How Do I Play a WAV File on a PC?

by Steve McDonnell

A WAV file contains raw sound, such as a ring tone, a song, a podcast or a sound effect. You can play a WAV file by double-clicking the file or by right-clicking the file and choosing "Play." Windows uses the default media player designated for WAV files, which is Windows Media Player, unless you've changed it. However, any media player can play a WAV file, including Real Player, VLC and QuickTime.

Converting WAV to MP3

Because WAV files contain raw sound data, they can be very large, so it's not the ideal format for storing music on a music player with a limited amount of memory. Most songs you purchase and download are converted into a format such as MP3, which compresses the WAV file to make it smaller, but in a way that preserves the sound quality. An MP3 file can be 15 times smaller than the WAV file from which it's created.

About the Author

Steve McDonnell's experience running businesses and launching companies complements his technical expertise in information, technology and human resources. He earned a degree in computer science from Dartmouth College, served on the WorldatWork editorial board, blogged for the Spotfire Business Intelligence blog and has published books and book chapters for International Human Resource Information Management and Westlaw.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images