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How to Copy Files from Hard Drive to DVD-RW Drive?

This may be a stupid question, but please bear with me, I'm a newbie.  I have a DVD-RW drive on my PC, and I don't know how to archive files (i.e. my Quicken & Outlook data).  I have spent a while looking for the answer online, but I only seem to get back instructions on how to copy video files.  Thanks.

poor newbie
Saturday, January 10, 2004


Saturday, January 10, 2004

Usually there is application software supplied with CD-R and DVD-R drives that you must install, which allows you to create CDs or DVDs with the drive. Generally, you tell the software what kind of CD or DVD you want to make (video DVD, audio CD, data CD) and then you drag and drop files into the software from your hard drive. Lastly when you've assembled all the files you want to record, there is a "burn" command.

If you didn't get software with your DVD drive, Nero is pretty good: - It will cost about $50 US.

If you can't handle these instructions, you probably need more fundamental help with computer usage and you shouldn't bother with recording DVDs just yet...

Bored Bystander
Saturday, January 10, 2004

If you're using Windows XP you simply drag and drop the files onto a blank CD-R/CD-RW as it has CD-burning software built in.

Duncan Smart
Saturday, January 10, 2004

+1 for Nero. I've used both Nero and EZ CD Creator, and I like Nero a lot better. Of course, I also picked up Nero Ultra, which came with a nice 5.1-channel DVD player, too. ;)

Brad Wilson (
Saturday, January 10, 2004

"If you're using Windows XP you simply drag and drop the files onto a blank CD-R/CD-RW as it has CD-burning software built in."

Hi Duncan Smart,
I have Win XP, but as soon as I try to explore my DVD drive or copy to, I get  a message to "insert disk".  Am I doing something wrong?

Bored Bystander & Brad Wilson, I tried Nero and it seems cool.  I'd rather not have to pay the fifty bucks, though, if the software is built into XP.  I might buy it anyway though, because it does so much stuff with video & audio.  Thanks.

poor newbie
Saturday, January 10, 2004

You have inserted a disk, right? 8-}

On a more serious note, are you certain that your drive was installed properly? If you had it installed by a company, it almost certainly is, but doing it yourself sometimes can be trouble for some people (because if it doesn't work you may have to troubleshoot both software and hardware problems).

Always check the silly little things like these, first :) It's amazing how often some problems are just loose power cables, etc.

Mike Swieton
Saturday, January 10, 2004

What Mike said. Can you read DVDs and CDs from this drive?

When your system starts up: if you know what the BIOS settings mean that are displayed at startup, look to see if a reasonable device name is displayed for your DVD drive. It's one of the first screens you see before Windows tries to start. If you don't see a name for your drive in the BIOS, chances are the drive is not responding.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, January 10, 2004

When using XP, if I look in Windows Explorer, it tells me what the drive types are:

Local Disk (C:)
Local Disk (D:)
DVD Drive (E:)
CD-RW Drive (F:)

If the descriptions of your optical drives don't properly align with the drive type, then I wouldn't expect XP's built-in burning service to work.

Also, it's worth noting that I believe the built-in burning service supports CDs only, not DVDs, but I'm not positive on that one.

Brad Wilson (
Saturday, January 10, 2004

To burn data (not music, etc.) to a CD/DVD, you first need to format it. Right-click on the drive, hit Format, hit whatever OK buttons pop up, and it will quickly prepare the disc. *Then* drag-and-drop. Anyone who bought burning software after upgrading to XP missed the boat.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The hardware seems to be installed fine.  I can read data DVDs & CDs, as well as music CDs and DVD videos.  I've also written a data DVD using the trial version of Nero.

BTW, the drive came factory-installed.

Blank suggested:
"Right-click on the drive, hit Format"

This sounds reasonable, but when I right-click, no 'Format' option appears.


poor newbie
Sunday, January 11, 2004

You don't need to format the disc for burning to recordable discs. Only re-writeable discs require formatting, and there is no built-in re-writing support in XP that I'm aware of.

Besides, there's plenty of reason to buy burning software, even if you're using XP. The little functionality that's in XP offers almost no options. Data is always multi-session, discs are always left open, and burning a music CD requires using Media Player an formats that it understands.

That doesn't even count the things there are no facility for at all (copying discs, creating and mounting ISO images, etc.).

Brad Wilson (
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Windows XP doesn't support DVD burning out of the box. That's one of the things that's coming in Longhorn.

John Topley (
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Well I am sure some OS supports it out of the box, but according to my friend you can just install the relevant drivers and Nero. Nero will let you create such an data disc easily.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, January 12, 2004

Are you using DVD-RW media? 
There is packet writing software that enables you to us your CD-RW as a drive (on the fly).  You need the software installed to read the disk, or you close (finalize?) the disk and then others can use it.

Not sure if this exists for dvd-rw or not

Monday, January 12, 2004

I found a free program called "Simply Safe Backup 2004 (Free Version)" at

It allows you to backup files directly to DVD-Rs.  It actually creates an archive (with compression and optional encryption).  So you cannot simply surf the disc later to see the individual files you copied.  Instead you will see a single archive file.  You would have to restore that archive file back onto your hard drive in order to see the individual files.  Techincally you can surf the folders within the archive and select individual files to restore.  So it is not "all-or-nothing".

It has lots of nice features and seems useful to backup family photos.  It will even split the archive across multiple discs automatically.  With the compression I was able to fit all my 2003 photos (7 GB) unto a single DVD-R.

I got errors when using DVD-RW discs, but it works great with DVD-R discs.

Does anybody know how to get Win XP to treat DVD-Rs the same as CD-Rs (i.e. the same click-and-drag convenience)?  Using archive files in not ideal.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

*****I have Win XP, but as soon as I try to explore my DVD drive or copy to, I get  a message to "insert disk".  Am I doing something wrong? *****

Some of the newer writable dvd's are not compatable with certain types of drives.
This happened to me and I went to the drive manufactures site and downloaded firmware which fixed the problem

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Once again, Microsoft XP (Home and Pro) does not support writing to DVD+/-RW and DVD+/-R.

When "Longhorn" comes out it will have native writing capabliities.

Craig Pekar
Thursday, April 22, 2004

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