Here are answers to some common questions about burning CDs or DVDs in Windows Media Player. If you don't see your question listed here, see Windows Media Player: frequently asked questions.

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What can I burn?

You can use the Player to burn a mix of songs from your Player library or from your computer to an audio CD, after which you can play the CD in any standard CD player. You can also burn files to data CDs and DVDs. It is not possible to burn live streams, such as radio stations, to a CD or DVD.

What types of CDs or DVDs can I burn?

  • CD. You can use either a blank CD-R or CD-RW disc for burning in the Player, depending on the type(s) of removable storage that your CD burner supports, and the type of disc that you prefer. Note that not all CD players can play CD-RW discs. You can use the Player to burn the following types of CDs:

    • Audio CD. Burn music CDs in standard Red Book audio format. Audio CDs can be played in most computers and in home and car CD players that play CD-R and CD-RW discs. You can burn an audio CD from either Windows Media Audio (WMA), MP3, or WAV file formats.

    • Data CD. A data CD, also called a media CD, can store approximately 700 megabytes (MB) of music or video files. Data CDs are also useful if you want to back up your data files. Keep in mind, however, that some CD players and computers may not be able to play data CDs or some of the file types that can be burned to a data CD.

  • Data DVD. A single sided, single layered data DVD can store approximately 4.7 gigabytes (GB) of music, video, or data files. The storage capacity of a DVD disc is doubled to 9.4 GB when you use either double sided, single layered or single sided, dual layered discs. The use of a double sided, dual layered disc quadruples the DVD's storage capacity to 18.8 GB.

    The type of recordable DVD disc you would use depends on your DVD burner. Certain DVD burners can only burn to certain types of recordable DVDs. For example, with some DVD burners, you can only record to a DVD+R or DVD+RW or to a DVD-R or DVD-RW. However, other DVD burners will let you burn to all of these recordable DVD types. To determine what types of DVDs your DVD burner can burn, consult the manual that came with your DVD burner.

    As long as your DVD burner supports burning to these types of discs, you can burn a DVD in the Player using one of the following types of recordable or re-recordable DVD media: DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and double layered DVD+R. The Player does not support burning to DVD-RAM discs.

    Burning DVD-Audio and DVD-Video discs is not supported in the Player.

What is a data disc? Is that the same as an MP3 disc?

Yes. A data CD or DVD is a disc that contains data files, including, but not limited to, WMA files, MP3 files, WMV files, and most other types of computer files. However, while most computers do support reading and accessing files from data discs, most stand-alone CD and DVD players do not support playback of data CD or DVD discs. Check your stand-alone disc player's documentation for details.

Can I burn the contents of a one disc, such as a music CD, a data CD, or a data DVD, directly to another disc using the Player?

No. Windows Media Player 11 requires that content intended to be burned to discs be first stored on the computer's hard disk.

How do I burn music to a portable music player device?

The process of copying songs to a portable device is called synchronization (or sync). The term "burning" only applies to copying songs to a CD or DVD. For more information on how to sync music to portable devices, see Windows Media Player Sync: frequently asked questions.

How can I burn movies to a DVD?

Windows Media Player does not support burning movies to video DVD discs. It does support burning data DVD discs, which could contain music and video files. However, data DVDs are typically not compatible with most home DVD players. Check your DVD player documentation for details.

Why do the songs on the data disc I burned play in a different order than the list I created?

If you burn a data disc and play it on another computer or play it in a portable, home, or car CD player, the songs might not play in the order in which they appeared in your burn list. The playback order of data discs is determined by the device or other program that you are using to play the disc. In most cases, the songs will play back in alphanumeric order by file name.

Why doesn't the disc I burned play in my CD player?

If you burn a data disc with music files and it does not play in your portable, home, or car CD player, check the following:

  • Your CD player may not support playback of data CD or DVD discs. Refer to the CD player's documentation for details.

  • The CD might be burned onto media, such as CD-RW, that is not compatible with the CD player. Refer to the CD player's documentation for details.

