How to Create a DVD-data Disc (Windows)


This document covers the step-by-step process for creating a DVD-data disc. A DVD disc will hold about 4.4 gigabytes of information, and provides an excellent way to backup large quantities of data. At the end of this how-to, you will have a DVD-data disc that you can mount on your own computer.

Important Note: We do not cover how to make a DVD-video disc. If you are interested in producing video and putting it on a DVD, please sign up for one of our video editing workshops or review our how-to document on recording video to a DVD with the DVD Recorder

Before you get started...


Purchase DVD-R or DVD+R discs. These can be found at most stores where electronics are sold, the Pierpont Commons Bookstore, and the Reserve Desk on the second floor of the Media Union. The PC's in GroundWorks that have DVD writers support both of these formats (including DVD+RW & DVD-RW).


Bring your files. You can bring your files on CD, copy them over the network (a very slow proposition), or even bring them on an external Firewire hard drive. The PC's in the CD/DVD Writing section of GroundWorks have six-pin Firewire cables and USB 2.0 cables dangling from them so you can connect your hard drive without having to attach a cable to the computer. You'll need to bring your own power cable, however.


Copy all your files to a DVD-writing computer. Only the four machines in the CD/DVD-writing area of GroundWorks have DVD writers. Unless you have all your files on an external Firewire hard drive, you will need to copy all your data to a folder on the Desktop of the computer you're using.


Have plenty of time. DVD writing is a slow process, so plan on around an hour to write and verify a full 4.4 gigabytes of data, writing at 2x speed. At 1x speed, of course, it will be closer to two hours.

Step 1: Setup the application


Find and open the Nero- Burning Rom application.


As Nero is opening, a window will appear asking which drive you'd like to use. To write a DVD, select Sony DVD RW and click OK.


The application will immediately open the Nero Wizard application. This is program will guide you quickly through the steps of burning an DVD.

In the Nero Wizard window, select DVD to indicate that you would like to create a DVD, and click Next.


Select Compile a new DVD, and click Next.


Select Data DVD, and click Next.


Finally, select Create a new data DVD and click Next.


The last window of the Nero Wizard gives you brief directions about compiling a DVD. When you are finished reading these instructions, click Finish.

Step 2: Prepare your files

Now you'll select your files and drag them into the queue to be recorded.


Insert a blank DVD into the DVD-R Drive of the computer you are using. Make sure the recordable side of the disc faces down.


The area on the right of the Nero application is your File Browser. Use this area to browse the contents of your computer to find your files.

Select your files and drag them into the New CD queue window on the left side of the Nero application.

You can add your files one at a time, or to select a group of files, click the first file press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard, and then click the last file. You can then drag this group of files to the window on your left. You may add folders of files to your queue, but be aware that these files will remain in the folders exactly as they are in the queue when they are burned to CD.

To delete a track from the queue, select that track and select Delete from the Edit menu.

The blue bar at the bottom of your screen indicates how much space the files you have added to your queue will take up. The case of your CD will indicate how much space is available on your particular CD-R. You will be unable to write your CD if your queue contains more data than your CD can hold.


When you are finished, click the Write CD button.

Step 3: Write the disc


In the Nero Wizard window that appears select the desired speed. Then click Burn to begin writing your CD.

Your DVD will be finished faster if you choose a faster Write Speed, but a faster Write Speed also increases the possibility of computer error. Though there's no guarantee that your DVD will burn correctly at the fastest write speed, in most cases there will not be any problems.


A window will appear asking you which type of disc you would like to write.

Select Burn without multisession so that your disk will be able to be read by all computers.


The Write CD window will allow you to monitor the progress of your disc.


A window will appear indicating when your disc has finished being written. Click OK.


Your disc is finished, click Discard in the Nero - Burning Rom window and exit the Nero - Burning Rom application. Your new CD will automatically eject from the computer. If you copied files from a CD-ROM disc, eject it as well. If you copied files from a Zip disk, retrieve it from the Zip Depot.

Very Important Note: If you copied your files to the computer, be sure to delete them when you are done.

Next Steps

The way you choose to label your disc may affect the quality of playback. Research the best method to suit your needs by referring to the link in the Related documents section below.

Related documents

Choosing blank media for music CDs
Suggestions from

Detailed information on blank media
Even more info -- this time from

More info about "buffer underrun"
Description of what causes this and how it can turn your CD into a very nice coaster.

Be sure to label your disc. Here's a link to some solutions, and issues to watch out for.

"The 7 Fatal Mistakes of Storing Data, Music, & Photos on CDs"
White paper discussing issues involved in storing data on CDs, particularly for long-term storage.

This document was written by Heather Campbell.

Last modified August, 2003