How to Use Windows Media Player to Copy Music From CDs

WMP lets you copy music from a disc to your computer for backup

Colorful CD's

Flutter_97321/Getty ImagesĀ 

You can copy, or rip, music from a disc to your computer with a free CD ripper. However, for Windows users who have Windows Media Player built-in, copying music to your computer is really easy.

To rip music with Windows Media Player, all you have to do is insert the disc, open WMP, and click Rip CD. However, before starting the ripping procedure, you might prefer to make some changes to how the program will copy the music.

Open the Music CD With Windows Media Player

  1. Insert the disc into your disc drive.
    1. If an autoplay option pops up, ignore it or exit out of it.
  2. Open Windows Media Player.
    1. You should be able to open Windows Media Player by searching for it from the Start menu or by executing it via the Run dialog box with the wmplayer command.
  3. Click the music disc in the left panel of Windows Media Player.
    1. The CD might be called "Unknown album" or something else, but either way, it should be represented by a small disc icon.

Customize the Rip Settings

The Windows Media Player Rip "Options" menu. Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Windows Media Player can rip the CD with default settings or you can open Rip settings at the top of the program to tweak how the CD will be copied to your computer.

Under the Rip settings > Format menu is a list of audio formats you can choose from. The first several are Windows Media Audio formats, followed by MP3 and WAV. Select the format for which you want the copied music to be in.

Also under the Rip settings drop-down menu is Audio Quality, which is where you can select a specific sound quality for the music. Default is 128 Kbps but you can go as low as 48 Kbps (which will make files with the smallest size) or as high as 192 Kbps (this is the best quality but produces the largest file sizes).

Click More options... in the Rip settings menu for some other settings you can adjust, like to rip CDs automatically, eject the disc after the CD rip, change where the music gets copied to on your computer, pick the details you want included in the file names, etc.

If you want to let Windows Media Player automatically find album info online, you can manually do so before starting the CD rip. To do that, right-click the disc from the left side panel in WMP and click Find album info.

Rip the Audio CD to Your Computer

When you're ready for Windows Media Player to copy the music to your computer, click Rip CD at the top of the program, right above the list of music.

The button will immediately change to Stop rip and every track says "Pending" in the "Rip status" column until they're done being copied, after which the status changes to "Ripped to library." You can monitor the rip status of each song by watching the progress bar fill up.

When every song is finished ripping, you can exit Windows Media Player and eject the CD, and use the music now stored on your computer.

If you're not sure which folder Windows Media Player copied the music to, revisit the Rip settings > More options... screen to see what's listed under "Rip music to this location."

If the music isn't in the correct format for your needs, you don't have to re-rip the songs. Instead, run the files that need converted through a free audio file converter.