How to Use Windows Media Player to Copy Music From CDs

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

Windows Media Player: rip cds

Chris Yates / Unsplash 

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.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows Media Player 12 on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

How to Rip a CD using Windows Media Player

When you have the CD you want to copy ready, Windows Media Player will do most of the work for you.

  1. Insert the disc into your disc drive. If an autoplay option pops up, ignore it or exit out of it.

  2. 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.

    Screenshot of Windows Media Player in Windows search results
  3. Select the music disc in the left panel of Windows Media Player.

    The CD might be called "Unknown album" or something else, but either way, it should be represented by a small disc icon.

    Windows Media Player with an audio CD highlighted
  4. 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.

    Windows Media Player with the Rip Settings menu highlighted
  5. 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.

    Windows Media Player with media format menu highlighted
  6. 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).

    Rip Settings menu in Windows Media Player with the quality options highlighted
  7. Select More options in the Rip settings menu for some other settings you can adjust, such as ripping CDs automatically, ejecting the disc after the CD rip, changing where the music gets copied to on your computer or choosing the details you want to be included in the file names.

    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.

    Screenshot of More Options in Rip Settings in Windows Media Player
  8. When you're ready for Windows Media Player to copy the music to your computer, select Rip CD at the top of the program, right above the list of music.

    Windows Media Player with the Rip CD button highlighted
  9. The button will immediately change to Stop rip. The track being copied will say Ripping; the remaining tracks will say 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.

    Windows Media Player with ripping status highlighted
  10. 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 to be converted through a free audio file converter.