DVD can hold more data than CD. CD burning may be a built-in feature
of the OS. But more normally, people use a separate burning program,
as there are more options available that way.
One thing you should be aware of, is CDs and DVDs are inherently unreliable.
Some people lose their data, soon after preparing their optical media.
And there is nothing worse, than coming back here and asking "how
do you recover data from a bad DVD" :-) That implies you didn't have
a backup stored somewhere. It helps to have two copies of everything,
ideally on different storage device types.
A typical procedure would be -
1) Buy a CD or DVD burner. If you purchase one with bundled burning
software, so much the better. My CD burner, came with an old copy of Nero.
Due to the low price of drives now, you're not likely to get a
freebie, but it pays to shop around anyway. There might also be
free burning software, such as DeepBurner.
2) Look on the Internet, for information on firmware updates for the
drive. Don't waste any time on burning, until the firmware is up to
date. Many drives are released with immature firmware, and later
firmware versions handle a wider range of media tags. In the past,
some firmware updates were a bit tricky, but the industry is better
at it now.
3) Once the firmware is upgraded, the burner software is installed,
comes the "dial-in process". Buy samples of media, like a three-pack
sample of a couple different brands. To get some idea of what to
buy, look at drive reviews on cdfreaks or cdrinfo or similar sites.
They burn different brands of discs, and show their results. With
the low price of drives, you'll spend more money on media samples,
than on the drive itself.
4) For each sample burned, run an error scan. Nero has a tool for
scanning the burned disk, and looking for errors. I've had discs
that were so bad, that they jammed up the drive, when you attempted
to read more than half the disc. You never get zero errors on a
disc, and because the drive has error correction on read, there is
a tolerance to small numbers of background errors (none of your data
is lost). But if the graph of errors heads into the thousands,
generally the disc is crap. The purpose of scanning, is to identify
a disc that is already compromised. It might only be a matter of months,
before a disc with thousands of errors, is a coaster. If the whole
sample pack is bad, then you know the drive doesn't know how to burn
them, or they are really dreadful.
5) Once you identify a brand that is consistent on several burns, you
might consider buying a spindle for serious work. Also, during the
"dial-in", you may notice that burning at a certain speed is necessary.
The CDs I've got currently, are only reliably burned at 4X, and scan
clean when done that way. They give errors if I burn them near their
"rated" speed. Note that you should match the "burn range" on the
media packaging, to the speed of your burner.
6) After all this effort, you can still get a surprise. Some media will
fail in a matter of months, with "rot".
To cover the inherent unreliability of all storage media, if you have
multiple copies, there is less chance of losing anything. So, you
can prepare your CD or DVD, but leave the source mat