Doc discusses CDs, digital images

My neighbor came over the other day and asked me to unload some pictures he had taken with his digital camera and transfer them to a compact disc.

He had a new camera and didn’t know how to unload the pictures. I asked him for the USB cable that came with the camera and showed him how I connected it to my computer so the pictures could be transferred. Fortunately, Windows XP recognized the camera connection and a screen came up asking me where to place the pictures. I completed the first step in this process by transferring his pictures to a temporary file on my computer.

Now it was time to “burn” the images to a compact disc. This may seem like a simple task, which it is, but how this is done gets complicated.

There are two types of compact discs: CD-R, Recordable and CD-RW, Recordable, reWriteable. So our first question becomes how we want to use the disc once it is burned.

Discs have two common formats: one for music and one for data. If we want to copy music to a cd, we hope to be able to play it on regular cd players. If we wish to burn data, that includes pictures, we want the cd to be playable on compatible computers. The choice of how to burn the cd is made using the cd burning software.

My recording software is produced by a company called Sonic and is called Record Now version 7. There are many other cd recording programs including the popular Roxio and Nero. Incidentally, Sonic just purchased Roxio.

Because my neighbor wants to send his pictures to his daughter, I told Sonic that I wanted to burn a “Data” disc. A screen appeared that asked me what “files” I wanted to burn to the disc. Since each picture constituted a single file, I highlighted the files (pictures) I wanted and clicked the button to “Add” them to the burn list. I then clicked the “Burn” button and the process started. In a minute or so, the pictures were burned to the disc and we were done.

The disc I chose was a CD-R type. I did this because we wanted a simple copy and were not interested in either adding more pictures later or being able to overwrite what was on the disc. And CD-R discs now are very inexpensive, approximately fourteen cents each. When the burn was finished, I put the cd in a plastic case and handed it to him.

On my own computer where I want to back up data from Quicken and other programs, I use a CD-RW disc because it is easy to continue to add files. I still burn this as a “Data” disc because the backup files are data. Sonic burns this cd as a Data disc, just like we did with the pictures.

I have outlined just a few simple steps that I use to burn a data disc. There are many other methods to burn discs. Some people use “drag and drop” or use other software. So be it. Also, I haven’t burned music discs so am not totally familiar with that process. I have been producing slide shows that I burn on DVDs (digital video discs), but this is a whole other story. For this I use a combination CD-DVD burner and different software.

If you would like to hear more about cd burning or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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