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How to Burn an Audio CD in Windows Media Player

The process of writing data to a CD is called burning. Rip and burn. Windows Media Player in Windows 8.1 enables you to burn a plain, old-fashioned, everyday audio CD very, very easily. Here’s the quickest way to put together a dynamite audio CD:

1

Stick a blank CD-R disc in your CD drive.

Assuming that you have a CD drive that’s capable of burning CDs and that this is the first time you’ve put a blank CD in your PC, Windows responds with a notification that says CD-RW Drive: Tap to Choose What Happens with Blank CDs. If you then tap or click the notification, you get a second notification.

2

Tap or click the Burn an Audio CD Using Windows Media Player icon.

Keep in mind that this is a “sticky” choice: The next time you insert a blank CD, Windows will assume that you want to burn an audio (not a data) CD and take you to the appropriate place in Windows Media Player.

Windows opens WMP and starts a burn list for you on the right.

3

Using any tricks you can muster (listing by artist or album, sorting, searching, pulling up an existing playlist — whatever), click and drag the tracks you want to burn and arrange them on the right in the burn list.

Keep an eye on the “free” number at the top of the list. WMP has been known to overestimate the available room on a CD, so it’s a good idea to leave a minute or two or three, unused, on the CD.

If you try to put too much music on a CD, WMP breaks out the burn list, with horizontal lines marking the current disc, the next disc, the next disc, and so on. When you burn a multidisc list, you just have to keep feeding CDs into the drive. Easy.

4

As a precaution, if you just created a unique playlist, save it by clicking the name Burn List at the top of the playlist on the right and typing a new name.

The saved playlist can come in handy if a problem crops up with the burn that you don’t find out about for a day or two or three. You can select your saved playlist rather than redo the working of choosing and arranging the tracks just the way you want them.

5

Before you burn, double-check the burn options so that you don’t, uh, get burned.

Press the Alt key and then choose Organize→Options and then click the Burn tab.

6

Set up the burn the way you want it.

When you’re happy with your choices, click the OK button.

WMP goes back to the main Burn window.

7

Click the Start Burn button at the top of the burn list.

WMP processes each track in turn, converting it from a music file into data that’s required on an audio CD and, when it’s done converting, writing each one to the CD.

It’s truly that simple. When WMP is done, pull the CD out of the CD burner and plop the CD into any CD player. The magic’s the music.

The copying process takes, oh, a third to a fifth of the time it would take to play the copied tracks, the exact time depending on the speed of your CD writer.

If you interrupt the writing process by clicking the Stop Burn button or by removing the CD from the writer before the burn is complete, WMP goes bananas, and the whole process stops. A fried CD-R ain’t good for anything but a coaster.

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