Recipe 11.4. Troubleshooting CD Burning


You experience any of a variety of problems with CD burning, such, as burning not completing, CD player not playing the finished audio CD, or the music skips, pops, or has some other audio problem.


There are many different problems that occur when burning CDs, but here are some of the most common problems and solutions.

Windows Media Player is unable to burn the music onto the CD

This happens more frequently on older CD drives than on newer ones. The most common cause of this problem is that your CD drive cannot record to the specific brand of CD-Rs or CD-RWs you've bought. This usually happens more frequently with no-name CD-Rs or CD-RWs than with brand names. Also, make sure that you have a recordable CD drive, not just a drive that plays CDs.

All of the music won't fit onto the CD

Some tracks may not burn onto the CD because there isn't room on the CD for them. In this case, "Will not fit" will appear next to the items that won't be burned because there's not enough free disk space left. Be aware that there are two size formats for CDs 74 minutes and 80 minutes so you may have bought a CD with the lesser number of minutes. Also, even if the total time of the tracks you've selected matches the CD length exactly, all the tracks might not fit. Windows Media Player inserts two seconds between every track on the CD you burn, so count in the extra seconds between tracks when figuring how many tracks you can burn onto a CD.

Solving ripping problems

The problem with your music may not be the burning process, but instead with the ripping process that recorded the audio files. The audio files, when you play them on your PC, may skip and pop, and so any CD you burn from them will skip and pop as well.

One cause of the problem may be dirt and grime on the original CD. So wipe the bottom of the CD clean the problem may have been dust and dirt. Also, the bottom of the CD may be scratched, and that can cause problems as well. In that instance, you can try some of the CD cleaning devices sold at music stores and computer stores. Also make sure that no one stomps around during recording. With enough movement, CD drives can skip just like turntables.

If the ripping software you're using allows it, try slowing down the speed at which you rip your music. Windows Media Player doesn't allow this, but other ripping software, such as MusicMatch Jukebox, available at, does.

If that doesn't work, try ripping it at a lower bit rate, which sometimes works. Also, try not running any other software when you're ripping (or burning), which also might solve the problem.

Finally, if you have a very old CD drive, the drive itself may be a problem with some older, slower drives, when you rip music, you'll frequently get skips. If that's your problem, the only solution will be to buy a newer drive.

Solving burning problems

Sometimes your source and the digital music files will be free of skips, but when you burn a CD, the resulting CD skips. Slowing down the speed at which you burn a CD sometimes solves the problem. Most burning software will let you adjust your burning speed. In Windows Media Player, choose Tools Options Devices, and highlight your CD drive. Then click Properties, and choose the Recording tab, as shown in Figure 11-4.

From the Select a write speed drop-down box, choose a slower speed than the fastest. Also, close all other programs when you're burning a CD so that CPU, RAM, and system resources are all devoted to CD burning.

Another common problem with burning is buffer overrun, when the source of the material is not filling the recording buffer fast enough. If you get a buffer overrun error message, close other applications to give yourself plenty of memory, and disable virus scanning.

Figure 11-4. Slowing down CD burning in Windows Media Player may help eliminate skips in music CDs

If that doesn't solve the problem, try using analog rather than digital CD writing. Choose Tools Options Devices, highlight the CD drive that you want to use analog playback, click Properties, and go to the Audio tab. From the Copy section, choose Analog. If that still doesn't work, go back to the same tab and choose "Use error correction." This will slow down the CD burning process even further, but may solve the problem.


Tracking down the source of skipping and popping on burned CDs can be very difficult. But if you're recording from old LPs, the problem is most likely that the vinyl on the LP has been damaged, and so the resulting digital music suffers from skips and pops. You can solve the problem by cleaning up the skips and pops using downloadable software.

WaveCorrector, available from, and WAVClean, available from, will both eliminate pops, skips, crackles, hisses, and similar noises from music that you record from old LPs. Both programs require a several-step process. First, record the digital music using Windows Media Player or similar ripping software. You'll have to record in .wav format, because that's the only format these programs handle. Next, clean up the .wav files with the programs. Which one you use depends on whether you want to automate the clean-up, or take a hands-on approach, and on how bad the problems are that you want to correct. WAVClean is the more automated of the two load the .wav file, select Scrub, and choose from basic settings, and it eliminates hisses and crackles. It won't, however, clean up deeper scratches, so it's best for recordings that suffer from just hissing and crackling. With WaveCorrector, on the other hand, you see an actual oscilloscope view of the music files, with pops and similar problems highlighted in blue. You can either have the program make the edits to the file itself, or you can preview the edits and do correcting yourself. WaveCorrector also includes a recording feature, so that you don't have to use Media Player or other ripping software, such as MusicMatch Jukebox. Once you've cleaned up the music, you can either convert them to .mp3 or .wma digital music to save on your hard disk using Windows Media Player, or you can burn directly from a .wav file to a CD.

Both programs are shareware and free to try, but you are expected to pay if you continue using them. WaveCorrector costs $45 to register, and WAVClean costs $30.

See Also

For more advice on solving CD burning problems, see

Windows XP Cookbook
Windows XP Cookbook (Cookbooks)
ISBN: 0596007256
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 408

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