Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Basics

Let me tell you a true story.  I was a sophomore in college when I heard that they writable and rewritable compact discs.  Excited I went to RadioShack and picked up a few, took them back to the computer lab and attempted to save things to the CD.  To my surprise I couldn't.  The catch:  you need a writable CD drive to write on writable CDs.

Funny story right?  You'd never think that was me back then.  That's just one of the reasons I'm a bit more empathic than other techs when people have trouble using technology.  It's because I can remember a time I didn't know much myself.

The reason I remembered this story was because today I saw someone who didn't know anything about copying or burning CDs.  Fortunately she knew enough that she had a rewritable drive for CDs and DVDs.

I think we've gotten so used to the quick and easy flash memory drives that we're forgetting the basics.  One of those basics just happens to be CD/DVD burning.  This is just a quick primer on that.

Step 1:  Identify Your Burning Options

Burning is a software guided function.  It's not enough just to have the rewritable drive and the media.  You need software that directs the burning.  If you're new to burning or copying then you probably don't even know what your options are.  To find out, the fastest and easiest way is to simply insert the blank disc.  You should see a popup that will ask what you want to do with the CD/DVD.  Somewhere in there are your burning options.  At the very minimum you'll be able to use Windows as your default burner.

This window looks different in later versions of Windows but it'll ask you the same things.
Step 2:  Know What You Want To Do

Windows' laundry list of items might display what you want but you have a world of options available to you if you enter a burning program directly.  Most disc burning suites have a number of wizards (that's a guided step-by-step for the non-tech people) available.  Some programs though are simple and don't explain very much.  You've got to decide your level of comfort here.  If the laundry list works for you, showing you the options currently available then go with that.  If you want something more robust you might have to download some other software.

If you're new to all this I'd recommend programs like Ashampoo Burning Studio or Burn4Free.  As you become more familiar with burning you might opt for simple yet powerful options like CDBurnerXP or ImgBurn.

Step 3:  Burn Baby Burn

You're ready to go.  A couple things to keep in mind though.  CDs hold 700 megabytes of data and DVDs hold 4.3 gigabytes of data.  It's going to take significantly longer to burn a full DVD.  DVD media doesn't work in standard CD players so don't even try to make a music CD out of a DVD.  Speaking of music CDs, make sure that's defined in you project settings.  Music CDs hold up to 120 minutes of music.  You must burn a music CD if you plan to use it in a standard CD player.  Some modern CD players will play MP3 CDs.  Make sure you read the product label carefully to see if it's supported.

That's it.  I could get really deep into all this but I tried my best to keep this simple.  Disco Inferno!

No comments:

Post a Comment