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Burning Your Own CDs

By Hewlett Packard

Perhaps you've discovered the joys of downloading MP3 files to your computer, but are looking for a way to carry your great music collection with you. Or it could be that your digital photos are beginning to take up way too much space on your hard drive. Maybe you're just looking for an alternative to the numerous floppy disks it takes to completely backup your computer files.

CD burners and CD-R/CD-RW discs

Whatever your reason, you may be considering adding a CD burner to your computer system. Called "burners" because they use a laser to burn data onto a compact disc, CD–ReWritable drives (CD–RW) are quickly becoming the favored means for saving large collections of files that can be easily shared from computer to computer.

The primary difference between CD–R and CD–RW discs is that the former only allows you to record music files once, while the latter lets you record and re–record as often as desired. However, some older CD–ROM drives and most audio CD players will not play CD–RW discs, so think about what you intend to use your drive for before you buy.

Here are some instructions for carrying out some of the most common tasks with your CD burner.

MP3 collection

In order to write MP3 music files to a CD, they must first be converted to WAV format. You can use almost any MP3 player or CD writing software to decode your MP3 files into WAV files. We will go through the steps of converting MP3 files to WAV files using Music Match Jukebox (bundled with any HP computer) and then burning the converted files to your own CD.

  1. Start Music Match Jukebox, click the "Options" tab at the top and select "convert" from the file menu.
  2. From "Source Data Type" at the bottom/left of the conversion screen, specify the format of the files you wish to convert. In this case choose MP3.
  3. From "Source Directory" at the top/left of the screen, browse for the location of the source file. Select the file(s) you would like to convert from "Highlight Files to Convert" in the middle/left, by clicking on it. You may select all files in the directory by choosing "Select All" at the bottom left.
  4. Determine what directory the converted file will be saved to from "Destination Directory" at the top/right.
  5. Click the "Start" button. A converting file dialog will be seen allowing you to view the conversion progress. The newly created MP3 file(s) can be seen in the "Converted File Names" window on the middle/right.
  6. Use the Auto DJ function to create a playlist of the converted music files you want on the CD, or drag and drop each song into the playlist window. The playlist should not exceed 74 minutes, or it won't fit on the blank CD.
  7. Click on the CD–R button in the top corner of the playlist window, then select which type of CD (audio or data) you want to burn. An audio CD can be played in any CD player (including your CD–ROM), and a data CD can only be played on your computer (but holds up to 10 times more music).
  8. Put a blank CD in your CD–RW drive and click "Create CD" in the lower left corner of the menu box. The software will take care of the rest.
Some of the newer software does not require this conversion process.

Back up your hard drive

There are different software programs that are designed for backing up information. One such product is Simple Backup, which is a Windows® based backup software that allows you to use your HP CD–Writer to create backups of your computer's files and then restore those files to almost any computer equipped with a CD reader (yours or anyone else's). This type of software can provide one or all of the following features:

  • Full System Backup
  • Custom Backup
  • Complete System Restore
  • Custom Restore

Digital photo archive

Making and viewing photos from photo CDs is a snap. Almost all film developers can save your regular photos to a CD. Also, many Internet vendors, such as Photoworks, will convert your roll of film into a digital format to be viewed on the web or saved on a CD. Pictures stored on a CD can be displayed on most computers. Simply insert the CD into the CD–ROM drive of your computer and click on the CD drive to access your photos.

The CD process with a digital camera is even easier. Save the images to your computer hard drive and then use CD–writing software, such as Adaptec's Easy CD Creator, to write them to a CD. That CD can then be shared with others or used as a digital photo album. Prints can also be made from your photo CD by any film developer.


Hewlett Packard, © 2002.


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