You can use Windows Media Player to copy songs from audio CDs to your computer. This process is known as ripping.

During the ripping process, the Player makes a copy of each song, stores it on your hard disk as a compressed Windows Media Audio (WMA) or MP3 file, and then adds it to your library.

Picture of Windows Media Player
Ripping a CD in Windows Media Player

After you've ripped your CD collection, you can use the Player to do any of the following:

  • Find and play any song on your computer with a few quick clicks (no more fumbling with stacks of CDs and CD cases).

  • Sync your favorite songs from your computer to a portable device, such as an MP3 player or Windows Mobile-based Smartphone or Pocket PC, so you can enjoy your music on the go.

  • Burn a custom mix CD to play in your car or home stereo.

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To rip music from a CD

  1. For best results, make sure that you are connected to the Internet before you begin.

    When your computer is connected to the Internet, the Player attempts to retrieve media information about the tracks being ripped from an online database maintained by Microsoft. The Player then adds the information to the files during ripping.

    You can rip a CD when your computer is not connected to the Internet. However, the Player will not be able to identify the name of the CD, the artist that created it, or the names of the songs until you go online.

    If you need to add or edit media information, you can do that after ripping is complete.

  2. (Optional) To select a different format (for example, MP3 instead of WMA) or bit rate (for example, 192 Kbps instead of 128 Kbps) for the files that are created during ripping, click the arrow below the Rip tab, and then make your selections from the Format and Bit Rate menus.

    Picture of Windows Media Player
    Rip options in Windows Media Player
  3. Insert an audio CD into the CD drive, and then click the Rip tab.

    By default, the Player begins ripping the CD automatically when the Rip tab is selected. For information about changing this behavior, see Change settings for ripping music.

  4. (Optional) As the player begins ripping the CD, clear the check boxes next to any songs that you don't want to rip. Or, click Stop Rip, make your selections, and click Start Rip to restart ripping. (Partially ripped songs are not saved.)

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

    You might be prompted to manually add missing media information after ripping has completed. To learn how to add or edit media information after ripping, see the steps below.

To add or edit media information after ripping

  1. Connect to the Internet.

    If media information is missing because you weren't connected to the Internet during ripping, the media information typically will appear for the newly ripped tracks soon after you connect to the Internet. If it does not, or if the information is not correct, continue with the following steps to add or edit the information. If you do not have Internet access, you can manually edit media information.

  2. Click the Library tab, and then browse to the album you just ripped.

  3. Right-click the album, and then click Find Album Info.

    Picture of Windows Media Player
    Find Album Info command in Windows Media Player
  4. If you get an error message that says you must change your privacy settings, do the following:

    1. Click the arrow below the Rip tab, click More Options, and then click the Privacy tab.

    2. Select the Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet check box.

    3. Repeat step 3 to open Find Album Info.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • If the correct album or artist information appears in the search results, select the correct entry, and then follow the instructions on the page to update the album art and media information automatically. If the correct album does not appear in the search results, follow the instructions on the page to search again using different search criteria or to add the media information manually.

    • If the correct album information appears with a generic music icon displayed as the album art, then album art is not available for download. For information about adding album art yourself, see the procedure about adding album art manually in Add or change album art.


  • 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.