  • Your CD player may not support playback of the type of music files burned on the disc (WMA or MP3). Refer to the CD player's documentation for details.

  • The songs might be protected with media usage rights. Other computers may be able to acquire usage rights and play the songs if they have a connection to the Internet, but devices such as portable CD players and car stereos will not be able to acquire those rights, so protected content will be unplayable.

  • The CD might not have been closed when it was burned. Usually you can resolve this problem by adding more songs to the burn list so you are close to the maximum capacity of the CD. Then, try burning the list again to a new CD.

Why doesn't this blank disc work for burning?

If the disc you inserted is identified as "Blank disc" in the Navigation pane but a message in the List pane instructs you to insert a writable disc, the disc might be defective or no longer writable. This disc might not be writable, for example, if you previously tried to burn items to the disc but you stopped the burn before it was finished. Try inserting a writable disc that you have not previously used.

How do you erase an already-burned CD?

If you want to reuse a CD-RW disc that has files previously "burned" (written) on it, you can erase the contents of the CD-RW disc by inserting the disc into the CD burner, right-clicking the drive in the Navigation pane, and then clicking Erase disc. (Note that erasing is required before you can burn to a CD-RW disc again.) However, you cannot reuse or erase the contents of a CD-R disc that was previously burned, regardless of how much space was originally left unused.

Why do one or more of the items in the burn list have an Information button next to them?

The appearance of the Information button Picture of the Information button next to an item in the burn list indicates there may be a problem with that item. It might indicate that the song file is protected by media usage rights that are either missing or do not allow burning to a CD. It might also indicate that the item is something other than a song file in the supported .wma, .mp3, or .wav media file formats when attempting to burn an audio disc. All other types of files, such as digital video or photo files, can only be burned to a data disc. Lastly, the button could indicate that the duration of the song is not yet known to the Player. Click the button to see the message it contains.

It is always good practice to listen to the songs you intend to burn all the way through at least once to confirm there are no quality problems with the recordings. By doing so, the Player will also resolve any possible incorrect duration data for those songs.

If the burn list was created from an existing playlist but one or more of the songs are no longer available on your computer, an Error button Picture of the Error button will appear next to the missing song.

Why can I play and add certain songs to the burn list, but can't burn them to a CD?

If the song file is protected with media usage rights, those rights may allow for playback of the song on the computer but prohibit burning to a CD. If the Information button Picture of the Information button appears next to the song in the burn list, click the button to see more information about the issue. For more information on media usage rights, see the DRM: frequently asked questions.

How do you acquire burning rights for protected songs?

When using purchased songs, typically you don't need to worry about downloading media usage rights when you're using the same computer that was used to purchase the songs. The Player downloads all available rights automatically at the time of purchase.

However, there may be times when the Player cannot download media usage rights for you. In these cases, the Player typically displays a message that indicates what options you have available. Just follow the instructions displayed on the screen.

If the Player directs you to an online store, you might be required to enter your account name and password to proceed. The online store might require you to update your billing information or to pay a fee to download additional usage rights, such as the right to burn a song to a custom, audio CD.

Why are there occasionally long gaps between songs on the CDs I burn?

Some CDs, when some of their songs are ripped, may include one or more seconds of silence in the ripped music file after the music ends. Other CDs may include silence gaps at the beginning of some songs. Many CDs mark the beginning and ending of songs with the introduction and end of audible sound on each track. The Player automatically adds a two-second gap between songs when burning audio CDs to keep the next song from beginning immediately after the end of the previous song. The extra silence gaps included in the music files from the ripped CDs can create long, inconsistent pauses between songs. Since the Player's two-second pause cannot be turned off, the only way to resolve this issue is to use an audio file editor to remove the silence gaps in the song recordings themselves.

How can I tell if a custom burned CD is an audio or a data disc?

Put the disc in a CD-ROM drive in your computer. Start Windows Explorer and look at the contents on the CD you just inserted. If you see the file type .CDA on the CD, that indicates that the CD was burned as an audio CD. A data CD may contain any type of file, from .wma and .mp3 digital music files, .wmv digital video files, or even backups of document files.

