App Directory: The Best Disc-Burning App For Windows

Windows has more disc-burning apps than we can count, but a few notable programs stand out from the pack. Our favourite is CDBurnerXP for its long list of features and easy-to-use interface.

CDBurnerXP

Platform: Windows Price: Free Download Page

  • 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 with video files
  • 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

Check out CDBurnerXP's website for the full list of features.

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.

CDBurnerXP is more than powerful enough for most users, but 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. Other than that, though, it's a pretty fantastic program, and will suit nearly anyone's burning 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. Like CDBurnerXP, it also contains some adware. If all you do is burn ISO images to disc, ImgBurn might be a better choice, but otherwise, CDBurnerXP is our favourite.

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 $US40, 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).

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 favourite program we didn't mention, let us know what it is and why you love it in the comments.

Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.


Comments

    No BurnAware Free? When it comes to ease of use, BurnAware Free is a great application. If you need more control and features, ImgBurn is absolute gem.

    No mention of InfraRecorder? http://infrarecorder.org/

    Open source, and works pretty much like Nero did before it gained all the bloat.

      CDBurnderXP should be fending off InfraRecorder!

    ImgBurn

    While I would suggest it's not entirly for novices, it works and it works really well and it's learning curve is not that steep that novices couldn't figure it out.

    I love ImgBurn and couldn't live without it.

    By the way, although I'm not a fan of Ashampoo software, I note that their Ashampoo Burning Studio 10 is on sale for a few days at US$11.11 Might be a good buy for anyone looking for software that can do pretty much everything including DVD & Blu-ray authoring.

    Ive had nothing but tropuble with Ashampoo software, so i tend to stay clear.

    StarBurn is another free (with paid option, the $25 version will also burn to a remote machines burner) its not tooo shabby.

    I remember the good old days i was happy with the free version of nero that came with the cd burner, but nero is just such a bloated, expensive POS these days but i wouldn't even pirate it, that's how bad its gotten.

    I forgot to mention that, although it's a useful program, I really dislike CDBurnerXP because it requires the .NET framework. Personally I don't want a 300MB blob of code installed on my PC.

    Also, Tim is spot-on with his comments about "the good old days" before Nero became bloated.

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