How To Burn Music to a CD Using Windows

Here's how to use Windows' built-in tools to burn a music CD.

Woman placing cd in laptop, close-up
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In this age of Spotify, USB sticks, and smartphones not many people feel the need to burn music to a CD, but there are times when only a spinning disc will do. That's especially true for teachers or anyone else who needs to distribute a recording to a group as cheaply, and as easily, as possible. 

There are numerous ways to burn a CD in Windows thanks to third-party programs like iTunes, not to mention Microsoft's own programs like Windows Media Player.

But there's also a way to burn CDs using Microsoft's built-in utility that is independent of any specific program. Before you start, you'll need a CD burner connected to your machine (either a built-in component or an external device), and a blank, writable CD.

Depending on the speed of your machine and the amount of content you need to burn this process can take a few seconds or several minutes. The good news is it's not that hard.

How to burn a CD in Windows Vista using the built-in utility:

  1. Click on the Start Menu, then click My Computer.
  2. Go to folder that has the music you want to put on the CD.
  3. Select the songs you want to burn to CD.
  4. Right-click on the songs you've selected, click Send to and click on CD-RW Drive (if you have a DVD combo drive it may say "DVD Drive" instead).
  5. Go back to My Computer. In the Other Places list on the left, click on My Computer.
  6. Double-click on the CD-RW Drive icon.
  1. To the left of the songs you have selected, look at a list of links called CD Writing Tasks; Click on Write these files to CD.
  2. The Windows CD Writing Wizard will begin working. Type the name you want for the CD in the provided box and click Next.
  3. Windows will prompt you to insert a CD. Insert an unused writeable CD and click Next.
  1. Windows will burn the music to your CD. When the wizard is finished, it will close automatically.

How to burn a CD in Windows 7 and up with the built-in utility:

With Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows, Microsoft actually makes this process a lot simpler. 

  1. Open Windows Explorer/File Explorer and navigate to the folder with the files you want to burn.
  2. Choose the songs you want to burn to CD by holding down the Ctrl button and then selecting with your mouse.
  3. Right-click on the songs you've selected, and choose Send to... from the right-click context menu.
  4. Choose your CD burner from the list.
  5. A dialog box appears asking how you want to use this disc. Choose With A CD/DVD player. At the top of the window there's also a text entry field where you can give the disc a name. Once that's done click Next.
  6. A Windows Explorer/File Explorer window will appear with your selected files.
  7. Click the Burn to disc option at the top of the Explorer window. In Windows 8 and 10, this option is under the Share tab.
  8. In the next pop-up window you'll have the option to edit the title of the disc again, and set the recording speed. When you're ready to move on click Next.
  9. That's it your files will start burning to disc. You'll be notified when the process is complete.

    That's how you burn CDs using Microsoft's built-in tools. If you need to burn something like a long playlist it is probably easier to do so using the burn function in your preferred music player. Most music player software has the ability to burn CDs so this shouldn't be a problem. The one group of people who will have a problem are Microsoft Groove users in Windows 10. Because Groove is a Windows Store app it does not have the same capabilities as standard desktop programs including the ability to burn files to media like a CD.

    Updated by Ian Paul.