Windows has more disc burning apps than we can count, but a few notable programs stand out from the pack. Our favorite is CDBurnerXP for its long list of features and easy-to-use interface.
- Burn discs by dragging files or burning an ISO image
- Burn audio CDs using multiple audio formats with ReplayGain, CD text, and gapless playback
- Burn video CDs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, and Blu-Rays from ripped files (such as VIDEO_TS folders)
- Spread data over multiple discs with disc spanning
- Drag and drop files using the integrated explorer or from any Windows Explorer window
- Support for multisession CDs
- Simple cover printing for data and audio discs, as well as LightScribe integration
Where It Excels
CDBurnerXP (which, despite its name, is regularly updated and works on current versions of Windows) can burn nearly any type of disc you can imagine, whether it’s a simple image burn or you’re creating an audio or video CD. Not only is it powerful, it also has a very easy-to-understand interface. As soon as you start it up, you can choose what type of disc you want to create and start dragging files. Plus, it’s completely free, and far more lightweight than many of the popular commercial options.
Where It Falls Short
CDBurnerXP is more than powerful enough for most users, except for the fact that it can’t burn video files (like AVI) to a playable DVD—but there aren’t a lot of free, all-in-one burning programs can do that. Check out the competition for the right app for that job.
Otherwise, CDBurnerX is great. If you’re a very advanced user, you might find it lacking in a few tiny features (which you can find in other, less user-friendly programs like ImgBurn). Also, CDBurnerXP is adware, meaning you have to pay attention when you install it to make sure it doesn’t install any other bundled programs on your machine (though you can grab the ad-free version from the “More Downloads” section on their site, by choosing either the portable or MSI version). Other than that, though, it’s a pretty fantastic program, and will suit most people’s needs.
ImgBurn is the most obvious competition to CDBurnerXP. It can do almost everything CDBurnerXP can do (not to mention a few other things CDBurnerXP can’t do—mainly in the realm of setting file attributes on data discs), but it’s a lot less user-friendly. If you’re burning ISOs, it’s actually a bit easier—it only takes a few clicks to burn an ISO to a CD—but other disc types can be a bit more confusing. It also doesn’t support multisession discs, which is a deal killer for some. If all you do is burn ISO images to disc, ImgBurn might be a better choice, but otherwise, CDBurnerXP is our favorite.
Ashampoo Burning Studio Free is another great, user-friendly option, and is comparable to CDBurnerXP. It doesn’t have as many features when it comes to burning video discs, but it does have a neat focus on backup and restore, if you use CDs or DVDs to back up certain files. Many people prefer it to CDBurnerXP, though it is a bit outdated as the newer versions of Ashampoo are all commercial.
That said, if you’re willing to pay $40, Ashampoo Burning Studio 10 has a lot of cool features for burning discs (like menus for DVDs, autoplay options for data discs, and so on). If you need more flashy features than the above free programs can offer, Ashampoo is a heck of a lot better than most of the commercial options out there (I’m looking at you, Nero).
If you’re trying to burn video files—like an AVI—to a DVD for playing in a DVD player, you’ll want something like DVD Flick. It’s annoying that programs like CDBurnerXP don’t do this, but DVD Flick should get the job done well enough. Check out our guide for more info.
Again, there are a ton of other disc burning programs out there for Windows, but the above choices should fit your needs in nearly any conceivable situation. If you have a favorite program we didn’t mention, let us know what it is and why you love it in the comments.
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