How to Unprotect WMA Music Files (9 Steps)

By Tammy Clevenger

A file with the WMA file extension is a Windows Media Audio file. The WMA file type is a native, often protected Windows Media Player sound file and may be opened and played with the player. The quickest and easiest way to unprotect a WMA is to convert the WMA file to an MP3 or other non-protected file type. Windows Media Player will convert the WMA file by "ripping" the file to an MP3 or WAV file from within the player interface. Note that the "Rip" option in WMP 12 is only available when a CD or DVD disk is found in the drive. Burn your WMA files to CD to rip them to MP3s using Windows Media Player 12. Previous versions of WMP will allow you to rip a WMA file to an MP3 file.

Step 1

Insert the CD containing the WMA files and click the "Open in Windows Media Player" option, when prompted, if autorun is enabled. If autorun is not enabled, double-click on the WMA file to open the file in Windows Media Player. The file will begin playing.

Step 2

Press the "Alt" and "F" keys simultaneously to open the menu in Windows Media Player 12. Click the "View" option from the context menu in WMP 12, or from the top navigation bar in previous versions of Windows Media Player.

Step 3

Click the "Now Playing" option. The Now Playing window opens.

Step 4

Press the downward pointing arrow under the "Rip" button and click "More Options." The Options dialog box opens.

Step 5

Click the "Rip Music" tab and then select the "Format" drop-down box. Choose the "MP3" or "WAV" format for converting the WMA file. Either file format conversion will unprotect the WMA audio file.

Step 6

Click the "Change" button and navigate to a location where the converted audio files will be saved.

Step 7

Select the "File Name" button and type a name for the new ripped audio file. Click "OK."

Step 8

Check the checkbox next to the "Rip CD When Inserted" option, if desired, and click "OK."

Step 9

Select the "Rip CD" button in WMP 12, or the "Rip" option on the top navigation bar in previous versions of the player. The WMA file that is playing in the player is ripped to an unprotected MP3 or WAV file.