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ImgBurn is a free, powerful burning tool that can be used to burn files and ISOs to CD/DVD/HDDVD/Bluray discs, or to create images of them.

There are many CD burning tools out there, including several popular free ones as well as several commercial ones. In fact, there's a good chance you might have a trial version of on of the commercial products on your machine right now - they're often included in the pre-installed software.

I use ImgBurn: it's free, it's lightweight, it does more than I'd ever need, and it's relatively easy to use.

I say that it's "relatively" easy to use, because its interface can be just a tad intimidating to the first time user. To overcome that, let me show you how to do a few common operations using ImgBurn.

Create a CD-R or DVD-R Data Disk

This is what I do most often, by far. I use CD-R's and DVD-R's (write once media) to archive data and to send data around to others. It's the most common and most compatible format.

Fire up ImgBurn, and if it doesn't start with it, click on Mode and then EZ-Mode Picker... (or type CTL+ALT+P):

ImgBurn EZ Mode Picker...

The mode we want to pick is "Write files/folders to disc". This is how you create a data disk:

ImgBurn Build Disc Mode

This is the screen that confuses most people, but the steps are actually fairly simple. Note the large empty white box on the left. That's actually a file selection dialog. You can use controls to its immediate right to select files and folders to be placed in your disk, but I prefer another method. I simply open up Windows Explorer on the files I want to burn, and drag/drop them into the ImgBurn window:

Dragging and Dropping files into IngBurn

Note that I've included both files, and folders - whose entire contents will be included.

The result looks like this:

ImgBurn ready to burn a disc

Note that because I've inserted a blank CD, that's allowed ImgBurn to calculate exactly how full that CD will be. The calculator icon is actually a button that you can press at any time to recalculate the space that will be used.

By far the most common question next is "what now? how do I make it burn?".

Push Da Button (that's not all that obviously a button):

The button to push to begin burning

ImgBurn will then ask you to specify a Volume Label for the disc, and once you've done so it'll start burning.

Burning an ISO File to Disc

The previous steps to burn files and folders to disk actually encapsulates two steps:

  • Create an image file from the files/folders specified

  • Burn that image file to the disc

That's all normally behind the scenes stuff.

But what if you have an image file in the form of an ISO?

Go back to the EZ-Mode Picker... earlier, and this time select "Write image file to disc":

ImgBurn Write Image mode

Once again the "what next?" question rears its ugly head. The solution, also once again, is to click on the correct button:

Imgburn Select File button

This then opens a file picker dialog box, and you can select the ISO file that you wish to burn to disc. Once you've done so:

ImgBurn ready to burn an ISO to disc

You once again click on the largish button on the lower left half of the ImgBurn window to begin the burn.

Other Options and Notes

As always, be aware of the size of the data you're wanting to write, and whether it will fit on the media that you have. For example, if you have more files or folders than will fit on a single CD, then you may need to break the data up into amounts that will, or perhaps use a larger format such as a DVD instead. If you have an ISO that's larger than a CD, then you have no choice: you need a DVD.

ImgBurn, as I understand it, won't create bootable data disks (or if it does, it's beyond the scope of this discussion). If you're burning an ISO, and that ISO is of a bootable disk, then the result will be bootable.

As you can see from the "EZ-Mode Picker" you can also create image and ISO files from existing discs (a great way to backup a copy), or from a selection of files or folders.

ImgBurn will create audio CDs as well. There's a How-To at the ImgBurn discussion forums.

Those discussion forums are worth mentioning as well, as they're a good resource for not only FAQs and HowTo's, but also serve as support should you have questions about ImgBurn.

The bottom line is that ImgBurn is a powerful and full featured CD/DVD and even HD-DVD/Blu-ray burning utility. If you've got the hardware to burn a disc, ImgBurn is worth evaluating as the tool to do it.

I recommend it.

