CD / DVD / Blu-ray Drives / Writers

CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc-burning applications and disc formats

CDBurnerXP – Before you spend money on a third-party tool, try the excellent free program CDBurnerXP from

To fund themselves, most free programs now have an option to install a toolbar and/or software of some sort, such as a web browser, and some of them install by default software that you might not want, so read all of the information that is provided during the installation. CDBurnerXP program just requires you to opt in to the installation of a toolbar.

A previous free burner that I used without any problems long ago recently installed in-line advertising software without any option to decline the installation that made in-line adverts appear in the text on the pages opened with all of the web browsers I had installed. I had to get rid of it by using System Restore to restore a restore point that predated the installation.

Ashampoo Burning Studio Free is excellent disc-burning software, available free from the program’s download page on CNET’s –

This burning software does not require much hard-disk space, is relatively simple to use and rips and burns recordable CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs reliably in all of the standard video, audio, and data formats. It supports all of the current versions of Windows, Windows 7, released officially on October 22, 2009 and even Windows 8. However, it doesn’t support Blu-ray playback, which the website providing the free DAPlayer by Digiarty Software says that it does.

Note that it is best to use the disc’s plastic cover that usually comes with paper sleeve to make a record of the contents and/or number the discs and keep a separate record of the contents. I have used a marker pen with no adverse results, but I have read reports that the ink of used by felt-tip pens is solvent-based and can degrade discs. If you use a marker pen, the ink can be difficult to remove, so it is better to use a circular stick-on label, especially with rewritable discs.

If you need to remove the ink, use nothing more than washing-up liquid, certainly not a solvent, which will damage the disc. Some users say that a sticker makes the disc unstable, but I have never experienced any problems with circular stickers. Using a square label meant for a folder might make the disc unstable due to the uneven coverage of the paper over the disc. If you want the discs to be accessible over a long period (more than two years), it is best to use high-quality gold-based discs.

Blu-ray discs can hold many times more data than the highest-capacity DVD discs – from 25GB to 128GB per disc, depending on how many layers – up to four – that the disc uses. DVD-R and DVD+R discs are the most popular. Dual-layer or double-layer  DVD-R and DVD+R discs store up to 8.5GB per disc compared to the 4.7GB for single-layer discs.

Blu-ray Disc –


Currently, CD-RW discs can be rewritten approximately a 1,000 times. A DVD+RW or a DVD-RW disc is very similar to a CD-RW disc with regard to the number of times that it can be rewritten. However, as with CD-RW discs, in practice the number of times will probably be much higher and vary between the brand-name makes of disc. Blu-ray rewritable discs (Blu-ray Disc Rewritable discs) are designated by BD-RE (not BD-RW in the way that CD-RW and DVD-RW/DVD+RW are used for the CD/DVD rewritable standards). The BD-RE specifications require that the discs, at minimum, should be rewritable at least 1,000 times. However, different materials, designs, and fabrications may allow a greater number of rewrites. Some, but not all of the BD-RE disc manufacturers, specify that their discs are capable of 10,000 or more rewrites.

My top three manufacturers of DVD and Blu-ray dics are: 1. – Tiayo Yuden (recently bought by JVC) 2. – Verbatim (produced by Ritek) 3. – Sony.

Note also that currently no version of Windows, not even Windows 7 or 8.1, supports Blu-ray burning or playback. Third-party software is required, such as PowerDVD 9 (or higher version) for playback only. Some free burning and playback software is available, information about which is provided further down this page.

Windows XP does not support DVD-burning or playback, so third-party software, such as the free VLC is required for playback (free burners are also available), but Windows Vista Home Premium (only the versions that provide the Media Center provide DVD playback) and Windows 7 Home Premium (and higher versions) support both DVD-burning and playback. The version of Windows Media Player that is installed with Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 can burn data to the various recordable DVD discs and the version of Windows Movie Maker can be used to create DVD movies.

Burn a CD or DVD in Windows Media Player –

“When you copy music, pictures, and videos from your PC to a blank CD or DVD, it’s called “burning.” When you copy music, pictures, and videos from a CD or DVD to your PC, it’s called “ripping.” You can use Windows Media Player in Windows 8.1 to do both.”

DVD Maker is not included in Windows 8/8.1 as it was in Vista and Windows 7. Therefore, DVD Authoring software from a third-party source is required to burn a video DVD that plays in a free-standing DVD Player.

2014 Best DVD Authoring Software Review –

Here are the specifications for the LiteOn iHAS524 DVD writer, showing the CD/DVD disc formats that it reads and writes to:

LiteOn iHAS524 review [Specifications] –

Here are the specifications for the LiteOn iHBS212 Blu-ray writer, showing the CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc formats that it reads and writes to:

LiteOn iHBS212 review [Specifications] –

NEXT PAGEBlu-ray data-transfer standards – SATA for internal and USB for external drives