Q: I have a massive collection of music CDs from over the years. I'm wondering if you could help me with a simple way to transfer these albums to my computer and then a portable device?
A: This is a great question from a listener in Melbourne, Florida. Transferring your albums is simple, let's walk you through the process.
Importing music into Windows Media Player
If you plan on listening to your music with an MP3 player that isn't made by Apple, you'll want to import your CDs into Windows Media Player. This is done through a process known as "ripping" a CD. You can also do this to import pictures and videos that you have stored on other gadgets.
When you rip music from a CD, you're copying the music from an audio CD to your PC. During this process, the Player compresses each song and stores it on your drive as a Windows Media Audio (WMA), WAV, or MP3 file. Ripped files are automatically saved to the Music folder but you can change the location using the options on the Rip settings tab.
Here are the steps to ripping music from a CD:
- Open Windows Media Player
- Insert an audio CD into the PC's CD drive
- Select the Rip CD button - If you don't want to rip every song, clear the checkboxes next to the songs you don't want
Note: Make sure your PC is connected to the internet if you want Windows Media Player to automatically get info about the songs, such as the name of the artist, the album and titles for tracks being ripped.
How to transfer music to an MP3 player
Once your music is ripped to Windows Media Player, you can transfer it to an MP3 player. To do this you need to sync your device. Here are those steps:
- Open Windows Media Player
- Connect your MP3 player to your computer using the included cable
- Enable or disable the Automatic Sync option - If enabled, your gadget will automatically sync each time it's connected to your computer
- All songs in Windows Media Player will show up on a playlist - If there are songs you don't want transferred to your MP3 player, uncheck the box next to each song you don't want moved
- Click Start Sync
When the syncing process is finished, it's safe to unplug your gadget and begin listening to your music.
Continue reading to learn how to import music for iOS gadgets.
Importing music from CDs into your iTunes library
If you plan on listening to music with an iPod or iPad, you'll want to import your CDs into iTunes. This can be done on both Mac and Windows computers.
When importing music from CDs into iTunes, the music is converted to an audio file format called the encoding format. The iTunes default format is the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding).
Use the default AAC encoding format to listen to songs in iTunes, on an iPhone or an iPad. Here are the steps to importing CDs into iTunes:
- Insert an audio CD into your computer's CD or DVD drive, or an external drive that's connected to your computer. If you don't see info for the CD, click the CD button near the top left of the iTunes window.
- Do one of the following: A. Import all songs on the CD: Click Yes in the window that appears. iTunes starts importing the CD. When it's finished, go to step 6. B. Prevent certain songs from being imported: Click No and go to step 3.
- When the list of songs appears in the iTunes window, click to remove the checkmark next to any songs that you do not want to import. Note: If you are not connected to the internet or iTunes can't find the CD's information, songs appear as "Track 01, Track 02" and so on.
- To add the selected songs to your library, click Import CD near the top right of the iTunes window.
- Select your import settings and click OK. To cancel importing, click Stop importing. Any songs that iTunes imports before you cancel importing are added to your library.
- When the songs are finished importing, click the Eject button next to the CD's name.
If you have trouble with importing music into iTunes, click here to go to its support page for help.
How to transfer music from your computer to an iPod or iPad
Now that you have your music saved in your iTunes library, you can transfer it to your iPod or iPad. You just need to sync your gadget with iTunes. Here are the steps for syncing:
- Open iTunes
- Connect your gadget to your computer using the included cable. Your connected device appears as an icon in the upper-left corner of the iTunes window.
- Click on the device icon. Look under Settings on the left side of the iTunes window for a list of the content types that you can sync from your iTunes library to your gadget.
- Click the content type that you want to sync - In this case, you'll select Music. You can also sync Movies, Photos and more.
- In the main iTunes window, click the box next to Sync to turn on syncing for that content type. If there's a check in the box, syncing for that content type is already on. If you see a message that your iOS device is synced with another iTunes library after clicking the box, your iOS device was previously connected to another computer. If you click "Erase and Sync" in that message, all content of the selected type on your iOS gadget is replaced with content from your computer. Content that you didn't turn on syncing for isn't deleted from your iOS gadget. You can only sync your iOS device with one iTunes library at a time.
- After you turn on syncing for a content type, you'll see additional options to customize your sync settings. Use these options to make sure that you're syncing the content that you want selected.
- Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each content type that you want to sync.
- Click the Apply button in the lower-right corner of the screen to save your sync settings. If syncing doesn't start automatically, click the Sync button. After syncing has been turned on, your content will sync each time that you connect your iOS gadget to your computer and have iTunes open.
That's it, now your music collection is saved to your computer and your iPod or MP3 player of choice. You can listen to hours of music without having to carry around all those bulky CDs. Nice!