How to Burn Photo and Video DVDs in Windows 7 (Without Extra Software)

Software like DVD Flick is great for burning video to DVDs, but Windows 7 actually includes built-in DVD burning software. Strangely, it’s the last time the company did so—while Windows 8 and Windows 10 can play back DVD movies, they can’t create them with a DVD burner without tools from third parties.

Perhaps Microsoft didn’t want to pay the software licensing fees necessary to keep the tool in later versions, or perhaps the rise of all-digital media simply removed the necessity. Either way, if you’re a Windows 7 holdout, you can burn your own movies or photo collections without downloading any extra software. Here’s how.

Note: this guide is for burning video and other media meant for a DVD player, not simply a data DVD. Check out this guide if that’s what you’re looking for.

Step One: Load Your Media

Open your DVD drive and insert a blank disc. Any type of burnable DVD (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, etc.) should work, as long as your DVD burner supports it.

Click the Start button, then type “dvd.” “Windows DVD Maker” should be the first result—click it to launch the program.

From the introductory screen, you can add photo and video files to the DVD storage and menu system. Click the “Add items” button to open a Windows Explorer menu, wherein you can search for and add video, audio, and photo files. You can add as many as you like, up to the limit of the blank disc in your DVD drive (typically four to eight gigabytes).

Windows DVD Maker is not an especially robust tool, and is limited to the following file types:

  • Video files: ASF, AVI, DVR-MS, M1V, MP2, MP2V, MPE, MPEG, MPG, MPV2, WM, WMV
  • Sound files: AIF, AIFC, AIFF, ASF, AU, MP2, MP3, MPA, SND, WAV, WMA

If your media is in a different format, you’ll either need to convert it or use more powerful software like DVD Flick.

Add everything you’d like to the list, or everything you can fit into the “150 minutes” of somewhat arbitrary…

How to Burn Any Video File to a Playable DVD

Streaming may be the most convenient way to watch most movies, but it doesn’t hurt to have a physical copy of your movies or home videos as a fall back. If you want to make a backup copy of your movie collection, or just burn a playable DVD of your own videos, it’s pretty easy—and free. Here’s how to burn videos to a playable disc on Windows and macOS.

What You’ll Need

To burn your own videos to a DVD, you’ll need a few things to get started:

  • A DVD burner drive: Most computers that come with any kind of optical drive anymore can probably burn DVDs, but if you don’t already have one, you’ll need to buy a DVD burner. Internal DVD burner drives can cost as little as $20, and external burners are usually only $5-10 more.
  • A blank DVD: Blank DVDs are pretty cheap, and are even cheaper per disc in spindles. You’ll see two types of blank discs: DVD+R and DVD-R. These two formats are almost identical and almost every drive sold today supports both, so it probably won’t matter which one you get. However, if you have an older DVD burner, check to see whether it supports DVD+R or DVD-R. If it only supports one, but not the other, buy the DVDs that are compatible with your drive. Additionally, you can buy what’s known as dual layer discs if your movies are really big. Single layer discs can store 4.7GB, and dual-layer discs can store 8.5GB. If you can get away with single layer, we recommend it as dual layer discs can occasionally create problems during the burning process, but both should work. Once again, make sure your DVD drive supports dual layer burning before buying those discs.
  • A video to burn: Whether it’s your own home movies, or a movie you ripped from your own collection, you’ll need a video file (or multiple videos) to burn to your disc. The total size of all the videos you put on the disc must be no higher than 4.7GB (for single layer discs) or 8.5GB (for dual layer discs).
  • DVD Flick and ImgBurn (Windows): You’ll need two tools to burn your discs on Windows, but fortunately they’re both free. DVD Flick converts your videos to the proper format and creates playable menus, then passes the converted video to ImgBurn to burn it to disc. Go ahead and download them now before you get started.
  • Burn (macOS): Burn is another free app for macOS that you can use to burn your DVDs. This can convert your videos to the proper format, create a simple menu, and burn it to disc all in one handy package. Download the app now and then scroll down to the Mac section for instructions on how to use it.

Once you have everything you need, skip to the section for your platform to start burning.

Windows: Burn Video Files to DVD With DVD Flick

The simplest option we’ve found on Windows is a free app called DVD Flick. This app can convert tons of common video files to a playable video format, and add a basic menu. You can even add multiple tracks to a single disc and pick which one you want to play with your DVD remote. It will then pass that converted video to ImgBurn to burn it to a disc. As long as you have both apps installed, you can start in DVD Flick and ImgBurn will automatically launch when it’s needed.

