How to Transfer Music to a PC

By Dan Stone
Your computer can store all of your music if you have the correct equipment.

Transferring music to a PC can be quick and easy if you're copying the music from another PC or a CD. However, transferring music to a PC from a cassette or vinyl record can be very time consuming and may require extensive setup. PCs commonly use the file formats MP3, WMA and M4A to store music in file compression formats, but there are other file formats that preserve the original recording quality.

From CDs and Hybrid SA-CDs

Insert the disc in the PC's disc drive.

Open a music downloading program, such as Windows Media Player or iTunes.

Press the "Rip" button in WMP or the "Import" button in iTunes.

From A Portable MP3 Player

Connect the MP3 player to the PC.

Go to "My Computer" in Windows Explorer and open the MP3 player's file directory.

Select the music files you want to transfer to the PC, right click, and select copy.

Open the music file location on the PC in Windows Explorer. The file folder usually is located in "My Documents" or "My Music."

Right click in music library directory and select "Paste."

From PC To PC

Connect the external hard drive to the source computer.

Find the music files on the source computer, highlight the files, select "Copy," and "Paste" to place the files to a folder on the external hard drive.

Disconnect the hard drive from the source computer, and connect it to the receiving computer.

Locate the music on the external hard drive, highlight it, select "Copy," and "Paste" to place the music directory on the receiving PC.

Audio Cassettes, Vinyl Records and Other Formats

Connect the 3.5mm output on the back of the receiver or audio device to the computer's line-in jack with a 3.5mm cable and a 3.5mm to RCA converter. If the computer doesn't have a line-in jack, use the microphone jack.

Press "Play" on the audio source.

Configure the computer's recording volume. In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and select the "Control Panel." Select the "Hardware and Sound" option and click on the "Sound" text. Select the recording tab, highlight the "Line-in" option (or microphone if the computer doesn't have line-in) and select "Configure." The computer should guide you through the rest of the process.

Open the Audacity recording program. In the program, go to "Edit," "Preferences," and then the "Audio I/O" tab. Set the channels to the "2 (Stereo)" option.

Restart the track on the audio device and pause it. Press the "Record" button in Audacity and press "Play" on the audio device. Press the "Stop" button when the song finishes playing and go to "File," export as MP3," and save the file to the computer.

Tip

You also can transfer music from computer to computer via a network, flash drives or burnable discs, but the external hard drive tends to be the easiest to get working.

Digital Rights Management can keep you from copying music files from digital sources.

Some MP3 players won't let you copy the music off the player on to a different computer.

About the Author

Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.