Windows DVD Maker has been introduced with Windows Vista and it continues to be present in Windows 7. Unlike with other tools in Windows 7, Windows DVD Maker doesn't have any new major features compared to its Windows Vista counterpart. The differences are cosmetic at best and the tool works the same. In this article I will touch on the following topics: where to find Windows DVD Maker, which file types and discs is supporting, how to customize and burn a DVD and how to solve issues with this tool.
NOTE: Windows DVD Maker is included only in Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Ultimate.
In case you have problems with Windows DVD Maker scroll down to the What To Do In Case Of Issues section of this tutorial.
Where To Find Windows DVD Maker
To find Windows DVD Maker type in the Start Menu search box the words 'dvd maker' and click on the Windows DVD Maker shortcut. Alternatively, you can find it in Start -> All Programs -> Windows DVD Maker.
Files Types & Discs Supported By Windows DVD Maker
Before we move on to the actual burning process of, I will mention the types of files which can be burned with Windows DVD Maker:
- Video files: '.asf', '.avi', '.dvr-ms', '.m1v', '.mp2', '.mp2v', '.mpe', '.mpeg', '.mpg', '.mpv2', '.wm', and '.wmv'.
- Audio files: '.aif', '.aifc', '.aiff', '.asf', '.au', '.mp2', '.mp3', '.mpa', '.snd', '.wav', and '.wma'.
- Picture files: '.bmp', '.dib', '.emf', '.gif', '.jfif', '.jpe', '.jpeg', '.jpg', '.png', '.tif', '.tiff', and '.wmf'.
Regarding media on which these types of files can be burned, Windows DVD Maker supports writing on: DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-ROM as long as your DVD Writer unit supports them. Regarding Blu-Ray, Windows 7 does not have native support for it which means that you won't be able to burn such disks with Windows DVD Maker.
How To Add Media For Burning & How To Customize It
When you start it, Windows DVD Maker will launch a page with information on what you can do with this tool. You can disable it by unchecking the option 'Don't show this page again'.
To start the process, click on 'Choose Photos and Videos'.
This is the main window of Windows DVD Maker. Here you can add and organize items, you can save & open compilations or configure DVD menu settings.
To add photos or videos, click on the Add items button from the top menu. Browse until you find the pictures or videos that you want to add, select them and click the Add button. You can select multiple items if you press and hold the Ctrl key while selecting them.
Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop in the Windows DVD Maker window any pictures or videos that you want to burn on DVD, directly from Windows Explorer.
All the photos you add to Windows DVD Maker will be stored automatically in one folder generically named Slide Show. Double click on the Slide Show folder to view all the photos that you added to the compilation.
To go back to the main window click on the small folder icon from the top menu.
Before you move to the next step you have a couple of options available:
- Save the compilation for later use - this will save information about what you want to write on your DVD so that you can re-use it later to burn the same DVD. This can be easily loaded later by going to File -> Open project file and selecting the collection you saved. To save the compilation, click on File and select Save as.
- Remove a file - select the file you want to remove and click on the Remove item icon from the top menu.
- Change the order of the files - select a file and use the arrows from the top menu to move it up or down.
- Choose a DVD recorder - click on the drop-down list from the right side of the top menu to see available DVD recorders and choose one.
- Write the DVD title - for this a maximum 32 characters is permitted.
Further, if you click on the Options link you will see even more settings. You can choose the playback settings, the DVD aspect ratio, video format, burner speed and the temporary file location.
We recommend you the following setup: Start with DVD menu, so that you can choose what file to be played first. Then, if you have a wide TV select the 16:9 aspect ratio, if not, keep the 4:3 ratio. The video format depends on the country you live in, for example North American countries use the NTSC format and the European countries use the PAL format.
To be sure on what video format to choose, see this article on Wikipedia. Next, at the burner speed option select the speed you desire. The temporary file location you can let it as Default. When you finish, click on OK.
When you have finished with all the changes click the Next button.
How to customize the DVD menu
Customizing the DVD menu is the next step, before the actual burning of the DVD. By default Windows DVD Maker will show in the background of the DVD menu random images from the videos or photos that you have added to the compilation.
On the right pane of the window you have multiple Menu Styles that you can choose from.
On the top menu, you have again the File menu which allows you to Save the current compilation and the Preview button which allows you to see the compilation exactly how it is going to look like on DVD.
The Preview window looks like in the screenshot below.
If you want to change the DVD text menu, click on the Menu text button from the top menu.
In the new window you can select the font type and color of all menus and you can edit their names. For example, you can replace Play with Start or Go. You can do the same with the DVD title, Scene selection button and the Notes button.
When you edit the menu text, you will see an instant update on the images shown on the right side. However, if you want to see exactly how the DVD menu is going to look like, you should press the Preview button. When you have finished editing, click on the Change text button to make the changes permanent.
In the main menu there is also the 'Customize menu' button. Click on it if you want to customize the menu style.
Here you can choose the font type and color of the menu and, depending one the menu style you chose earlier, you can add a foreground or a background video. Also, you can add music while you browse through the DVD menus and you can choose a scene button style from a drop-down list of predefined selections.
To add a video to the menu, click on the Browse button, choose the appropriate file and then click on Add. Do the same thing for the music file, if you want to add one.
When you have finished you can save the current style menu by pressing the 'Save as new style' button from the top menu. Then you can click on the Change Style button to make the changes permanent.
The last button from the upper menu is the Slide Show button. Click on it if you want to edit the slide show settings of the current compilation.
You can add music to the slideshow, organize the music (add, remove, move up, down), you can set the slide show picture length time from 3 to 30 seconds and the transition effect between the slides. Also, you can enable or disable the option to change the slide show length to match the music length and then use of pan and zoom effects for pictures. When you have everything set up click on the 'Change Slide Show' button.
If everything is the way you want to, click on the Burn button.
Finalize the DVD burning process
First, the compilation will be encoded in the appropriate format and only then it is going to be burned on the DVD. Depending on the size of the files you added to the compilation, it will take more or less time to encode and burn the DVD. As a rule, the encoding process takes much more time than the burning. For example, the compilation I used for this tutorial had 8 photos and a video of 30 seconds and 30 MB. The encoding and burning process took exactly 10 minutes.
After the DVD is ready, Windows DVD Maker will ask you if you want to make another copy of the DVD. If you want another copy, click on the appropriate button, if not click on the Close button.
If you click on the Close button, Windows DVD Maker will open again and you can save the current compilation or exit.
What To Do In Case Of Issues
If you notice any of the following issues, chances are this is caused by an incompatible filter:
- You cannot put a menu background or foreground video in the custom section of DVD Maker
- Video appears upside down or distorted when you preview it in Windows DVD Maker.
- Video is black and no audio plays.
- Windows DVD Maker stops responding.
- Audio plays too quickly and is distorted.
- Audio plays, but video is black.
In this case, go to the DVD Options menu as described in the first chapter. Next to the DVD-Video tab there is the Compatibility tab.
Click on it to see if you have any active video filters that could interfere with the burning process of Windows DVD Maker. To disable the active filters, simply deselect the small check mark in front of each.
This setting will not affect other programs, it will just make sure that there are no interferences with the Windows DVD Maker burning process.
As you can see, Windows DVD Maker is not hard to use. It has some really nice customization options which should fit basic video DVD burning needs. If you have used this tool already, don't hesitate to share your experience with us.
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