How to Burn an Audio CD in Windows Vista and Windows 7

In this article, you will learn how to burn an audio CD in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Burning a CD in Windows Media Player

Burning a CD in Windows Media Player

How you burn a disc in Windows will depend on what you are trying to accomplish.  There are two types of CDs you can burn – a data CD and an audio CD.  A data CD is simply a collection of files stored on a CD as it would be stored on any other removable media.  Those files can be access with any computer with a compatible CD reader.

The other type of disk you might want to burn is an Audio CD.  An Audio CD is the traditional “music” CD that can be played on any CD audio device that plays CDs.  For example, an Audio CD can be played on your car stereo – except in rare cases, you can’t do that with a data CD. These steps focus on how to burn an Audio CD so you can listen to it anywhere.

While it’s not as important to know what Windows is doing when it burns a CD as it is to know how to do it, I’ll briefly explain.  As you burn an audio CD, Windows Media Player makes temporary copies of the data files containing the audio to a temporary location – it then converts them into an audio format (specifically PCM, or Pulse Code Modulated) and saves that audio format to disc.

That’s the background.  Here’s how to burn the Audio CD. Open Windows Media Player on your computer.  You can do that by either navigating to it through your Start menu or by typing wmplayer and pressing enter When Windows Medial Player opens, click on the burn tab.  The default choice for the type of CD should be Audio CD – make sure that is selected.  If it isn’t select it.

Selecting the "Audio CD" burn option
Selecting the “Audio CD” burn option


Insert a blank CD-R disc into your CD burner.

If the AutoPlay dialog box appears, close it.  This may appear to ask you what you want to do when the disc is inserted, but we already know what we want to do.

In rare cases you might have more than one CD Writer.  If that’s the case, you can use the current drive or click on “next drive” to go to the second drive.

If you have a previously created burn list and you don’t want to use it, click the clear list (red X) button to remove all previous items.  This will start you with a clean list.

Find the items in your library that you want to copy to the audio CD.  The way you do this will depend on how you have your files organized.  They may be under your Music library folder, but if you have copied them from another device to a specific location, go to that location.  You can also search for songs if you aren’t sure where they are.  Once you locate the songs you want to burn, navigate to that folder.

To create a burn list, drag items from the Details pane (the pane in the middle of the library) to the List pane (the pane on the right side of the library).


Dragging items from the library to a burn list
Dragging items from the library to a burn list

If you want to change the order of the songs in the burn list, drag a song up or down in the list.

Dragging an item to a lower position in a burn list
Dragging an item to a lower position in a burn list

If you want to remove a song from the burn list, right-click the song, and then click Remove from List.

NOTE: removing a song from the burn list doesn’t delete it from your library or computer.  It only removes it from the list of songs that will be burned to the CD.

Removing an item from a burn list
Removing an item from a burn list


When you’re satisfied with the list, click Start Burn.

Burning a disc might take several minutes to complete.

If you have more songs in your burn list than will fit on one audio CD, you’ll have the option to burn the remaining items to a second blank CD.