Article C3612 - January 5, 2009 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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16 Comments
hal
January 6, 2009 3:13 PM

Hello,
Prtesently I have Roxio on my PC. How does this compare to Ingburn?
Also, I have a full dvd that I would like to make copies, family pictures. Do I use a blank dvd disk and will it copy everything?
Thank you,
hal

Jeff Lentz
January 8, 2009 1:24 PM

THANKS LEO, great timing as usual. Just found out this week that my OEM DVD for my home-built Windows XP machine doesn't have DVD software, and Windows XP doesn't support DVD burning natively. You may just have saved me $79.95. (If so, I'll buy you a latte!)

john david hamby
January 9, 2009 11:15 AM

it is nice that you printed the screen shots, now i can refer to them when i try to burn a dvd or what ever

Deepak
January 20, 2009 9:28 AM

Leo, no doubt imgburn is a great tool but I couldn't find the option of burning multisessional disks using this software. If it provides this facility then please tell....

merso
May 14, 2009 11:52 PM

Go to know What is the Best DVD Burner Program to use.
http://apple-idvd.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-is-best-dvd-burner-program-to-use.html

mjasko
February 16, 2010 8:45 AM

I am confused. Did you say that ImgBurn will burn CDs and DVDs? when I go to the ImgBurn web link I find that the free software only burns CD's . I have to buy the Express Burn "commercial" software to burn DVDs. Am I missing something?

Lee Hendrix
February 16, 2010 9:42 AM

Leo! Thanks so much for the AWESOME article on ImgBurn! I have used this program for quite a while, also. It more than meets my needs for writing, building, and burning. Your 'how-to" tips were outstanding!!! I always enjoy your newsletters and always learn a lot from them! Keep up the GREAT work!!!

Glenn P.
February 16, 2010 3:55 PM

Hey, Merso nice link. Now how about the IBM users?

ben
February 16, 2010 4:03 PM

free imgburn will burn dvd and cd , i use it all the time.

graeme johnson
February 16, 2010 5:11 PM

I have just purchased a Toshiba NB 300 notebook. It has Windows Media Player but no burner. In fact it has no facility for loading a disc.
I want to;
. rip music tracks from my cd collection and
.load Norton security which I have already purchased and used on another pc (it is good for 3 pc's so I dont want to have to pay again for an on line download.)
Any help wd be appreciated. I amm a novice.
Graeme

Warren
February 16, 2010 6:20 PM

I use CDBurnerXP. Works right through to Windows 7. It's free and burns CDs and DVDs, including Blue-Ray and HD-DVDs.
Cheers, Warren.

Richard Patton
February 16, 2010 10:30 PM

I've used a freeware program called DeepBurner for many years. (There's also a paid "Pro" version.) It has similar features, plus you can save a list of files to burn as a "project" so you can come back later and burn another disc with the same files. You can also have multiple different "projects" open at the same time, so you can assemble a burn list for several different disks at the same time.

GREG JACKSON
May 3, 2011 9:56 AM

Thanks Again, Leo. I've Tried several ISO Burning programs. I've kept ImgBurn. Thanks for the detailed instruction (w/ screenshots). It appears simple and non-intimidating, but many times proved unsuccessful because I didn't set it up properly. Well, no longer. Detailed instructions help in any endeavor in the computer world. Now I can act like I know what I'm doing.

Router Board RB433AH
May 3, 2011 9:17 PM

Hi again,
if I lost IP of any access point or router witch program can do scan and find IP us it. I already use Ubntu OS.

marioz
May 23, 2011 7:23 AM

i tried the above ''ImgBurn'' on windows 7 64bit but always says it is blocked because of compatability.
i downloaded ''SPTDinst-v1.78-x64.exe'' but this too didn't solve the problem.
what do you think went wrong !

No idea. I regularly run ImgBurn on my 64 bit Windows 7 and it works great. Make sure you're downloading the latest version, directly from the ImgBurn site.
Leo
24-May-2011

Engineer10388
October 26, 2012 5:42 PM

I appreciate the advice to avoid toolbars, scans, other "stuff" they offer. It was not easy unless you read closely, unchecked items as needed, and clicked with care...before download *and* during installation. Bloatware everywhere! Does seem to be a really neat program, though. Wish I'd had it before now.

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