Free DVD Burning Software
"Where can I find free DVD burning software?"
Finding free DVD burning software has become one of the most common questions passing through my inbox recently. There are a number of freeware DVD burning apps out there, but none of them are as comprehensive as pay solutions like Nero or Roxio, so if you need freebies for all your DVD burning needs, you'll actually need more than one application. I'll start with burning data DVDs, cover freeware solutions for burning DVD movies you can play in a set top DVD player, and then offer suggestions for some more specialized burning applications.
Burning Data DVDs for Free
Whether you're backing up files, building an MP3 CD to play in your car, or trying to make room on a crowded hard drive, creating a data DVD is one of the most cost effective ways to store data. At the moment, ImgBurn is the leading solution for creating data DVDs for free on every version of Windows. ImgBurn is geared toward building disk images and then burning those images to a disk, whether that disk is a CD, DVD, Blu-ray disk or HD-DVD. ImgBurn reads existing disk images, creates disk images, burns files directly to a disk and does a good job of verify disks to make sure you don't lose any data in the process. If it's a free data disk you're looking to create, ImgBurn is a solid solution.
Burning Movies to DVD for Free
For making disks you can watch on a set top DVD player, you need an extra step in the process. Using the freeware app SoThink Movie DVD Maker, you create the file structure ready for burning to DVD from virtually any movie. After the files are ready for burning to DVD, it's back to ImgBurn to create the disk. Technically SoThink Movie DVD Maker will burn the disks for you, but I found the burn feature in SoThink Movie DVD Maker produced more coasters than usable disks.
ImgBurn is a free DVD burning, CD burning and Blu-ray disk burning application for creating and burning disk images. Four modes perform disk burning tasks. ImgBurn can Read a disk to an image file. ImgBurn will write a disk image to a black disk. ImgBurn builds disk images from files on your local computer or network. ImgBurn verifies disk information to avoid making coasters.
Burning Audio CDs for Free
Stepping away from DVDs, there are several ways you can burn Audio CDs for free, starting with Windows Media Player and iTunes (both include CD burning). My personal preference is an app called Burrrn which supports more audio formats than either iTunes or Windows Media Player. Burrrn loads up a lightweight interface which imports all relevant tag information from virtually any unprotected audio file, including APE and FLAC files. One of the cool things about Burrrn is the ease in adding CD-Text so that you get detailed information when playing back CDs on any player with support (which is most of them at this point). Another key feature is ReplayGain, which helps balance out the sound of audio compiled from multiple sources, a key need when building a mix CD.
Other Disk Burning Solutions
Just because there are free disk burning solutions doesn't mean I always use them. When I'm building a DVD from my home movies, I prefer MyDVD because it offers an elegant solution for creating DVD menus. The few times that I've made HD-DVDs from my home movies, Pinnacle Studio was definitely a better option than freeware alternatives. If you need to author a Blu-ray disk to play on a PS3, Sonic DVDit is still top of my list of choices.