Here are answers to some common questions about burning a disc.

Show all

Why are there two different ways to format a disc?

You can choose between the Live File System and Mastered formats when creating a new recordable disc because each of these formats is used for a different purpose. The default choice is Live File System because it is a more convenient way to create a disc. When you use a Live File System disc, files are copied to the disc right away. When you use the Mastered format, files are stored in a "staging area" until you decide to burn the disc.

When you use the Live File System format with rewriteable discs such as CD-RW and DVD-RW, you can also erase unwanted files from a disc to recover space, which is not possible with Mastered discs. On the other hand, Mastered discs are more compatible with older computers, previous versions of Windows, and other devices such as CD and DVD players. For more information, see Which CD or DVD format should I use?

How much hard disk space do I need to burn a disc?

If you're using the Live File System format, you don't need to allocate any additional space to burn the disc, since each file is written to the disc as you go.

If you are creating a Mastered disc, however, Windows needs to create a complete "image" of the disc before it is burned. This disc image can be as large as the maximum capacity of the disc you are creating—you might need 650 megabytes (MB) on your hard disk to create a CD-R, or 4.7 gigabytes (GB) to create a DVD-R.

Can I choose where the disc image is stored?

Yes, if you have more than one hard disk installed in your computer, you can specify which hard disk is used to create the disc image. Here's how:

  1. Open Computer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Computer.

  2. Right-click the drive that is your disc burner, and then click Properties.

  3. Click the Recording tab, and then click the desired drive from the drive menu. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If I have more than one writeable drive, how do I set one as the default for burning discs?

  1. Open Computer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Computer.

  2. Right-click the drive that is your disc burner, and then click Properties.

  3. Click the Recording tab, and then click the desired drive from the drive menu. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Do I need to close or finalize my disc when I'm done burning?

Not necessarily. Closing a disc session makes the disc compatible with other computers, but not all discs need to be closed. You only need to close CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R discs. Rewriteable discs (which end in RW) don't need to be closed. In addition, discs that have not been closed can still be used in other disc burners. They can't be used in CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, however.

Some programs might offer to finalize your disc instead of closing the current session. A disc that has been finalized is complete, and you can't add any more files to it. If you close the current session, however, you can add more files as long as you have room on the disc.

Mastered discs do not need to be closed; they are automatically compatible with other computers, so you will never see an option to close a session that you have made with the Mastered format. If you are burning a Live File System disc, however, you will need to close the current session to be able to use the disc in another computer or player (by default, Windows does this automatically when you eject the disc). Keep in mind that each time you close a disc session, some of the disc's space is used, so it's a good idea to only close a disc session if you expect to use the disc in the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive of another computer. If the disc will remain in your current computer, you don't have to close the disc session.

How many times can I close a disc, reinsert it, and then burn more files in a new session?

For most kinds of discs, you're limited only by the amount of space left on the disc. You can close the disc multiple times and still add more files later.

Can I burn a disc using an existing ISO image?

An ISO image is a file that contains all the information necessary to duplicate the contents of a disc. You can't create a disc from an ISO image using Windows, but there are disc burning programs available with this ability.

Can I make additional copies of a disc I just burned?

Windows does not include the option to make another copy of a disc you have just created. The easiest way to make more than one copy of a disc is to copy all the files you want to burn to a temporary folder and then repeatedly select these collected files for each disc you want to create.

How do I copy a disc?

In order to copy a disc, you need to copy all the files on that disc to your computer, and then choose those files for burning. In general, you can only copy personal data discs, because they are not copy protected.

How do I make a music or a video disc that will work in a CD or DVD player?

Use a music or video burning program to make playable discs. If you use Windows to copy music files to a disc, for example, they will be copied as files and will not play in most CD players.

I’m trying to burn a CD or DVD over Remote Desktop Connection, and I don’t see the AutoPlay dialog box or option to burn a CD or DVD. How can I burn a disc over Remote Desktop Connection?

To burn a CD or DVD over Remote Desktop Connection in Windows Vista, you need to make sure that the following Group Policy setting is enabled: All Removable Storage: Allow direct access in remote sessions.

Group Policy is available on Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. To find and enable the setting in Group Policy Object Editor, do the following steps on the remote computer that you're connecting to. The following steps and procedures are intended for IT pros. To learn more about Group Policy management and making changes, go to Windows Help online, and search for “Group Policy management”.

To enable direct access to removable storage in remote sessions

  1. To open Group Policy Object Editor, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, type gpedit.msc in the Search box, and then click gpedit.msc in the list of search results.
  2. In Group Policy Object Editor, expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand System, and then click Removable Storage Access.

  3. Double-click the following setting: All Removable Storage: Allow direct access in remote sessions.

  4. In the All Removable Storage: Allow direct access in remote sessions dialog box, click Enabled, and then click OK. Close Group Policy Object Editor.

  5. To apply the updates to Group Policy, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, type Command Prompt in the Search box, right-click Command Prompt in the search results, and then click Run as administrator. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  6. At the command prompt, type gpupdate.exe, and then press Enter.

    This updates Group Policy and applies the new setting.

After enabling the appropriate Group Policy setting, you can burn a CD or DVD over a remote session by performing the following steps.

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Remote Desktop Connection.

  2. In Computer, type the name of the computer that you want to connect to, and then click Connect. (You can also type the IP address instead of the computer name, if you want.)

  3. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Computer, and then double-click the CD or DVD burner.
  4. Choose the appropriate disc format, and then burn a disc as usual. For more information about burning a CD or DVD, see Burn a CD or DVD.