Don't let your digital memories languish on a PC's hard drive or camera's memory card. We show you how to burn them to disc with a tool built into Windows 7.
Digital cameras, camcorders and cameraphones have made it easy to capture the special moments in our lives. But when it comes to sharing the resulting images and video clips, many of us aren't as proactive as we could be. In fact, if you're anything like me, you probably leave your photos and video to languish on your PC's hard drive or camera's memory card.
If I remember to do so, I might upload my favourites to Facebook or Flickr. But whether those members of my family or friends who have access to a PC have got the time to trawl through my hundreds of photo albums is another matter. And although you can share your Facebook albums with non-members via an email link, I don't.
Burning this content to disc is a better option. A DVD can be passed on and enjoyed on the large screen by anyone with a DVD player. And if you must show off your holiday snaps when friends visit, you can do so from the comfort of your sofa.
Many free and low cost DVD-burning programs are available, but you shouldn't discount the one built into Windows 7. It's easy to use and even lets you create customised menus and add soundtracks. Here, we'll show you how to burn your precious photo and video memories to disc.
Select Windows DVD Maker from the Windows 7 Start menu. To select the images and video you want to include on your DVD, click 'Add item' and browse to the file. Windows DVD Maker supports image files and WMV movies, but not AVI or Mpeg4 files. Convert these first, using a tool such as HamsterFree Video Converter 1.0.
Once you've selected the items to include on the DVD, you can reorder them using the up and down arrows above. Note that any images you add to Windows DVD Maker will automatically become part of a slideshow, even if you're including photos of more than one event.
Click the Options link at the bottom right of the window. In the DVD Options dialog that pops up, select whether you want to put a menu at the start and the end of the disc, and whether you want the video to play in a continuous loop. You can also specify the aspect ratio, video format and burn speed. Click OK, then Next.
In the next screen, choose a menu from the options on the righthand side of the window, click on one to see a preview. If you're happy with your choice, click 'Menu text' at the top of the screen. From here, you can change the title, add a play button and even change the font. Click 'Change Text' to apply your edits.
Click 'Customise Menu' to adjust which video stills and images are displayed on the menu and add a soundtrack. Click 'Change Style' to continue. If your DVD contains a slideshow, the 'Slide Show' link lets you alter the transition style and length, and add accompanying music. Click 'Change Slide Show'.
You're almost ready to burn your DVD. First, hit the Preview button to check you're happy with your disc. If any files are missing, use the back arrow in the top left corner to go back and add them. When you're happy, click Ok. Finally, insert a writable DVD into your disc drive and click Burn.