I've only been a mac user for a little while so I'm still getting used to OSX so bear with me ...

I find some things OSX does to be inexplicable frankly. I'm a software engineer and very technical but some things I find myself presented with by this OS I just cannot rationalise.

I've connected my SuperDrive and I have a folder on my external G-Drive that I wanna put on the DVD, it's got 3.09Gb of data in there. Should be simple enough, right?

Why then when I double tap on the folder I'm presented with this message?

"Are you sure you want to create an empty disc? ..."

If I sit here and wait without pressing anything another box then pops up over this offering to burn the folder with options for the burn speed ...

I mean ... What?? What on earth is it going to burn? Am I going to end up with a coaster?

Articles online talk about creating a burn folder, why on earth would I want to create another folder just to put these files in in order to put them on a disk?

I know I'm still thinking in "Windows" speak but this is just ridiculous ...

1 Answer 1


I'm assuming a "G-Drive" is an external (USB or Firewire) hard disk, right? If it's some online solution (Google etc.) you'll probably need to copy the files to your local disk first (e.g. to your desktop). Downloading speed would never match your DVD burner speed anyway.

The normal procedure of burning files to CD or DVD is extremely simple. You create a "burn folder" much like you create a "project" in Windows burning software, only the paradigm is far simpler, you do not need to learn (or buy) another application just to burn files to disk, everything is in Finder. Burn folders are just normal folder except for that they

  • only contain aliases (links) to the files that are to be burnt (just like your "burn project" in Windows)
  • contain some extra attributes for the disk like burn speed, volume label and so on
  • are treated specially by OS X when it detects a burnable disk is inserted
  • automatically calculate the space required and warn if the files don't fit

Try not to think so much, it helps losing all the complicated workarounds you were used to in Windows ... :-)

Do this:

  • Open Finder, in its menu select File > New burn folder
  • Drag all items to be burned into this folder. Finder will create aliases, not copies. If you only have one folder to burn, drag its contents into the burn folder. Rename the burn folder how you want your disk to be named.
  • In Finder, open the burn folder. You'll see a button at the top labeled "Burn". Click.
  • Insert DVD, follow instructions.

Alternatively, you can also just insert the DVD and OS X will ask what to do with the empty disk: if you select "Open in Finder", it will automatically create a burn folder for you and show it in the sidebar. Drag items into it, select "burn" like above and follow instructions.

Here's a tutorial with screenshots (showing outdated OS X versions, but visually, not much changed since then): http://www.macforbeginners.com/page.php?id=187

If this procedure doesn't work as expected, maybe you can share some screenshots showing what exactly went wrong.

  • Hi chap, thanks for the post. I basically went for it, when the second pop up appeared I just hit "burn" and it wrote the files to disk. No need for a burn folder it appears. Will check out your other options next time i need to burn a disk ... thanks!
    – Jammer
    Nov 5, 2013 at 20:18
  • If you need a burn folder why is there an option on the context menu to "burn contents to disk" ... OSX is confusing, it's not clearer than Windows ... and for an OS to pop up a warning box which it itself then ignores and offers the option to burn anyway and also DOES work ... that is plain confusing and stupid.
    – Jammer
    Nov 5, 2013 at 20:21
  • The burn folder is for situations where you want to burn more than just a single folder to disc. You create the burn folder and then copy items from various locations into the folder (where, as the original answer says, it creates links, not actual copies). If you're just wanting to burn one folder then, yes, you can simply right-click the folder you want to burn and select "burn to disc…"
    – SSteve
    Nov 5, 2013 at 20:27
  • Hi Steve, again why then would it first tell me the folder is empty when it clearly isn't and that the resulting disk will be empty and then pop up another window over that offering to burn the disk? It just doesn't make any sense. Also you can author disk incrementally CD/DVD don't have to be finalised in one pass ...
    – Jammer
    Nov 5, 2013 at 20:55
  • Jammer, remember no OS is absolutely perfect. Mainly because "perfect" means different things to different people. ;) That said, I don't know why you are getting the "disk empty" popup. IIRC there is an option to finalize (or not) the disk in the popup window where you can select burn speed etc.
    – Jens
    Nov 6, 2013 at 21:46

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