How to Copy Music to an External Hard Drive

How to Copy Music to an External Hard Drive
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Copying your music CD library to an external hard drive is a good way to reduce the wear and tear on your CDs as well as back up your music. While RealPlayer and other media players can be used to rip and play audio music files, we will explain how to rip, or otherwise copy music to an external hard drive using Windows Media Player.

If the music is already ripped, Windows Explorer can be used to copy the files to another location. Otherwise Windows Media Player can be used to rip the files directly to a backup device such as an external hard drive. The following steps can be used to accomplish this.

How to Copy Music Over

Step 1 - Insert the CD, which contains the music to be ripped, into the CDROM/DVD drive. In some cases a window will pop up with a list of actions that can be taken, including ripping the CD. Close this window, without taking an action, so you can specify exactly where the audio files will be copied once ripped.

Step 2 – Open Media Player and click “Tools” from the menu bar, then click “Options.” Click the “Rip Music” tab and then choose the external hard drive as the location to place the files.

Step 3 - While on the Rip tab, specify the format and audio quality in which the music is to be saved. Use the slider bar to choose the desired bit rate, bearing in mind that higher bit rates will slow down the ripping process and cause more storage space to be used. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Step 4 - Uncheck any the tracks that shouldn’t copied from the CD and click “Rip Music.” If all goes well the ripping process should start and can be monitored from the progress bar.

Step 5 - Remove the CD from the drive after the process is complete and access the external hard drive to verify that the files were copied correctly.

Why Ripping Process May be Slow

Both the speed of the CD drive and external drive interface can affect the ripping rate. Generally speaking, drives with IEEE 1494 (USB 2.0) interfaces will work faster than those running USB 1.1. However, there are changes that can be made to improve the rate at which files are ripped and copied to your external hard drive.

The device settings for your CD drive can affect CD ripping speed. Especially if your notice pops and hiccups in the ripped audio files while ripping from slower drives, you may need to rip in Analog instead of the default Digital mode. To access these settings for your device, do the following:

  1. From the Windows Media Player Tools menu, click Options.

  2. From the Devices tab, click the CD drive you are using and click properties.

Other Options For Copying Music to a Hard Drive

Even though Windows Media Player offers a quick and convenient way of copying music files to a hard drive, there are other media players that can be used to complete the process; MusicMatch, Rhapsody, Winamp and iTunes are just a few.


Rip music to an external hard drive