The first thing to note in burning a CD is the limitation on exactly how much the format can store. You’ll need to keep that in mind, because while today’s hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSDs) are measured in terabytes (TBs), and both DVD and Blu-ray formats are measured gigabytes (GBs), CDs are measured in megabytes (MBs) of storage. Specifically, the most common CD can store 700MBs of data, which translates to roughly 80 minutes worth of music.
Step 1: Gather your tools and materials
To burn a CD, you’ll need two things. First, you’ll need a CD or DVD recorder drive (a.k.a, a burner). If you don’t have one and you’re using a desktop with an open external drive bay, it’s easy enough to get one purchased and installed. You can also use an external USB drive, which is handy for a notebook that doesn’t have a CD or DVD drive. You’ll spend about $20 for an an .
Next, you’ll need a supply of blank CDs. Stick with CD recordable (CD-R) discs to be sure your CDs will be supported on any hardware. You’ll spend aroundfrom a reputable manufacturer like Verbatim.
Finally, give some thought to what you want to burn to your CD. If you want to burn data for safekeeping or to pass along to someone else, then the simplest way is to use Windows 10’s File Explorer utility. If you want to burn music that’s most likely to play on either a computer or a dedicated CD player (such as in a car stereo or a boombox), then you can use the Windows Media Player that still ships with the latest versions of Windows 10.
Step 2a: Burn your data CD
Burning a data CD is simple enough. Just place a blank CD-R into your burner and close the tray. Open File Explorer, and then check out the status of your CD burner — you should see an indication that a CD-R is inserted and how much space is free.
Next, decide which data files you can burn to the CD. It’s easiest to create a working folder and then open a second File Explorer window for selecting your data files. Hit Ctrl-A on your keyboard to select all of the files, then right-click. From the context menu, select Sent to and then select your CD burner from the list of options.
A dialogue will open asking how you want to use the disc. You have two options for how you burn your CD. You can also enter a disc title via this dialog.
First, you can select “Like a USB flash drive,” then
Second, you can select “With a CD/DVD player.” Choosing this option will copy your files to the CD and then close the session, making the data available on any PC.
Note that if you copy some kinds of files, such as music (MP3 or WMV) or images (JPEG), those files can be played on supported PCs. They may or may not work on standalone electronic devices such as CD or DVD players, however. If you want to make sure that your music will play on any CD or DVD player, then skip to the next section.
Step 2b: Burn your music CD
To get started, go to the Cortana search box and start typing “Windows Media Player.” Once it pops up in the list, click on it. Then, select the Burn tab in the upper right-hand corner.
Next, go to File Explorer and locate the music files that you want to burn to the CD. Drag them over to the burn list. Windows Media Player will tell you how many minutes you’ve used; make sure you’re not exceeding the 80-minute limit. You can hit “Clear list” to start over.
Next, hit “Start burn” to begin the process of burning your music files to the CD. Windows Media Player will provide a progress report as the burn is running. Note that it takes a few minutes to close the session, so be sure to wait until the process is all the way done before ejecting your CD.
That’s all there is to it. You’ve now burned a CD that can be used either as a handy USB flash-drive-like storage media with Windows XP or later machines, or as an easy way to share data or music with any other PC or CD/DVD player users. CD-R media is relatively inexpensive, running around $0.20 cents for a 700MB disc, and can last for years without worrying about degradation. There are newer and higher-capacity storage options available today, but sometimes the tried-and-true comes in handy.
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