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Comprehensive Guide to Disk Burning - Troubleshooting, Safety and Software

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/17/2009

In our final guide, we wrap up everything else you'll need to complete the burning process. Read on inside for the final overview.

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    Troubleshooting, Safety and Software

    Welcome back Windows Channel readers – you’ve reached the end of the line for our “Comprehensive Guide to Disk Burning” three-part miniseries. While I’ve enjoyed imparting some much-needed common knowledge about CD burning and even DVD burning, it’s time to wrap things up by quickly talking about safety and troubleshooting, and then moving onto which software to be using.

    First, let’s talk about safety. CD and DVD burning will open up your world to exciting new possibilities with regard to how you keep and move your media around, but it’s important to keep everything in a safe and secure place. Keep in mind that CDs and DVDs don’t know when they’re being opened by people who don’t own them – that is, if someone steals your backup disks, they’ll be able to see everything the way you do normally. Encryption is a pressing concern for many, with no unified standard or solution. Encryption should come built-in to backup software, but if it doesn’t, Windows offers its own version, called BitLocker – however, it’d be better to trust your encryption to other software.

    As for troubleshooting, if something goes wrong during the burn process, try to duplicate the process following the procedure exactly and see if there is something wrong. As a rule of thumb, if a disk image ruins more than two DVDs or CDs, something needs to be fixed before moving on. This is especially true if you’re using expensive media like the dual-layer DVDs or even the BD-Rs. Furthermore, trouble with burners is usually something that is cheap to fix, as burner themselves are only roughly $20-30 (with 30 buying you the masterful Lite-On burner).

    Getting to the crux of the matter – with so many different options out there, which should you be using?

    For the Dedicated Professional – ImgBurn

    http://www.imgburn.com/

    If you’re a longtime burning fanatic, Imgburn is probably the software you’re already using. Imgburn is good for everything from creating to burning image files. An image is a condensed file version of what you’re trying to burn. Typically though, if you download an image file, Imgburn will never leave you with a coaster (burner lingo for a disk that’s useless). If you need to give friends an image file or if you want to create a mountable image based on a CD or DVD that you already have, nothing’s better than Imgburn.

    For the Newbie – NERO Burning ROM

    http://www.nero.com/enu/index.html

    I’m hesitant to recommend NERO these days because it’s no longer the simple burning solution it once was. These days, NERO comes packed in with so much useless junk that you’ll find yourself running for the hills. However, for the person trying to burn their very first CD or DVD, NERO provides a great guided experience and will do everything to burn you what you want. People with more experience will want to forego the cluttered and heavy interface, but for those burning for the first time, NERO will be like the friend that knows everything and wants to help you out.

    For the Intermediate User – CDBurnerXP

    http://cdburnerxp.se/

    If NERO is the tricycle, CDBurnerXP is the gentle transition from the training wheels to the actual bicycle. In this software, you’ll find a much less guided experience, but also one that doesn’t suffer from any cluttering or bloating. CDBurnerXP really is the great experience it seems to be – it’s freeware, has no spy or ad-ware and is compatible with nearly everything. When it comes to versatility, you’ll probably only get more mileage out of NERO – however, there’s no competition here. NERO is paid software, whereas this is completely free.

    Once you’ve downloaded the program, be prepared to spend a minute or two installing it and configuring it to suit your needs – after that, the process becomes so seamless you may actually fall into complacency and forget how to do it all. That’s when you come back to Bright Hub for your information – we’re always here for you.