Sunday, October 6, 2013

Best free DVD burning software: 8 programs to burn media and backups IN DEPTH Create backups, audio CDs, video DVDs, more - no payment required

Best free DVD burning software: 8 programs to burn media and backups

We may be more likely to sync our files with a smartphone these days, but CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs are still a very useful way to store, share and present your data.
The companies behind the top commercial burning suites know this, too, which is why they can charge such eye-watering prices.
But you may not have to spend big money - or any money at all, in fact - to get the functions you need.
Some of the best disc burning software around is actually free, and yet still has the power to burn data discs, audio CDs, videos, Blu-ray discs, run backups, manage disc images and more. We've got everything you need to know.

1. ImgBurn

Download ImgBurn
ImgBurn is a lightweight burning tool with plenty of useful features. It can write data to disc, or create audio CDs from all the main music formats.
There's support for creating, reading or writing a host of formats (BIN, CCD, CDI, CUE, DI, DVD, GI, IMG, ISO, MDS, NRG and PDI).
The program has lots of advanced settings and options, and works with everything from CDs to Blu-ray discs.
You can't just drag in a few videos to create a video disc, though (you'll need a video folder), and ImgBurn can be a little complex to use. But if you need real burning power, or lots of disc image options, then it's probably the best free tool around.

2. Ashampoo Burning Studio Free

Download Ashampoo Burning Studio Free
Ashampoo Burning Studio has a good range of options for a free tool. You can burn data discs, audio CDs and DVD video discs (from folders), for instance, as well as creating and burning disc images.
There's also a built-in CD ripper, and even a simple backup tool which can span a backup over several discs.
Ashampoo Burning Studio Free
These options are relatively limited. File format support is poor when compared to ImgBurn, for instance, and there's little fine control over how a disc is burned.
The program is exceptionally easy to use, though, and if you just need the basics then Ashampoo Burning Studio FREE makes a great choice.

3. DVDFlick

Download DVDFlick
Most general disc burning tools can only create video DVDs from a prepared folder. Install an authoring tool likeDVDFlick, though, and your life will be much easier.
The program is very easy to use. Add your movie clips (more than 45 video formats are supported), choose your preferred menu template and you can be creating your finished disc (or DVD folders, or ISO image) with a click.
There are some issues here. The menus are very basic; encoding is slow, and the program is getting old (it's not been updated since 2009).
DVDFlick does still work very well, though, so if you need more video DVD functionality than other programs provide, we'd give it a try.

4. StarBurn

Download StarBurn
A little more basic than some of the competition, StarBurnis essentially a collection of small tools which you access from a simple icon-based launcher.
There's still plenty to explore here, though. Straightforward wizards help you to burn data, audio CDs and video DVDs (from folders), the program can help you create images from discs, or your choice of files, and there's even a little room for extras, including a CD ripper and simple audio file conversion tool.
Image support is a little limited at ISO only, and experts won't like the lack of fine control, but StarBurn remains a capable tool which is also very easy to use.

5. BurnAware Free

Download BurnAware Free
BurnAware Free is a likeable tool with an appealing interface. It scores well on the fundamentals, too, with options to burn data discs (including to Blu-ray), audio CDs, video DVDs (from folders), boot discs, ISO images and more.
BurnAware Free
You don't have all the options or file format support provided with some of the competition (the program only works with ISO and CUE/BIN images, for instance), and it's only free for personal use. But if simplicity is a top priority then BurnAware Free still needs to be on your shortlist.

6. DVDStyler

Download DVDStyler
If you're tired with the lack of DVD video support in regular burning tools, then DVDStyler can help - it's a surprisingly powerful authoring tool.
The program imports all the main video formats, for instance. It's smart enough not to re-encode MPEG and VOB files.
Drag and drop support and pre-built menu templates mean you'll be producing quality DVDs very quickly, but DVDStyler also has more menu customisation options then some commercial tools.
All this power can make the program a little complex in place, and there are reliability issues (we've known it to crash occasionally), but the lengthy feature list means you should still give it a try.

7. CDBurnerXP

Download CDBurnerXP
CDBurnerXP opens with a clear and simple menu, making it easy to find the function you need.
The program can burn data discs (CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray), audio CDs and disc images, as well as creating video DVDs from folders, and there are some small but welcome extras.
When burning an audio CD, for instance, you can import a CD from a playlist, use the built-in audio player to check any track, and print the playlist when you're finished.
The program doesn't excel everywhere - it only works with ISO images, for example - and it can become trickier to use when you get into more complex tasks, but overall CDBurnerXP is a solid and reliable burning application.

8. Free Video to DVD Converter

Download Free Video to DVD Converter
Free Video to DVD Converter is all about creating video DVDs, and its simple wizard-based interface makes this generally very easy.
Import your videos (most formats are supported), set up your menu (tweak chapter names, fonts, colours and more), and the program will burn the disc, create an ISO image or DVD folders with a click.
Free Video to DVD Converter
There aren't the same menu design possibilities that you'll see with DVDStyler (you only get one template, for instance).
The program is missing a preview option, and it's not been updated for a while. But Free Video to DVD Converter is also simple to use and one of the more reliable free DVD authoring tools.


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