Windows 7 : Burning Your Pictures to CD or DVD

8/7/2012 3:54:43 PM
There are times where you might think, “Having pictures on the computer is great, and I really like the printed photographs, but how can I keep my pictures in a more permanent format?” If you have a CD-RW or DVD-RW drive in your computer (most modern computers come with one by default), Windows 7 can help you create a photo disc so that you can keep your digital masterpieces safe from the hands of time, or the destructive power of the next big Internet worm.

The integration of Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Explorer as the Windows Libraries in Windows 7 means you can burn files to disc in one convenient place. Fortunately, Windows actually knows which files are images and which are not.

Writing Photos to CD Using Windows Explorer

When Windows 7 detects a supported CD-RW or DVD-RW, it asks you whether you want to write, or more commonly, burn data to it. Your options are to use it as a thumb drive (Read/Write) or as a storage medium (Read Only). Here’s how to use it:

If you want to copy only some of the pictures in your folder, select the pictures you want to copy and then insert a blank disc into your CD/DVD drive.

To copy all photos in the folder to CD, don’t select any pictures first. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your CD/DVD drive. When you are done with the Setup Wizard, all items inside of your Windows Pictures Library will have been added to the disc. You will be warned that the disc you inserted does not have enough space to hold all of your media items.

You will be prompted to name the disc. Do so and click Next.

The pictures are copied to the CD or DVD, depending on the method you selected.

If you are having problems making a CD successfully, adjust the speed used by your drive to record data. The easiest way to do this is to open Windows Media Player; click Organize, Options; change to the Burn tab; and change the burn speed to a slower speed (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Selecting a lower burn speed on a CD-RW drive that lacks buffer underrun protection.

Your photo folders act as regular folders after they’ve been copied to the CD. If you want to use the special imaging features, such as Slideshow or photo printing discussed earlier in this chapter, select a file in the folder and choose File, Preview. The picture is loaded into the Windows Photo Viewer, which has buttons for photo printing, slideshows, image rotation, editing, and other imaging options.

Making CDs and DVDs from Windows Media Player

When you first start Windows Media Player, select the Burn tab. From there you can select the photos you want to burn to recordable media and drag them to the sidebar. When you click the Start Burn button Windows Media Player burns the selected items to disc based on your settings in the Options dialog box.

Which Output Option to Use

Obviously, you must choose the output option that best suits the intended audience. Who is the audience for your photo CD or DVD? Are you sending images to Granddad to play back on his DVD player in the living room, or are you preparing a slideshow for an important business meeting that will be played on a computer? Compatibility is the name of the game when it comes to sharing recordable CDs and DVDs, as you probably know. Target your audience and keep in mind that there are many firmware differences between different brands, models, and vintages of CD and DVD players that determine whether they can play back a disk. Send up a test balloon (send your colleague a couple example disks) and make sure your intended audience can read it. Few things are more disconcerting than having a crowd of people gather to see your show and all you have to share is a blank screen.

What Is This Blu-Ray Thing?

Now that CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW are all supported standard disc types and very few optical drives are incapable of, at the very least, burning a CD-R, there’s only one new place to go: Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is an optical disc storage technology developed by Sony. The process uses blue lasers, something which was impossible just five years ago, to write huge amounts of data to a disc the same size as your standard CD-R. A single-layer Blu-Ray disc (BD) can hold up to 25GB of data, while a dual-layer BD (which isn’t any larger than a single layer) can hold 50GB. A dual-layer DVD can hold up to 8.5GB, so you can see why Blu-Ray is becoming important. Many computers are starting to come with Blu-Ray drives that are still capable of dealing with all of the older disc formats, as well. Just be aware that Blu-Ray media isn’t cheap yet, and that if you burn a Blu-Ray disc, you’ll want to make sure your recipient has a Blu-Ray–compatible player to play it on.

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