Duplicating compact disks (CDs) is cheap, versatile, easy, and available to virtually every budget.
Here's what you need to know about the process:
- Check your CD Burner - If you don't have one, you need one. Most people use disk drives for computers, but there are many to choose from. You could use an internal CD burner that takes up one of the disk drive bays. These are the cheapest and last the longest, but you do need to have the extra drive space and internal connectors. You can also use an external CD copier that connects through a USB or Firewire cable connection. You can also skip the computer all together and just get a standalone duplicator, but that's mostly used for people who perform frequent copies and can spend the extra money for that specific convenience.
- Buy The Recording Media - Recording media is very important to the CD duplication success. It is important to find disks that are the most compatible with the equipment you have. For duplication, it is not necessary to spend the extra money for CD-ReWritable media (CD-RW). A rewritable CD is made so you can overwrite the data on the disk, but that does come with a much higher price per disk. Going with the simple CD-Recordable (CD-R) media is usually the more efficient buy, and you can often buy them in bulk and expect to spend $0.10 - $0.20 per recordable disk.
All burners have a specific speed for burning (eg. 4X, 12X,48X) as do CDs. This is not a random coincidence. All burning equipment has a maximum burning speed and quality; the higher the better. By buying media that matches the speed of your burner, you will get the most quality for your dollar. You can go higher and spend the extra money unnecessarily or lower and get slow and poor quality burns, but why would you want to?
- Get Your Software - While the Windows XP operating system has some burning support, you won't get very good results if you use it for duplication. By using CD burning software (i.e. Nero, Roxio, Alcohol 120%, etc.), either bundled with your computer or purchased separately, you will get a copy that is closer to the original format. Each brand has the basic capabilities that most users have come to expect, but each one also has its own style. Nero is commonly recognized for its standardized and stable work, Roxio is commonly used for home media because of its user-friendly nature, and Alcohol is extremely customizable but more complex to use fully.
- Duplicating the Disk - After checking your burner, retrieving your disk, and installing the burner software, you are ready to learn how to copy a CD. To burn your disk, insert the disk you want copied into the drive and open your software; you will find an option to "Copy Disk." Exact copies will work with any form of disk.
When the disk to be copied is done reading, the software will prompt you to swap it with the disk you are copying to. Go ahead and do this. If you want to make an additional copy, there is typically an option to just insert another blank disk to save time.