Do More with Less: CDBurnerXP Pro offers a free solution

Find out how to download and use this free tool to burn CDs in XP.

After upgrading your desktop to Windows XP, you may find that your CD burning software no longer works and you need to buy a new version. While CD burning software isn't that expensive, if you've just purchased Windows XP, you might not be happy to shell out the extra cash. But if you need a simple CD burning software package and you want it for free, you can use the CDBurnerXP Pro freeware utility.

CDBurner XP Pro
CDBurnerXP Pro is available for download from the author's product Web site. While not as full featured as some commercial CD burning software, CDBurnerXP Pro is more than capable of handling typical CD burning tasks.

CDBurnerXP Pro works with most CD burners featuring IDE, SCSI, USB, and FireWire interfaces. The program has been tested under Windows Me, 2000, and XP, but the author indicates that it should work with no problems under Windows 98 and NT as well. Among its features are the ability to write to an ISO image; burn a CD from an ISO image; write using high-speed drives; erase and rewrite CDRWs; rip audio CDs to MP3, Ogg, WAV, and Windows Media files; and create a music CD from WAV files.

Obtaining and installing the software
The installer for CDBurnerXP Pro can be downloaded as a single executable called Setup.exe from the Download section of the Web site. As of this writing, version 1.1.8 is the latest available. The author has also indicated that this will be the last version available before a complete rewrite of the program. Version 2.0 is currently in beta.

The installation is very straightforward and only involves clicking Next a few times during the Setup wizard, assuming you want to accept the default values. By default, the program is installed to \Program Files\CDBurnerXP Pro.

Getting started
After installation, start the program by going to Start | (All) Programs | CDBurnerXP Pro | CDBurnerXP Pro. This will bring up a window similar to the one shown in Figure A below.

Figure A
The CDBurnerXP Pro window

Create a new data CD compilation
To create a new CD, choose File | New, or click the New icon on the menu bar. This will bring up the screen shown in Figure B, which asks if you want a new data CD or a new audio CD. For this example, I will create a new data CD. Make your selection and click Continue.

Figure B
You can create audio or data CDs.

You then will see a window that shows two panes. The left pane is labeled ISO Image and contains the default volume name for the CD you're burning. The window on the right is your local file system.

To add files and folders to the compilation, click and drag them from the right-hand window to the ISO Image window. Dragging folders to the ISO Image window places them directly underneath the CD-R volume identifier, while dragging individual files places them in the file details portion of the pane, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C
Add files and folders to the data CD compilation by dragging them from the right pane to the left pane.

Once you've added all the files you need to the ISO Image window, you can either save the image as an ISO file or burn the CD. To save as an ISO file, click the Save Image As ISO File button on the toolbar, choose File | Save Image As ISO File, or press [F12]. You will be asked for a file name under which you would like to save the image.

To burn the CD, choose the Write Disc button on the toolbar or select File | Write Disc. CDBurner XP will then display the Write Disc screen shown in Figure D.

Figure D
The Write Disc dialog box

If you want to test the writing of the disc without actually writing, select Test Write and then click the button marked Test Write. When the test is successful, select Write Disc and click the Write button. When writing is completed, you will receive confirmation that the CD was written and it will be ejected.

Writing a CD from an ISO file
If you're installing Linux from downloaded files or if you keep backup copies of your CDs stored in ISO format, you'll eventually need to burn that image to a CD. CDBurnerXP Pro can do this for you as well. Start the program and choose File | Write Disc From ISO File. Next, select the ISO file that you wish to use as the source and click Open. Once an ISO file is selected, you will be presented with options for burning the ISO image, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E
Burn ISO image to CD options

Once you make your burn selections, the image will be burned to the CD while you view the status window.

Sometimes you get more than what you pay for
Considering its price—free—CDBurnerXP Pro is a very useful utility. With the ability to burn both data and audio CDs as well as ISO images, it contains more features than the Windows XP burning features. If you've upgraded to Windows XP, but had to abandon the software that came with your burner, then CDBurnerXP Pro may be your best replacement option.

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