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Burn a CD or DVD

To burn a cd or dvd is a simple process. You'll want to burn backups of your important work. Be sure to also burn backups of any applications or fonts or other files that you download straight from the Internet.

The steps below describe how to burn data files (as opposed to music or movies) onto a disc. A cd holds about 650 megabytes; a dvd holds about 4.3 gigabytes, even though the package might tell you it holds 4.7. (To burn a music cd from iTunes, please see page 108.)

To burn a disc, of course, you must have a computer with a built-in drive that is capable of doing this! You can buy an external cd or dvd burner, but you won't be able to use the process below to burn the discs; you'll need other software, such as Roxio Toast.

To burn a CD or DVD

  1. Insert a blank cd-r (do not use the cd+r discs!) or a blank dvd-r (the latest models of SuperDrives can burn the dvd+r or dvd+rw discs).
  2. A message pops up asking what action you want to take. The option to “Open Finder” will let you do anything. Click ok.
  3. You can name the cd at this point. Select the cd, then click on its current label, “Untitled.” Type the new name.
  4. Drag the files from the Finder to the disc and drop them right onto the disc. You can drag as many individual files as you want—the Mac will tell you when the disc is full.

    This does not burn the files onto the disc! At this point, you are merely telling your Mac which files you are going to burn. You will see the files copy to the disc.

    Using Apple's built-in software, you will not be able to add more data to a disc once you've burned it, so be sure to drag everything you want onto the disc at this point.

  5. When you're ready to burn, do one of these things:


    This is the Burn icon.


    Drag the disc towards the Trash. As you drag, you'll notice the Trash icon turns into the Burn icon. Drop the disc onto this icon and let go.


    Control-click on the disc to get the contextual menu. Choose “Burn Disc.”


    In the top portion of the Sidebar, you'll see the newly named disc. To its right is a Burn icon. Click that.


    Click once on the disc to select it. From the File menu, choose “Burn Disc.”

  6. You'll get a message asking to confirm the process. Click “Burn.” It can take several minutes.
  7. After the burning process is complete, double-click the disc icon to make sure the data you want is on the disc. Then you can eject the disc (drag it to the Trash, or Control-click on it and choose “Eject Disc”).
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