How to burn a CD or DVD on Windows 11 (step by step)

Learn how to burn a CD or DVD on Windows 11 with these step-by-step tutorials.

You don't need to use an extra program for burning CDs or DVDs in Windows 11 because Windows 11 has built-in tools for burning CDs and DVDs, and this guide will teach you how to use these tools.

Audio CD vs. Data CD or DVD

An audio CD is based on time and can hold about 80 to 90 minutes of audio. A data CD is based on file size and supports about 700 to 800 MB of data.

An audio CD consists of tracks for listening to music, lectures, audiobooks, etc. An audio CD can play on most CD players.

A data CD can store files like Word documents, spreadsheets, videos, audio, or images. A data CD can only play on computers and other devices that support the file format you burn on the disc. For example, if you burn MP3 files to a data CD (MP3 CD), you can only play the MP3 CD on CD players that support the MP3 audio format. Most people use a data CD for transferring or backing up files, like a USB Flash Drive.

File Exlorer vs. Windows Media Player

Burning File Explorer Windows Media Player
Audio CD: Audio (MP3, WAV, FLAC, etc.)
Data CD: Audio (MP3)
Data CD: Documents (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.)
Data CD: Photos (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.)
Data DVD: Audio (MP3, WAV, FLAC, etc.)
Data DVD: Documents (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.)
Data DVD: Photos (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.)
Data DVD: Video (MP4, MKV, AVI, etc.)
DVD-Video: VIDEO_TS

File Explorer

Note: The CD or DVD you will burn using File Explorer can only play on computers, CD players, DVD players, and other devices that support the file format you burn on the disc – except when you burn VIDEO_TS files and folders to DVD because then it will create a Video DVD that can play on any DVD player. However, most modern CD and DVD players support various file formats.

Tips:

  • Place all the files or folders you want to burn to a CD or DVD in one folder and make sure that the total file size of that folder does not exceed the capacity of your CD (e.g., 700 MB) or DVD (e.g., 4.7 GB). To view the file size of a folder, right-click on the folder and then click on Properties
  • Burn audio files to a CD-R instead of a CD-RW (rewritable) because not all CD players can play rewritable CDs properly.

Steps

1. Insert a blank (empty) CD or DVD into the CD/DVD burner drive of your PC.

2. Open File Explorer.

Open Windows 11 File Explorer

3. Open the folder that contains the files you want to burn to CD or DVD.

4. Select all files. You can select all files at once by pressing the Ctrl + A keys on your keyboard. If you want to burn VIDEO_TS to DVD, select the VIDEO_TS folder.

Select photos

5. Click on the ⋯ (three-dots icon) located in the top menu of File Explorer.

6. Click on Burn to disc.

Burn to disc option in File Explorer

7. In the “Burn a Disc” window, you enter a name for your CD or DVD.

8. Select the With a CD/DVD player option.

9. Click on Next.

Burn a Disc window

10. File Explorer will now open the CD/DVD drive folder. Click on the ⋯ (three-dots icon) located in the top menu of File Explorer.

11. Click on Finish burning.

Finish burning option in Windows 11 File Explorer

12. In the “Burn to Disc” window, you can edit the title of your CD or DVD.

13. You can select a recording speed.

14. Click on Next located at the bottom of the window.

Burn to Disc window

File Explorer will now burn your CD or DVD.

Windows Media Player

Note: If you burn files to a data CD or DVD, you should know that the disc can only play on computers, CD players, DVD players, and other devices that support the file format you burn on the disc. However, most modern CD and DVD players support various file formats.

Tips:

  • If you're going to burn files to a data CD or DVD, then place all the files or folders you want to burn to a CD or DVD in one folder and make sure that the total file size of that folder does not exceed the capacity of your CD (e.g., 700 MB) or DVD (e.g., 4.7 GB). To view the file size of a folder, right-click on the folder and then click on Properties
  • Burn audio files to a CD-R instead of a CD-RW (rewritable) because not all CD players can play rewritable CDs properly.

Steps

1. Insert a blank (empty) CD or DVD into the CD/DVD burner drive of your PC.

2. Click on the Windows start menu button.

Windows 11 start menu button

3. Type wmp.

4. Click on Windows Media Player.

Open Windows Media Player in Windows 11

5. Click on the Burn tab located in the top right corner.

Windows Media Player Burn tab

6. Click on the Windows Media Player Burn options button (burn options) icon located under the Sync tab.

Windows Media Player Burn options

7. Select the Data CD or DVD option or select the Audio CD option.

Windows Media Player Burn options menu

8. Open File Explorer.

Open Windows 11 File Explorer

9. Open the folder that contains the files you want to burn to CD or DVD.

10. Place the File Explorer window and Windows Media Player window next to each other and make sure the windows are both visible. You can place windows next to each other by moving your mouse cursor (pointer) onto the maximize/restore icon (between the minimize - and close x icons) and then select a layout.

Select window layout

11. Drag your file or files to the burn list in Windows Media Player.

Drag files to the burn list in Windows Media Player

Note: The total file size (MB or GB) cannot exceed the capacity of your CD (e.g., 700 MB) or DVD (e.g., 4.7 GB).

Tip: You can view the time in minutes or file size in MB or GB you have left on your CD or DVD at _ MB free of _ MB (e.g., 450 MB free of 702 MB) or _ GB free of _ GB above the “Burn list”.

Space left on disc

12. You can arrange files in the precise order you want them to appear on your CD or DVD by dragging the files within the list.

13. To remove a file from the burn list, right-click on the file and then click on Remove from list.

14. Click on Burn list.

Name disc in Windows Media Player

15. Enter a new name for your CD or DVD.

Name disc in Windows Media Player

16. Press the Enter key on your keyboard.

17. Click on Start burn.

Start burn button in Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player will now burn your CD or DVD.