How to copy music from CD to a computer or USB drive (3 ways)

This tutorial will show you step by step how to copy music songs from a audio CD to your computer or USB flash drive in a few different ways.

Copying music from an audio CD to a computer is called “Ripping”.

Ripping a CD also allows you to convert the songs from the CD into another audio format, such as MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC.

Contents

How to copy songs from CD to computer or USB drive using:

Note: Your laptop or desktop computer should have a CD drive.

What does ripping a CD mean?

Ripping a CD is copying music from an audio CD to a computer.

What is the best audio format to rip a CD?

The best audio format to rip a CD is a lossless audio format, such as WAV, FLAC, ALAC or WMA Lossless.

Does ripping a CD affect the CD?

No. Ripping a CD will not affect the CD in anyway.

Where is the “Rip CD” button in Windows Media Player?

When there's a music CD in the CD drive of your computer, the “Rip CD” button will appear in the top menu of Windows Media Player (see image below).

Windows Media Player Rip CD button

How to copy songs from CD to PC or USB drive using Windows Media Player

1. Put the music CD you want to rip into the CD drive of your computer.

2. Open Windows Media Player.

3. Click in the left panel of Windows Media Player on your audio CD.

Windows Media Player left panel

Now you will see the songs that are on your CD.

4. Click on Rip settings.

Windows Media Player Rip settings

5. Move your mouse cursor (pointer) to Format and select an audio format (e.g., MP3, WAV, ALAC, FLAC, etc.).

Select an Audio format in Windows Media Player rip settings

If you want the best quality, then you should select WAV or ALAC or FLAC.

Note: If you select WAV or ALAC or FLAC, then the file size of the songs will be much larger than MP3 songs.

6. If you selected MP3 or WMA, then click again on Rip settings. If you selected WAV, ALAC or FLAC, then you can skip step 6 and 7.

Windows Media Player Rip settings

7. Move your mouse cursor (pointer) to Audio Quality and select an audio quality (e.g., 192 Kbps, 256 Kbps, 320 Kbps, etc.).

Windows Media Player Rip settings Audio quality

8. By default, Windows Media Player will copy the songs to the “Music” folder on your PC. If you are okay with that, then continue with step 13.

But:

If you want to select a different location on your computer or want to select a USB stick, then click again on Rip settings and then click on More options.

Windows Media Player Rip settings more options

A “Options” window will appear.

9. At Rip music to this location, you click on the Change button.

Windows Media Player Rip settings change location

A “Browse For Folder” window will appear.

10. Select a location on your PC or select your USB thumb drive.

11. Click on the OK button.

Windows Media Player Browser for Folder window

12. When you're ready, you click on the Apply button at the bottom right of the options window.

13. Click on the OK button at the bottom right of the options window.

14. If you want you can uncheck the songs you don't want to copy to your PC or USB.

Uncheck songs in Windows Media Player

15. When you're ready, you click on the Rip CD button.

Windows Media Player Rip CD button

Windows Media Player will now copy the songs from the audio CD to your computer or USB pen drive.

How to copy songs from CD to PC or USB drive using VLC media player

With VLC media player, you can only rip one track at a time. That's okay if you only want to rip a song or few songs of a CD. But it's a time-consuming process if you want to rip a complete CD.

VLC website

1. Put the music CD you want to rip into the CD drive of your computer.

2. Open VLC media player.

3. Click on Media located in the top left corner of VLC, and then click on Convert / Save.

VLC media player Convert / Save option

A “Open Media” window will appear.

4. Click on the Disc tab.

5. Select the Audio CD option.

VLC media player Disc tab Audio CD

6. At Track, you select the track you want to save to your computer.

VLC media player select track option

7. Click on the Convert / Save button at the bottom right of the “Open Media” window.

VLC media player Convert / Save button

A “Convert” window will appear.

8. At Profile, you select Audio CD (which is WAV) or Audio - FLAC.

The WAV and FLAC audio formats offer the best quality, but the file size of the songs will be much larger than MP3 files.

VLC media player select an Audio format

9. Click on the Browse button located in the bottom right corner of the “Convert” window.

VLC media player Browse button

A “Save file” window will appear.

10. Select a location on your computer or select your USB flash drive.

11. At File name, you enter the name of the track.

12. Click on the Save button.

VLC media player Save file window

13. When you're ready, you click on the Start button located in the bottom right corner of the “Convert” window.

VLC media player Start button

VLC media player will now copy the songs from the audio CD to your computer or USB pen drive.

How to copy songs from CD to PC or USB drive using iTunes

You can download iTunes for Microsoft Windows here.

1. Open iTunes.

2. Put the music CD you want to rip into the CD drive of your computer.

iTunes will load your CD and then it will display all the tracks of the CD.

3. When iTunes asks you if you want to import the CD into your iTunes library, you click on the No button.

iTunes import CD into library window

4. By default, iTunes will copy the songs to the “Music” folder on your computer. If you are okay with that, then continue with step 10.

But:

If you want to select a different location on your computer or want to select a USB stick, then click on Edit located in the top left corner of iTunes, and then click on Preferences.

iTunes preferences

A “General Preferences” window will appear.

5. Click on Advanced located in the top right corner.

6. At iTunes Media folder location, you click on the Change button.

iTunes advanced preferences

A “Change iTunes Media Folder Location” window will appear.

7. Select a location on your computer or select your USB thumb drive.

8. Click on the Select Folder button.

Change iTunes Media Folder Location window

9. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the “Preferences” window to save the setting.

10. Click on the Import CD button at the top right.

iTunes import CD button

A “Import Settings” window will appear.

11. At Import Using, you select an audio format (e.g., MP3, WAV, Apple Lossless Encoder, AAC, etc.).

itunes audio formats

If you want the best quality, then you should select WAV or Apple Lossless Encoder or AAC.

Note: If you select WAV or Apple Lossless Encoder or AAC, then the file size of the songs will be much larger than MP3 songs.

12. At Setting, you can select a quality.

13. When you're ready, you click on the OK button.

iTunes will now copy the songs from the audio CD to your computer or USB pen drive.