To get stared, open up DVD Flick and click “Add title”.

Choose the video file you want to burn to a disc. DVD Flick supports a huge number of video and audio formats and containers. You can see the full list here if you want to make sure your file is compatible.

Before DVD Flick can burn your video to disc, it will need to convert it to the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folder structure that DVDs use. You’ll need up to 8.5GB of space (depending on the size of your video file and the discs you’re burning to) on your hard drive to store the converted files. At the bottom right corner of the window, click Browse to choose a place to (temporarily) store the converted video files.

Next, click “Project Settings” to tweak a couple important video settings.

On the General tab, give…

How to Decrypt and Rip DVDs With Handbrake

You’ve got a bunch of DVDs sitting around your house, but you can’t even remember when you last saw your DVD player, and your laptop doesn’t even have a disc drive anymore. It’s time to modernize your collection. Here, we’ll show you how to rip your DVDs to your computer using the swiss army knife of video conversion tools: Handbrake.

Decrypt and Rip DVDs the Easy Way with WinX DVD

The problem with ripping a DVD using Handbrake is that it’s confusing and requires installing a bunch of other stuff just to get it working. You’re much better off getting a solution like WinX DVD ripper, which can not only rip just about any DVD, but can convert it into any format you want really easily.

It’s literally as simple as inserting your DVD and clicking a button.

Keep reading about Handbrake and you’ll understand why WinX DVD Ripper is a much better solution.

Step Zero: Install Handbrake and libdvdcss So You Can Decrypt DVDs

The main tool we’ll be using to rip DVDs is called Handbrake, which you can download here. Out of the box, Handbrake can rip any DVD that isn’t copy protected…but almost all DVDs you buy in the store are copy protected. Getting around this is a weirdly gray area legally, so applications like Handbrake can’t legally include the software needed to decrypt copy protected DVDs. You can, however, download it separately—as long as you’re just using this to watch a movie on your computer and not starting a bootlegging business, we promise we won’t tell on you.

We’ll be using a free DVD playback library called libdvdcss. This will let Handbrake read your encrypted DVDs and rip them to your computer. The process is a little different for Windows and Mac users, so we’ll go through each one individually. Note that you don’t have to do this every time you rip a DVD—once libdvdcss is installed, you can skip to Step One each time you rip a new disc.

How to Install libdvdcss on Windows

First, you’ll need to download libdvdcss to your computer. For 32-bit versions of Windows, download this version. 64-bit users should download this version. If you aren’t sure which version of Windows you have, check out this article.

Copy the .dll file to your Handbrake program folder. If you used the default installation settings, this should be in C:\Program Files\Handbrake.

After this, Handbrake will be able to read your encrypted DVDs.

How to Install…

MP3 Isn’t Dead

The reports of the MP3 file format’s death have been greatly exaggerated. This past week, news sites around the internet ran stories claiming that the MP3 is dead. This seems to come from a misunderstanding of a press release, and then others trying to play copycat for clicks. So what’s the deal with MP3, and why do people think it died?

A Brief History of the MP3

There are lots of algorithms and techniques to compress and decompress data, which can be confusing for consumers. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), made up of scientists and engineers from around the world, work together to develop video and audio compression standards for device manufacturers to meet. By ensuring everything uses the same standard, normal people know that their DVD will work in any player (at least in their geographic region).

The first standard released by the group, MPEG-1 (creative!) was used for Video CD and early digital satellite television. It was replaced by MPEG-2, most notably the encoding standard for DVDs. MPEG-3 was never adopted, and MPEG-4 released later and dominated internet video until recently. It is also used on Blu-Rays. Video files encoded to MPEG-4 specifications typically use the .mp4 extension.

While MPEG-1 video is uncommon today, the standard did include something that lives on. MPEG’s standards are divided into parts and layers. MPEG-1 Layer 3 (or MP3) specified a lossy method of compressing and playing back audio. This technique came from work by the Fraunhofer Society, a multidisciplinary research organization based in Germany.

When it was new, MP3 did a much better job of reducing music file size than other compression algorithms. In those days of small hard drives, being able to fit many more songs into less space was a game changer. On top of that, MP3 can scale reasonably well. Users can specify a bitrate for the audio, allowing them to control the tradeoff between size and quality. While low bitrate, 64-128 kbps MP3 files can sound tinny and distorted, high bitrate…