....
Hope these tips help...

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