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What do I need in order to burn my own CDs?

Answer: To create or "burn" your own CDs, you need three things: 1) an operating system or program that supports CD burning, 2) a CD-burner, and 3) recordable CDs.

Of the three, it is most likely that you already have the first one. All recent versions of Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS support CD burning. Programs like iTunes and Toast can be used if the operating system does not include CD burning functions.

Secondly, you need a CD burner. Technically, this is either a CD-R or CD-RW drive. A basic CD-ROM drive will not burn CDs. CD-R drives can record data on recordable CDs, while CD-RW drives can write and rewrite data onto rewritable CDs as well as record once on regular CD-R discs. CD burners can be either internal (inside the computer) or external devices. If you buy an internal drive, it may be wise to have an authorized technician install it.

Once you have installed the CD burner hardware, you need discs to use with the CD burner. As described earlier, CD-R discs can be recorded once while CD-RW discs can be erased and rewritten multiple times. CD-RW discs can only be used with CD-RW drives. Once you have some blank CD-Rs, just insert one of the discs into your CD burner and follow you operating system's instructions for creating either a data or audio CD.

Published: January 16, 2005 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center