Burning Data to CD or DVD

by on August 6, 2007

Q: I want to transfer documents from my old laptop running Windows XP to my new desktop running Windows Vista. How do I do this via removable disc?

A: One of the easiest ways to transfer your documents from one PC to another is by burning a backup of your data to a Recordable CD or DVD. Once you have made a backup, restoring the information to your new PC is as easy as inserting the disc and copying the files on it to your new PC.

In order for you to burn data to a CD or DVD, your optical drive has to be enabled for Recording. To do this in Windows XP, double click on My Computer, then right-click on your optical drive and select Properties. Click on the Recording tab and click the check box next to Enable CD recording on this drive, then click OK.

If your old laptop has a CD or DVD recorder built-in, you need to install a software package that allows you to burn data to blank CD or DVD media. Most CD/DVD recorders ship with software packages like Nero that allows you to easily organize and burn data to a CD or DVD. If the software is not installed consult the documentation and media that shipped with your laptop and install the software they provided. If you do not have a CD/DVD burning software package then Windows XP will allow you to burn backups of your data to CD or DVD. For specific information on burning your data to CD or DVD with your existing software consult the documentation provided by the software manufacturer.

Before you begin make sure that you have enough blank CDs or DVDs to accommodate all of the data you would like to back up. CDs generally hold around 700MB of data, while a standard DVD can hold up to 4.7GB of data. If you have a dual-layer burner you can use dual-layer media which can hold over 9GB of data per disc but tends to be much more expensive than regular (single layer) DVD media. Purchase extra media because sometimes media ships with flaws, which can create bad copies of your data and sometimes the software can create bad copies of your data due to hardware or software and operating system issues.

Once your software is installed and you have enough of the correct type of media for your needs, organize your data and burn it to CD or DVD. When you are done, you can place the media into the optical drive of your new Desktop and copy the data to folders you have dedicated on that PC. Once you have verified that all of your data has been copied over and is healthy, you can keep the CD or DVD you have burned as an archive, especially if you don’t plan on continuing to use your laptop.