If you've amassed a collection of physical audio CDs that you now want to transfer to your portable music player, then you will need to extract (or rip) the audio on them to a digital music format. Windows Media Player 11 can extract the digital information on your physical CDs and encode it to several digital audio formats; you can then transfer the files to your MP3 player, burn to MP3 CD, USB drive etc. CD Ripping allows you to listen to your entire music collection while keeping the originals in a safe place; sometimes CDs can suffer accidental damage that can render them unplayable. From a convenience point of view, having your music collection stored as audio files enables you to enjoy all your music without the hassle of wading through a stack of CDs looking for a particular album, artist, or song.
Legal Notice: Before continuing this tutorial, it is imperative that you do not infringe on copyrighted material. Distributing copyrighted works in the United States by any means is against the law and you could face being sued by the RIAA; for other countries please check your applicable laws. The good news is that you can usually make a copy for yourself as long as you have purchased a legitimate CD and don't distribute; read the Dos and Don'ts of CD ripping for more information.
The latest version of Windows Media Player 11 (WMP) can be downloaded from Microsoft's website. When you are ready to begin, run WMP and click on the small arrow icon which is situated below the Rip tab (highlighted blue in the above image) at the top of the screen. A popup menu will appear displaying several menu items – click on More Options to access Media Player's rip settings.