Rip (copy) songs from CDs to your computer

You can use Windows Media Player 11 to rip songs from your CDs to your computer so that they become files on your computer. After that, you can sync the ripped songs with a portable music player, a Windows Mobile Smartphone or Pocket PC, or other compatible portable media device; burn a customized music CD for enjoying at a party or in your car; or play the songs anytime from your computer without the hassle of having to find the original CD.

To rip music from a CD to your computer

After the songs have been ripped, you can find and play them in your library.

To rip music from a CD to your computer

  1. Check that you are connected to the Internet and then start the Player.

    When you are connected to the Internet, the Player attempts to retrieve media information (such as the album and artist name) about the tracks being ripped from a Windows Media database that is maintained by Microsoft. The Player then adds the information to the files during ripping. If media information is incorrect or missing, you can add or edit it after ripping. For information about adding or editing media information, see Windows Media Player Help.

  2. (Optional) To select a different format or bit rate for the files that are created during ripping, click the arrow below the Rip tab, as shown in the following screen shot, and then make your selections from the Format and Bit Rate commands. For more information on these options, see Choosing a file format and Choosing a bit rate, below.

    Screen shot of the arrow below the Rip tab

    You can also change the default settings later on the Rip Music tab of the Options dialog box, which is accessible by clicking the arrow below the Rip tab, and then clicking More Options, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Rip Music tab of the Options dialog box
  3. Insert an audio CD into the CD drive, and then click the Rip tab, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Player ripping music from the Rip tab

    By default, the Player begins ripping the CD automatically when you are in the Rip tab or when you first switch to it after the CD was inserted. You can also choose to have ripping begin immediately upon inserting the CD, or you can turn off automatic ripping from the Rip Music tab of the Options dialog box. For information about changing these settings, see Windows Media Player Help.

    Note that all songs are selected to be ripped if you have not previously ripped them.

  4. (Optional) As the Player begins to rip the CD, clear the check boxes next to any songs that you don't want to rip. Or, you can temporarily stop the rip process to make your selections. To do this, at the bottom of the List pane, click Stop Rip. (Partially ripped songs are not saved.)

    Select the songs you want to rip, and then, at the bottom of the List pane, click Start Rip to restart ripping.

  5. (Optional) In some instances, you may be prompted to manually add missing media information after ripping has completed. For information about adding or editing media information, see Windows Media Player Help.

After the songs have been ripped, you can find and play them in your library.

Choosing a file format

By default, the Player uses the Windows Media Audio format, which optimizes the balance between file size and sound quality and is supported by certain compatible devices. For a list of compatible devices, see Windows 7 Compatibility Center. You can also choose one of the following formats:

  • Windows Media Audio Pro, which is designed to be used in low storage capacity portable devices, such as mobile phones, where the increased efficiencies of the format improve the audio quality at lower bit rates. Note that not all portable devices support this format.

  • Windows Media Audio (Variable Bit Rate), which can reduce the file size, but may also take longer to rip.

  • Windows Media Audio Lossless, which provides the best audio quality but increases the file size.

  • MP3 and WAV (Lossless), which provide added flexibility.

Your selections apply to tracks you rip in the future; it is not possible to use the Player to change the format of a track you have already ripped.

Choosing a bit rate

You can adjust the bit rate that is used during ripping. Typically, the lower the bit rate you choose, the smaller the resulting file size, but it also lowers the resulting quality of the audio reproduction. Choose a bit rate setting that represents the best balance between sound quality and file size for your needs. Note that file size is typically a more important consideration for users who will listen to their ripped music primarily on devices, rather than on computers, due to their limited storage capacity. Many of the formats provide you with a range of bit rates from which to choose.

What to choose?

If you are not sure which settings to use, try ripping the same song to different formats and bit rates and then listen to the differences and compare the file sizes to help you decide. Note that it is not possible to adjust the bit rate if you have selected a lossless format.

Note

  • Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law in the United States and/or other countries/regions. Copyrighted material includes, but is not limited to, software, documentation, graphics, lyrics, photographs, clipart, animations, movie and video clips, as well as sound and music (including when MP3 encoded). Violation of U.S. and international copyright laws may subject you to significant civil and/or criminal penalties.