Cloud storage may be more popular, cheap and accessible than ever, and portable USB drives still have their place, but there's a lot to be said for optical storage like DVDs too. If you want to back up data, it makes sense to have a physical copy as well as one stored in the cloud, for instance, and customized DVDs filled with video footage and photo slideshows make great gift after a wedding or other special event. That's why you need DVD burning software.
As with so many types of software, burning tools can be on the expensive side — but this doesn’t need to be the case. There are some great free DVD burners around, and we've rounded up the very best so you can choose the one that's right for you. If you want create a video DVD, for example, you can install a program dedicated to that task, whereas others are better suited to disk images.
If you want a free DVD burner for creating video DVDs, WinX DVD Author is the tool for you. It can be used to transform just about any video file (MKV, MP4, FLV, MPEG, MOV, RM, RMVB, H.264, AVI) into a disc that you can use in a regular DVD player, complete with interactive menus.
You can add multiple videos to a disc, the program will help you to create menus, and you can also trim videos if you only want to include a snippet from them. If you want to make more substantial changes before burning your DVD, check out our guide to the best free video editing software.
There are customizable menu templates to choose from, and you can even add background music. Support for subtitles is a very nice touch, and you can also convert videos into VOB files, or burn existing VOBs to a DVD.
On top of all this, there's a standard DVD burning component that you can use to back up data of any description, although this is very much a no-frills part of the program. If you want a free DVD burning program specifically backing up your important files, read on for more options.
Download here: WinX DVD Author
With support for data and audio CDs, data DVDs, and ISO burning and creation, just about the only thing missing from Burn4Free DVD Copy is the option to create video DVDs.
This free DVD burning software looks a little basic, and you have to watch out for menu items and toolbar buttons that link to paid-for extras. All of the basics are covered though, so if you're looking for a simple everyday free DVD burning program, this could well meet your needs.
While the software itself is great, the same can't be said of the installer. Burn4Free uses a download manager that offers to install extra software you might not want. You can opt out by hitting the Decline button, so watch out for it.
You'll also be invited to install trial versions of other software from the same company, but only the main Burn4Free DVD Copy program is free.
Download here: Burn4Free DVD Copy
CDBurnerXP has been around for a very long time – as you can tell from its name – and the reason it's endured for so long is that it does its job so well. It looks very simple at first glance, but looks can be deceiving.
This free DVD burning software lets you create a range of discs, including audio CD, MP3 CD, data DVD, video DVD (albeit from existing VIDEO-TS folders). It can also work with disc images, and create direct copies of existing CDs and DVDs.
Whichever option you choose, you'll find the interface is simple to use, support drags and drop, and needs little explanation. CDBurnerXP just gets the job done.
When downloading the software, make sure you're not tricked into installing an unnecessary browser extension. There's also a bundled copy of the Opera web browser, but you're given enough warning to opt out if you're not interested.
Download here: CDBurnerXP
BurnAware Free is described as "full-fledged, easy-to-use burning software", and that's a pretty neat summary. This free DVD burner has a huge number of features to offer, and manages to rival paid-for alternatives in many ways.
In addition to CDs and DVDs, BurnAware Free supports Blu-ray burning, and if you're looking to use it for backup purposes, you'll be pleased to hear that it can span burns across multiple discs if necessary. You can create and burn disk images too, and any task you undertake is wonderfully fast.
The interface is clean, clear, and a joy to work with, and it’s so simple to use it serves as a great introduction to the world of disc burning for even the most nervous novice.
There's (optional) Byte Fence adware bundled into the installer, so watch out for that, but apart from that it's hard not to recommend this free DVD burning software.
Download here: BurnAware Free
Perhaps the closest thing to a free version of Nero and software of that ilk – at least in terms of looks – DeepBurner Free demands more than a cursory glance.
This is a free version of a premium program, so there are inevitably a few limitations to persuade you to upgrade. Opting for the free version basically means you're limited to creating audio, data or bootable CDs and DVDs, or working with image files. There are no fancy extras, and the interface has something of a utilitarian feel. It's a shame there isn’t the option to create photo or video discs, but you might not need these options.
There's also a portable version of the program available, which is ideal for popping onto a USB stick. You never know when it might come in handy!
Download here: DeepBurner Free