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How To Burn A Music CD In Windows 10 And 11.

Burning music CDs isn’t as popular as it once was, but there is still something about creating your own audio CD to play in the car or on your HiFi system.

To burn an audio CD in Windows 10 & 11, you can use Windows Media Player (Legacy). You really don’t have to download or install anything else.

You’ll need to have a few blank CDs and of course a CD/DVD burner. If your computer doesn’t have a built in burner, then you can use one of the external USB drives. They work just as well and have the advantage of being portable.

Most versions of Windows 10 & 11 have Windows Media Player (legacy) pre-installed, but if you find that it’s missing from your computer click here How To Install Windows Media Player On Windows 10 And 11.

How To Burn A Music CD.

To burn music onto a CD, load a blank disc into your CD/DVD drive. Ignore any pop-up windows and close File Explorer if it opens.

Click the Start button and then type “windows media player”.

For Windows 10 users, click Windows Media Player (App).

Windows 11 users should click Windows Media Player (legacy).

How to burn an audio CD in Windows 10.
Opening Windows Media Player in Windows 10.
How to burn an audio CD in Windows 11.
Opening Windows Media Player in Windows 11.

Windows Media Player (Legacy) & The New Media Player App.

The new Media Player app doesn’t burn songs onto CDs, for CD burning in Windows 10 & 11 you’ll need the original Windows Media Player.

Windows ships with two media player programs installed and it’s very easy to get them confused because they have almost identical names.

There’s the original Windows Media Player, which is the one you want, and then there’s the “new” Media Player app.

Hats off to Microsoft for keeping things clear.

How to burn an audio CD.
Easy when you know.

If this is the very first time that you’ve used Windows Media Player (WMP), then you’ll be greeted with the set-up screen.

Select the Recommended Settings and click the Next button.

Windows Media Player setup screen. Recommended settings and the Finish button are both indicated.
Click Recommended Settings and then click Finish.

Burning Audio CDs With Windows Media Player (Legacy).

When WMP runs for the very first time, it’ll scan your Music folder looking for audio files. If you’ve got a large collection of music then it may take some time for Media Player to find and load all of it.

When Windows Media Player opens, it’ll usually display all your music (audio files).

If it doesn’t, click the Music tab in the left-hand panel.

Making a music CD in Windows Media Player.
Click the Music tab to display all your audio files.

If Not All Your Music Is Being Shown.

Windows Media Player scans your Music folder for audio files. If you’ve got music tracks stored in a different folder (the Downloads folder for instance) then WMP probably won’t find it. If that’s the case, click here How To Use Windows Media Player

Check And Change Windows Media Player Burn Settings.

Windows Media Player can burn music CDs either as CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio) or as MP3.

All standalone CD players, such as in your car or HiFi system, will be able to play music CDs burned as CDDA. But not all of them will accept MP3 audio CDs.

Before you begin burning your music to CD, you need to check which type of CD Windows Media Player is set to burn.

Left-click the Burn tab on the right-hand side of the window. Then click the Burn Options button. The Burn options button is tiny, but it is there.

On the Burn Options menu, make sure Audio CD is selected. If it isn’t, left-click on it.

Windows Media Player burn tab and burn options button indicated.
Click the Burn tab first, then click the Burn Options button.
Burn audio CD option selected.
Select Audio CD on the Burn Options menu if it isn’t already.

You’re Audio Files Are MP3 Format.

In case you’re wandering it doesn’t matter if your music is currently in the MP3 format. WMP will convert it to CDDA during the burn process.

Adding Music To Your Burn List.

To burn your music to a CD, you’ll need to create what’s known as a “Burn List”. The burn list is simply the a list of the songs that you want added to the audio CD you’re creating.

Drag and drop each track in turn onto the Burn List.

To drag and drop, put your pointer onto a track, hold down the left mouse button, and then move your pointer onto the burn list.

You’ll see that the music track will move with your pointer. Release the mouse button to drop the track onto the list.

How to burn an audio CD.
Drag and drop music tracks onto the burn list.

You can speed things along by selecting multiple tracks at the same time.

Hold down the CTRL (Control) key on your keyboard, then single left-click on the different tracks that you want to add to your CD.

You’ll see that they will all become selected.

Once you’ve finished selecting, simply drag any one of them to the burn list and you’ll see all of them will follow.

Adding multiple tracks to the Burn List in Windows Media Player.
To Select multiple tracks, hold down the CTRL key and left-click on the tracks.

Selecting Multiple Files At The Same Time.

If you’re unfamiliar with selecting lots of files at the same time click here How To Select Multiple Files In Windows

Blank CD Capacity

As you add more songs to be burned to the CD, keep an eye on how much space is left. Blank CDs have a capacity of around 700 MB. That’s just about 80 minutes worth of music formatted as CDDA.

Windows Media Player will show you the remaining CD-R capacity just above the burn list.

It’s displayed in minutes rather than megabytes.

Although you could fill the disc entirely, generally I’d recommend leaving a few minutes spare.

Something between 2 to 5 minutes. You’ll get better, more reliable results by leaving a little empty space on the disc.

CD capacity indicator marked in WMP.
Don’t fill your CD to the brim. Leave a little empty space.

You’re Ready To Burn Your Audio CD..

When you’ve added all the music that you want, you’re ready to begin burning your audio CD. Click the Start Burn button (which is just above the burn list).

As Windows burns your music to the CD, you’ll see a progress indicator appear.

Burning an audio CD in Windows 11.
Ready to go, click the Start Burn button.
Burning an audio CD in Windows 10.
Windows Media Player will display the burn progress.

Summary.

If you’ve got a CD/DVD burner on your computer and a few blank CDs lying around, creating your own music CDs is great fun. They can be played in most HiFi CD players or in the car.

And, unlike a lot of other things that we do on our home computers, you finish with something that you can actually hold in your hand. Something tangible. Love it.

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