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What To Do If CD Won't Copy to Hard Drive

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/7/2010

What do you do if the music folders on a CD won't copy to the hard drive? There can be a number of reasons why music from a CD isn't copying to your hard drive and this article goes over some of those.

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    Why Copy Music to the Hard Drive?

    In this day and age of portable devices and extra hard drive space, it isn't unheard of for people to bring over their movies, projects, and music to a digital format. When computers first began to use CD-ROM drives, it made listening to music so much easier. No need to break out the CD player or hook up the stereo in order to hear that one song that got caught in your head.CD 

    Copying a CD to the hard drive of a computer allows for easy access, as well as keeping that favorite CD from being scratched during prolonged use. Also, having music on the computer makes it easier to transfer to MP3 players and music enabled cell phones or other devices. Sometimes though, the music doesn't copy as well as you would like or doesn't copy at all.

    Below are some reasons as to why those music folders on that CD aren't copying to the hard drive. This article goes on the assumption that the user has a CD ripping program, either Windows Media Player, Roxio, Nero, or another program. The article also assumes that the CD in question belongs to the user.

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    Problems & Solutions

    1. Copyrightcopyright

    With the emergence of peer to peer software that allows a user to download anything from music to TV shows to video games, the question of copyright infringement has been the main opposition to downloading. Manufacturers and companies are now cracking down on those illegal copies that float around on the internet, as well as those that upload the material and those that download it. Of course if you own the material, you may think you can do what you want with it and while true in some aspects, that's not always the case.

    If you are having issues trying to copy your CD to your hard drive, take a look at the cover of the case or even look up the artist or recording studio's policy on copyright. There may be something within the CD itself that prevents you from making a bootleg - essentially making copies to give to your friends or others who haven't purchased the material. This is true on some CDs that also act as DVDs for use in a CD/DVD-ROM; in this event, depending on the musician and company, you may need to sign an agreement or verify that you are the owner of the material and aren't going to be distributing it to others.

    2. CD

    If you've bought the CD or verified that you are the owner and you are still having problems, the easiest method is to check the CD itself. Scratches and dirt make it hard for the computer drive to read the information, thus making it difficult to copy over files to the hard drive. Clean the CD using a soft cloth or buy a CD cleaning kit, which comes with a cloth, a special type of cleaning solution, and even an object to clean the CD. Afterwards, try to bring the music over that way.

    3. Software Program

    Going with the first issue of copyright, make sure the program you're using to copy the CD allows for copying of copyright material. Both Windows Media Player and Roxio do not copy material if the software deems it copyright infringement. Again, double check that the musician and the studio allow for their CD to be copied.

    Also, check the program itself. Did you run a trial version and now the trial is over? Trial versions are good to test the program, however, after the trial is over, the program may limit some of the functions or stop running all together. You can try another trial or purchase the program.

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    On page two of this Bright Hub article, the continuation of what to do when the music folders on a CD won't copy to the hard drive.
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    4. Music Type

    So far, this article assumes that the music folders on a CD won't copy to the hard drive, and that the CD in question is a manufactured one from a particular group or recording company. But what if the CD is user created? By that I mean that the CD is user made, with certain types of music on it from different genres and artists.

    If that's the case, there's another issue. Certain players play certain types of music formats. The most popular is MP3 or WAv format; however there are other formats, like those that may only play with Real Player, QuickTime or even iTunes. In this case, you may want to keep track of which formats play in which players. MP3s are fairly universal, but MP4s are usually only playable on iPods and some mobile phones.

    If you have this type of CD, the best thing is to get the program from which the music will play. Luckily, Real Player, QuickTime, and iTunes are all free for downloading. If the CD was copied using another form of software like Nero or Roxio, there are free trial versions that you can try. You can also look up any issues that you may have with files that were copied using their program.

    5. Music Player

    As mentioned above, the type of player may also stop you moving music folders from a CD. Most music players have the option of copying (or ripping) music from a CD and placing it on the hard drive, usually in the music folder. Some players will only play a specific type of music format, like the iPod with MP4s. If using WMP, it will play WAV and MP3 formats, but may have issues with others unless codecs are installed for them.


    Sometimes simply installing codecs can work, but again, it could also be an issue with the player itself. Trying different players may work; if using WMP, try using Real Player or the DivX player. Again, both are free for download.

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    There are many reasons as to why music folders on a CD won't copy to a hard drive. Checking and cleaning the CD is usually the best and easiest of the ways to resolve the problem. Music formats, the CD program, the player, and even the copyright may restrict you from moving the music folders on a CD to the hard drive. In those cases, research into what the issue could be and how it can be resolved and you may find a solution to this frustrating problem.