Learning How to Burn Files and other Media Contents Using Windows Explorer

A flood of third party programs and applications that helps in burning files and other media contents into CDs and DVDs are widely available all over the Internet at present. Most of these applications are offered for FREE and are described as having a lot to offer which make most of us forget that Windows actually has the same feature which is readily available on Windows Explorer itself.

Yes! There actually is a “Burn to Disk” feature that is integrated to the Windows Explorer feature of Windows Vista and Windows 7  which works basically the same as all those third party software which could sometimes run you into problems when installed and used due to viruses and other malicious programs that could get into your computer’s system after installation.

But of  course, letting you know that this feature is available on the computer that you’re using right now isn’t everything yet. In this tutorial, I will be teaching you how to use it and run you through each step that needs to be done in order to complete a simple burning process. Learning how to use this valuable feature lets you get rid of the time consuming process of searching for a third party disk burning application which basically does the same job.

Before going deeper into the details of how this is done you first need to take note that your Windows 7 machine doesn’t play Blu-Ray contents but it however supports burning on this format for as long as you have a DVD ROM or a disk writer that supports burning media files into this format.

How to Add Files and Folders That You Want to Burn

Before you start adding files and other media contents into the set of filed to burned into a CD or DVD, you first need to insert a blank disk (DVD, CD or Blu-Ray) in to your computer’s disk drive. The type of disk that you will be using depends on the files that you want to burn. You also need to check on the overall size of the files and prepare a disk that has enough available space to accommodate them.

After inserting the blank media, you should be able to see the “AutoPlay” Window pop out on your computer screen. From this Window, you need to click on the option that says “Burn files to disk using Windows Explorer”.

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If in case the “AutoPlay” Window fails to appear after you inserted the blank media, you need to access the “Computer” section from the navigation pane of Windows Explorer or from the Start Menu then double-click on the Disk Drive showing you what type of disk is inserted in it.

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Doing this will make the “Burn a Disc” Wizard appear which will first ask you to input the title that you want to assign for the disk that you will be burning. The Wizard will assign the current date as the default name for your disk but you can change it to whatever name you desire.

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You will then be required to choose between two available options on this Window. These two options will determine how the files will be burned to the disk that you inserted. The options are as follows:

  1. Like a USB Flash Drive- Works if you only want to save files and folders on a disk and have the freedom of inserting it on other computers to transfer and copy those files. You can also delete or edit some aspects of the files that you saved on a disk using this option. The disk created with this option will also work on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  2. With a CD/DVD player- If you choose this option, all the files will be burned to your disk in groups. This would mean that editing or deleting any part of a file is not allowed. Any disk created with this option will work on any computer. If you are going to burn pictures and other media contents like videos, music etc. then you must choose this option.

Most of the time, you need to select the second option in your disk burning routines because any disk that you create using this it will not run into compatibility issues and would even work on CD or DVD players. You are also allowed to add more files to the disk if in case there is still enough space left. When you’re done choosing the option that you want, you can click on the “Next” button located at the bottom.

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The blank disk which you inserted will now look like any other folder icon on Windows Explorer. Adding files and folders to it can be done in different ways. Below are some methods of doing it:

  • Drag and Drop- You can do this by pointing the mouse over the file/folder which you want to burn to the disk, clicking and holding it then dragging it to the disk’s icon and finally dropping/releasing the left mouse button.
  • Copy and Paste- This is a very easy way of bringing the files to the CD/DVD drive. All you need to do is right-click on the file then select the “Copy” option on the menu that appears then right-click again on the disk drive icon and select the option that says “Paste”.

Once you begin adding files to be burned to the disk using the steps above, you should see a balloon notification come out of your computer’s system tray located at the bottom-right area of the taskbar that says “You have files waiting to be burned to disc”. Once it appears, just continue with the copying process until you have them all inside the disk drive icon. You should only stop when all files are copied or you already reached the memory limit of the disk. The Wizard will tell you that you already can’t copy any more files to the disk because of a lack in memory space.

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Removing the CD/DVD from your computer”s disk drive will not erase the files that you already prepared to be burned to it. It will remain on the list and will be ready for burning again once you insert a new CD/DVD into the drive. If you want to remove a file from the list, you need to open the disk drive from Windows Explorer and click on the file which you want to delete then click on the “Delete temporary files” link just beside the “Burn to disc” option. After that, you will see a dialog box that looks like the screenshot below.

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Just click on the “Yes” button to confirm the action.

How to Start the Burning Process

After selecting and copying the files that you want to burn to the disk and deleting those which you decided not to burn to it, you now need to start the burn process. You can do this by simply clicking on the “Burn to disc” option found on top just beside the “Delete temporary files” link.

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After doing so, the “Burn to Disc” wizard will appear telling you to choose the the recording speed and as well as make final changes in the details that you want to add and assign to the disk. Once you’re done doing some changes and adjustments to these settings, you can proceed by clicking on the “Next” button at the bottom.

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After that, you will see a progress bar showing you the “Estimated time left”. The time that it would take in burning the files depends on the type of files and its overall size. The recording speed also affects this aspect of the burning process. Once it completes, you can already access the files from the storage disk once you insert it on other computers and you’re done!