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How To Burn A Data CD Or DVD In Windows 10 And 11.

Backing up data to a blank CD or DVD was the number one way of archiving files at home. With the rise of the ubiquitous USB flash drive, burning data to CDs and DVDs has taken a back seat. Indeed, many new computers (in particular laptops) are sold without any sort of optical drive.

However, optical storage still has its uses and both Windows 10 and Windows 11 have the capability to burn discs, so you don’t even need to install any other software.

In Windows 10 & 11, you can use File Explorer to add and burn data to blank CDs and DVDs.

Quick note, we’re talking about burning data here, if you were looking to create an audio CD then click here How To Burn A Music CD In Windows 10 And 11.

How To Burn A Data Disc Using File Explorer.

To burn a data CD or DVD using File Explorer, insert your blank disc into your drive. Windows should detect that you’ve loaded a blank disc and open the “Burn a Disc” window.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a blank CD or blank DVD, Windows will automatically detect which one you’ve loaded into your burner.

In the “Burn a Disc” window you can add a title for your disc in the Disc Title box but you don’t have to.

Select the second option, “With a CD/DVD player” and then click the Next button.

After clicking the Next button, the disc will open in File Explorer.

Don’t be tempted to use the first option “Like a USB Flash Drive”. It doesn’t work that well, it’s unreliable. If you need this option, then use a real flash drive How To Copy Files Or Folders To A USB Flash Drive.

Disc title added and "With a CD/DVD player" selected.
Add a title (optional) for your disc, then choose “With a CD/DVD player”.

The Burn A Disc Window Didn’t Appear.

Inserting a blank disc should prompt Windows to open the Burn a Disc pop-up, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. In that case, open File Explorer (Windows key and the letter E on your keyboard) and then double left-click on your CD/DVD burner drive. That’ll kick Windows into gear and get it to open the window.

Adding Data To The Disc.

You can add data to be burned to the disc simply by dragging and dropping your files and folders onto the open explorer window.

A file is being dragged from the desktop onto the open burner window.
You can add files to be burned by dragging them onto the CD/DVD burner window in File Explorer.

Or You Could Use The Send To Command.

Alternatively, you can use the Send To option from the right-click context menu.

  1. Navigate to the file or folder you want to burn to the CD/DVD.
  2. Right-click on it to open the options menu.
  3. On the options menu, hover your mouse pointer over Send To.
  4. Left-click on your CD/DVD burner.

In Windows 11, to find the Send To, you have to click “Show More Options” which is at the bottom of the options menu.

Show more options is marked in Windows 11.
In Windows 11, click Show More Options.
CD/DVD writer indicated on the Send To menu.
Send your files/folders to your CD/DVD burner.

Burn The Disc.

When you’ve finished adding the files and folders that you want to write to the disc, return to File Explorer.

Right-click on your CD/DVD burner and then left-click Burn To Disc.

Again if you’re using Windows 11, you’ll need to click Show More Options first.

Then you’ll see the burn to disc confirmation window.

Burn to disc highlighted on context menu in Windows 11.
Burn to disc.

Then you’ll see the burn-to-disc confirmation window. You can change the disc title if you wish and also change the burn speed. Click the Next button when you’re ready to start writing your data to the CD/DVD.

The next button is indicated.
To start the burn, click the Next button.
Data writing progress indicator.
The burn progress window will open.


Burning data to optical discs isn’t something that you’ll do as often these days as you might have done back in the day, but it is still useful to know how to do it.

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