How To Rip MP3 From CD Using Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player makes it easy to rip MP3 tracks from CD – as long as you change one default setting. There are many programs to rip (copy) MP3 tracks from CD to your PC but Windows Media Player (WMP) is already included in Windows so, if you don’t want to install more software, read on for how to use it.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 include WMP 12 whilst Vista includes WMP 11 – both versions contain an MP3 encoder to allow easy ripping of tracks to MP3 files. Windows XP originally included WMP 9 which does not contain an MP3 encoder so, if you haven’t already, you must first upgrade to WMP 11 – download and install WMP 11 direct from Microsoft here.

Assuming that you now have WMP 11 or 12 installed, follow this simple guide to rip MP3s.

1. Insert a music CD into your DVD/CD drive – if you see a popup message asking what you want to do with it, choose to open Windows Media Player and skip to step 3.

2. Now open Windows Media Player.

3. WMP 11 – press the Rip button in the top bar or WMP 12 – in the left hand side panel, press the CD/DVD drive icon. You should now see a list of the tracks on the CD with information about artist and track length etc as shown below:


4. In the WMP menu bar, select ‘Tools’ then ‘Options’ to open the Options window then select the ‘Rip Music’ tab to configure rip settings.

Tip: If the WMP menu bar is not displayed, press CTRL + M to show it.

Note that you can also access a subset of these settings from the drop down menu under the ‘Rip’ (‘Rip settings’ in WMP12) button but the Options window offers more comprehensive control. The main options to configure are shown below and include:


Format: this is the most important item – you must change it to ‘MP3’ to rip tracks into MP3 files otherwise they will be ripped in the default format of Windows Media Audio (WMA) which some MP3 players are not able to play.

Audio Quality: move the slider if you want to increase audio quality (at the expense of a larger file size). A rate of 192Kbps is good enough for most people but you can experiment with higher settings to see if quality improves noticeably.

Change… button: choose the location of where to save ripped files. The default location is (My) Music.

File Name… button: choose which details you want to include in file names. By default the track number and song title are included.

Press OK when complete to close the Options window – these settings will now be used for all future ripping.

5. Back in the main WMP Rip window, select (tick) which tracks you want to rip (in our earlier example we will be ripping the whole album) and press the ‘Start Rip’ (WMP11 – bottom right of Rip window) or the ‘Rip CD’ (WMP 12 – in top bar) button to display the Rip Options window shown below:


6. Select ‘Do not add copy protection…’ so you can play the mp3s on any device and tick the copyright box then press OK.

The ripping begins and the Rip status bar displays progress:

Rip status bar

When completed, the new MP3 track(s) can be found in the location you specified within Options (Step 4) – the tracks are stored within an Artist Name \ Album Name folder structure.

That’s it, your CD tracks have now been ripped to MP3 files – next time you can omit step 4 unless you wish to further reconfigure any options.