How to Burn a CD in Windows XP

Writing, or burning, a CD is a simple task to complete when using the Windows XP operating system. By following a few easy steps, a user can transfer a variety of computer files to a portable compact disc. After following this guide, you, too, will be able to take all of your music, documents, and other computer files with you on the go.

Choosing the Correct Compact Disc

Not every compact disc can be used to transfer computer files. Try putting your favorite music CD into the CD drive and you will most likely be able to hear songs by your favorite artist, but you won't be able to write new files onto the disc. Choose a CD-R or a CD-RW to use when attempting to save computer files. CD-R discs may only be written on once, while CD-RW discs may be erased and rewritten multiple times. Once you have selected the proper compact disc, the next step is to insert it into the computer.

Inserting the Compact Disc

Locate the CD-ROM drive on your computer tower. This should appear as a small, rectangular door on the front side of the computer. Press the eject button to open the door, and a small tray should pop out. Insert the disc into the tray and press the eject button again to close the door.

The computer should begin to scan the disc automatically upon inserting it. You may hear the computer make some ticking sounds or hear the disc start to spin. Once the computer reads the disc, a small window should appear on the computer monitor labeled "AutoPlay." Select the option "Open Folder to View Files Using Windows Explorer." This will open another window showing you the files currently on the compact disc. If this is the first time the disc has been used, the window should be empty.

Locating Files to Write to the Compact Disc

Click the "Start" button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. When the menu pops up, select "My Computer" to open a window showing all of the files located on the computer. Common locations within "My Computer" for files to be written onto discs include "Downloads" and "My Documents." Once you have located the files to be written, it's time to transfer them onto the disc.

Transferring Files to the Disc

There are a variety of ways to select the files you wish to transfer. First, files can be transferred one at a time. Using the right button on your mouse, hover over the desired file and click. A menu should appear with options to take. Select "Copy." Next, open the window showing the files currently on the disc. (The window should have an identifier along the taskbar at the bottom of the screen.) Select a place within the open window and right-click the mouse again. Once again, a menu should appear. Select "Paste." You may also choose to use keyboard shortcuts to complete the copy and paste functions.

To save time, you can also hold the CTRL (Control) button while clicking the desired files to select multiple files at once. Then, using the same copy-and-paste method, transfer the files to the window corresponding to the writable disc.

Writing the Files to the Disc

Once you have finished selecting files and transferring them to the compact disc window, click "File" in the top-left corner of the window. A menu will appear with multiple action items. Select the option "Write These Files to the CD." A window will appear giving prompts on writing the files to the disc. Follow the prompts and the computer will begin writing the files to the disc. After finishing, the computer will notify you that the files have all been written to the disc. Click "Finish."

Using Your Written Disc

To use the files, the disc can be inserted into any computer's CD-ROM drive, and the "AutoPlay" window will appear. Clicking "Open Folder to View Files Using Windows Explorer" will once again open the disc window, but this time, the written files should appear. Also, if you have chosen to write music files to the disc, many modern CD players will play the CD as it would any other.