How to Copy Music From CD to Computer

by Joshua Reed Stuart ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • CDs

  • Computer

  • MP3/WMA/AAC library software (iTunes, Windows Media Player, Audacity) or ripping software

You might find that you eventually want to keep a large music library on your computer. You may get tired of reloading the same CD time after time, so consider converting them to MP3s or a similar format for long-term storage on your computer. Copying CD music to your computer is a relatively easy process. Make sure that you are only making copies for your personal use and not infringing on any copyright laws.

Copying Direct

Load the CD into the computer's CD drive.

Open the Finder (on a Mac) or the My Computer folder (on a PC). Locate the CD drive once the disc loads.

Double-click the CD drive. This should open a new window showing you a list of files, usually something like "Audio Track 1.WAV (or AIF)....Audio Track 2.WAV..."

On your desktop, or in your music media library, create a new folder and drag all the audio files from the CD to the new folder. This will create a duplication of the CD at the highest quality on your hard drive but will also require the most space. A typical audio CD holds between 400 and 700 megabytes of audio data.

MP3/AAC/WMA Rip Method

Open your computer's music library software (iTunes, Windows Media Player).

Insert the music CD into the CD drive.

Wait for the disc to load. If you have Internet access, the music library software should automatically connect to the Internet CDDB (Compact Disc Database) and download all artist, song, and album information. If it does not do this, you might have to enter the name of the artist, album and song titles manually.

Once the CD information has been identified, select "Import Audio CD" from the file menu of your music library software.

The ripping process should take about five to 10 minutes. Once it is done you will have all the music from the CD imported into your computer's music library as compressed audio files and should only take up about 30 to 50 megabytes.

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About the Author

Joshua Reed Stuart is a music and culture writer from Portland, Ore. Beginning his professional career in 2000, his work has appeared in "The Iowa Review," "Poetry International" and other domestic and international journals. Stuart also works as a tutor, musician and sound designer. He holds an M.F.A. in writing from Pacific University.

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