My Burned Music CD Won't Play

cd-r image by Claudio Calcagno from

Things You'll Need

  • Hand soap
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Facial tissues

"Burning," in music terminology, refers to the process of copying digital music data onto a blank CD. If you have a music collection stored on your computer, you can burn the songs onto CD-R or CD-RW disc and play them on a standard CD player. There are some common causes to check for in case the disc doesn't play. It could be as simple as dust or dirt on the disc, or a mistake made in the burning process.

Insert the CD back into your computer and locate the CD drive image. It will appear on the desktop in Mac OS X, and in "My Computer" in Windows (or just "Computer," for Windows 7). Right-click the CD image and select "Get Info" (Mac) or "Properties" (Windows). If the format reads anything other than "Audio CD" (such as "HFS" or "ISO"), it means you have a data CD that will not work in many CD players.

Play the burned CD in another CD player. If it plays well, you may just have a lens with poor CD-R readability in the first player.

Place warm water and hand soap on a microfiber cloth or soft facial tissue. Gently run the cloth or tissue across the playing surface of the disc in straight motion, from the outer edge to the inside. Do not rub it in a circular motion. Let the disc dry before attempting to play it. If this disc was dirty, this form of cleaning should solve the problem.

Burn the music onto a new CD-R. If one particular disc fails to play on any CD player, you may have encountered an error during the CD writing process, or attempted to burn to a defective disc. CD-RWs (re-writable CDs) have even less compatibility with older CD players. If the non-working CD is a CD-RW, burn the material onto a CD-R.