How can I tell if my CD drive is a CD burner?

If you are unsure if your CD drive has the ability to burn CDs, you can look at the front of the CD drive tray for the compact disc logo that indicates whether the drive offers "writable" or "rewritable" features.

Alternatively, you can look at the CD drive's properties in Windows to help determine whether your CD drive offers that feature by doing the following:

  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.

  2. Right-click the CD drive, and then click Properties.

  3. Look for the Recording tab. If the Recording tab isn't there, your drive is not a CD burner.

How do I get a CD burner?

If your computer does not have a CD burner drive installed, you'll need to buy a CD burner drive and have it installed. Many options exist for either internal or external CD burner drives. Contact your computer manufacturer's upgrade sales department or a computer/electronics retailer for more information.

How can I find out the status of the disc I am burning?

As the disc is burned, you can check its progress by clicking the Burn tab, and then clicking the disc burner that is burning in the Navigation pane. Burning a disc will take some time. For best results, don't try to perform other actions, such as playing other files, while burning a disc.

Why doesn't the Player recognize my USB-connected burner?

Check that the burner is connected to your computer. If it is connected, and you haven't yet created a list of files to burn, simply exit and then restart the Player. Once you do so, the Player should recognize your USB burner. If you had created a list of files to burn, you can save the list before exiting the Player by doing the following:

  1. Click the List button at the top of the List pane, and then click Save Playlist As.

  2. Type a name for the list, and then click Save.

  3. Exit and then restart the Player.

  4. Click the Burn tab. If you have multiple CD burners, click the arrow below the Burn tab, and then click your USB burner.

  5. In the Navigation pane, click Playlists, and then drag the list you had saved to the List pane.

  6. Click Start Burn.

Why am I asked if I want to skip a file when burning starts?

Before burning starts, the Player performs an initial check of the files in your burn list. In some cases, a file may have an error condition that prevents it from burning, or the file may be protected with media usage rights that either prohibit burning to an audio CD or limit the number of times the file can be burned to an audio CD. When the Player encounters one or more files with a problem during the initial check, the Player displays a dialog box to give you the option of either skipping the files (and continuing with burning the other files in the list) or stopping burning so that you can try to resolve the problem. If the Player finds problems with any other files after the initial check, it will be necessary to resolve the problems or remove the files from your burn list before you can continue burning.

How do I save my burn list?

A burn list is just a playlist and can be saved and retrieved like any other regular playlist. If you have spent time creating a custom burn list and want to save the list for later use, do the following:

  1. Click the List button, and then click Save Playlist As.

  2. Type in a unique name for your new playlist and click Save.

To recall your saved burn list to use again, do the following:

  1. Click the Burn tab.

  2. Click Playlists in the Navigation pane.

  3. Select the saved burn playlist from the Details pane and drag it to the List pane.

You're now ready to use that playlist again to burn CDs.

What does it mean when the Player states it is "inspecting" after I click Start Burn?

Windows Media Player only has to "inspect" songs that were not ripped in or have never been played in their entirety before by this version of the Player if volume leveling is turned on for burning audio CDs. When the inspecting step of the burn process takes a long time, the Player might be having trouble with a particular song file. Click Stop Burn to stop the burn process and play the song in question all the way through to make sure the Player can play it correctly. If not, the file may be damaged.

If this does not resolve the issue, try either removing the song in question from the burn list or acquiring (downloading or ripping) the song again and then play it all the way through to see if that corrects the problem. If the song does play but the burn process continues to stop when inspecting the song, try turning off volume leveling:

  1. Click the arrow below the Burn tab, and then click More Options.

  2. Clear the Apply volume leveling across tracks on the CD check box, and then click OK.

  3. Try burning the CD again.


  • Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law in the United States and/or other countries/regions. Copyrighted material includes, but is not limited to, software, documentation, graphics, lyrics, photographs, clipart, animations, movie and video clips, as well as sound and music (including when MP3 encoded). Violation of U.S. and international copyright laws may subject you to significant civil and/or criminal penalties.