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.).

windows media player rip settings audio formats

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 and then click on the OK button.

11. When you're finished, you click on the Apply button at the bottom of the options window.

12. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the options window.

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

14. 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 iTunes

You can download iTunes for Microsoft Windows here.

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

2. Open iTunes.

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

3. By default, iTunes will copy the songs to the “Music” folder on your computer. If you are okay with that, then continue with step 8.

But:

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

open itunes preferences

4. Click on Advanced.

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

itunes change media folder location

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

6. Select a location on your computer or select your USB thumb drive and then click on the Select Folder button.

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

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

itunes import cd button

A “Import Settings” window will appear.

9. 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.

10. At Setting, you can select a quality.

11. 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.

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

The newer versions of Nero work almost the same as the older versions, but there are still a few differences and because of that I decided to make two separate tutorials for older and newer versions.

Newer versions of Nero

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

2. Open Nero Burning Rom.

3. When the New Compilation window appears, you click on the Cancel button at the bottom right.

4. Click on Extras (top menu) and then click on Save Audio Tracks.

save audio tracks to hard drive in nero burning rom

A “Save Audio Tracks to Hard Drive” window will appear.

Nero will load your CD and display all the songs.

5. Click on the Output tab located at the top left of the “Save Audio Tracks to Hard Drive” window.

nero burning rom output tab

6. At Output directory, you can see the location on your PC where Nero will save the songs.

By default, Nero will copy the songs to the “Music” folder on your computer. If you are okay with that, then continue with step 8.

But:

If you want to select a different location on your computer or want to select a USB stick, then click on the Browse button.

A “Browse For Folder” window will appear.

7. Select a location on your PC or select your USB thumb drive and then click on the OK button.

8. At File format, you select an audio format (e.g., MP3, WMA, WAV, AIFF, OGG Vorbis, etc.).

select a audio format in nero burning rom

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

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

9. If you selected MP3 or OGG Vorbis, you select a quality at Quality.

select a audio output quality in nero burning rom

10. When you're ready, you click on the Copy button at the bottom of the “Save Audio Tracks to Hard Drive” window.

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

Older versions of Nero

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

2. Open Nero Burning Rom.

3. When the New Compilation window appears, you click on the Cancel button at the bottom right.

4. Click on Extras (top menu) and then click on Save Audio Tracks or Save Tracks.

save audio tracks in nero burning rom

A “Save Tracks” or “Save Audio Tracks” window will appear.

5. If a Choose Drive window appears, you select the drive that contains your audio CD and then click on the OK button.

This window only appears when you have multiple drives installed in your computer.

Nero will load your CD and display all the songs.

6. At Output file format, you select an audio format (e.g., MP3, WMA, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, etc.).

select audio format in nero

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

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

7. At Path, you can see the location on your PC where Nero will save the songs.

By default, Nero will copy the songs to the “Music” folder on your computer. If you are okay with that, then continue with step 9.

But:

If you want to select a different location on your computer or want to select a USB stick, then click on the Browse button.

A “Browse For Folder” window will appear.

8. Select a location on your PC or select your USB thumb drive and then click on the OK button.

9. When you're ready, you click on the Go button at the bottom of the “Save Tracks” or “Save Audio Tracks” window.

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