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How To Burn CD's and DVD's in Windows

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 9/16/2008

Need to burn a CD or DVD, but you do not have a program to do it installed on your computer? Relax, it can still be done! The Windows OS has a feature that will take care of this for you, so just keep reading to find out how to use it!

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    Windows has a built in burning wizard that will allow you to burn a CD or DVD with data for you to take to another computer and use. This feature serves a very basic purpose and does not offer any frills like software meant for CD and DVD burning. It works in a pinch if no other options are available, and you have to transport files.

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    Things You'll Need

    • Blank CD or DVD
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    Step One

    Place your blank media in your drive.

    Navigate through Windows Explorer to the area where the files you want are located. For the purposes of this article, we will say that the files you want to burn on your disc are located in the "My Documents" folder. Go to Start > My Documents.

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    Step Two

    Right click the file that you want to include on the disc. Look for the "Send to" option. From here, all you need to do is select your CD burner drive. This sends a copy of the file to your drive, as a temporary file. Immediately after the files have copied over to the drive, you will see a notification window that says, "You have files waiting to be written to a CD. To see these files click here." You can ignore this until you are ready to burn the CD. If the balloon closes before you are ready, do not worry about it. Repeat this step for all the files you want to burn onto the disc.

    If you cannot use this "Send to" option, you can click one file to select it. Being sure to press and hold the CNTRL button, click any other files you want to add to the disc. When you have all the files selected, right click and choose the Copy option. This is so that your original files stay on your hard drive, in their current location. Now, open the My Computer window by going to Start > My Computer. Double click your CD/DVD burner drive to open it. Right click anywhere in the window that opens, and choose the paste option. This will place the copies of your files as temporary files on your burner drive, allowing them to be copied to media whenever you are ready.

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    Step Three

    When you are ready to burn the disc, all you need to do is right click the disc drive from the My Computer window, and choose the "Write these files to CD" option. This will open a wizard that will guide you through the remainder of the process. The name of the disc you are asked to enter on the first screen will be the name that displays when you insert the disc in another computer. Follow the on screen instructions to complete the CD/DVD burning process. You may burn another copy of the same disc, or close the wizard. Closing the wizard will delete the temporary files.

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    Tips, Warnings, and Other Information

    • If you have a USB flash drive and the disc will be used in another computer, it is likely easier to use the drive rather than burning a disc using this method.
    • If you have a burning application, you should use it rather than this method, as it will provide you with more options and customization.
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