Convert WMA from Windows Media Player into MP3 files?
I'm definitely going crazy here. I have a ton of CDs that I've ripped with Windows Media Player 10, but they're all apparently in WMA format, not the MP3 format that my new Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) needs for me to listen to them. I checked and there's no "save as" capability in WMP, so how the heck do I fix this problem?
This is an astonishingly common question for Sony PSP owners, a question sufficiently common that even Sony's heard your complaints: the latest version of the PSP firmware (version 2.6) includes the ability to play WMA (Windows Media, Audio) files directly on the PSP. I haven't tried it, and I have heard that some people are anxious that you have to be online when you accept the terms of the player upgrade, so your preference can be registered with The Man, but that's certainly one solution.
But there's another way to fix your audio files, a solution that works with all MP3-compatible players and will even let you then import your previously ripped CDs into Apple's iTunes. That's to use an audio conversion program, and whether you're a Mac or Windows person, there are oodles of 'em available.
For this article, I picked out the freeware application Switch for Windows, developed by a crack team of Australian programmers. (don't like that? Try the 24/7 supported application Smart Audio Converter instead)
The first thing I did was to rip a new music CD, Dave Grusin's The Gershwin Collection, with Windows Media Player. It looked like this as it was being ripped by WMP:
Click for fullsize image
Now, with that album ripped, I start up the Switch program and get, well, a blank window:
Click on "Add Folder" and I can select the newly ripped CD by looking in My Documents\My Music:
Almost ready to go. The last step, one that's not obvious when you first start working with Switch, is to pick the output format of your choice, as shown here:
I've chosen MP3, but you can see the program supports a wide range of options!
With the audio input files selected, the output format selected, and the destination disk specified, all that's left to do is select all the files to convert and click on the "Convert" button on the top right. You'll get a progress window like this:
When it indicates that the conversion is complete, voila, you now have MP3 audio files from your WMA format files. Quickly and easily done.
There are also Mac utilities for converting audio file formats, as I write about here: Converting WMA to MP3 on Mac OS X
Disclaimer: The Switch link is an affiliate link. You get the software at a discount and I get a few pennies commission on the sale. A win:win. FYI.
More Useful Windows PC Help Articles:
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Reader Comments To Date: 448
thanks! it looks great and i am using NoteBurner, a similar program. i will have a try and decide which one to use.
were have u been my whole life dave??? thx mate
WOW...perfect explanation! Keep on, keepin on
the switch program is a waste of time! Just change the option to rip as mp3 rather than wma in wmp.
Thanks alot, that program is the easiest on the web
OK where do I download the "Switch" program from?
When i convert the files on switch,
they come up with big red X's.
I downloaded itunes to my computer to try it, and it said it could copy the songs from Windows Media to it. Halfway through the 'copying process' the power went out. Turns out -- it didn't copy, it transfered half my music library to itunes while the other half is on Windows Media. What do I have to do to get my music library back on Windows Media? Itunes hasn't been of great help and I want to delete it off my computer but dare not risk loosing half my library. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Does anyone know how to disable the feature in Internet Explorer 7 that causes web pages to stop when inactive for a long time?
Microsoft is of no help :-(
Whe I try and send a large file with YouSendIt it sometimes takes a couple of hours to upload the file and I have to leave the page active (not hitting the "back" button).
After a 1/2 hour or so I get a message asking me if I want to navigate away from the page or cancel.
When I hit the "cancel" button it screws up my file and I have to start uploading the file all over again.
Frustrating to say the least.
Any help would be welcome :-)
I have the version 9.0 window media player i have a cd i trying to download my music in psp sony it dont let me go in my system i dont know i did it right or what can you help me out please.
I have a question that's somewhat related to this. I used the free trial offer with urge to download a few dozen songs. When the trial period ended, the songs were no longer accessible on either my Zen:M or on my PC. I wasn't expecting it but wasn't surprised. I don't want to buy the monthly subscription because I'd have to pay every month just to listen to the same songs, and I don't expect to download that many more. My question is: Is there a way to pay for the songs I've already downloaded. Urge customer support appears to be a dead letter drop -- no response. Any ideas?
It seems that all the tracks you've downloaded were most likely in the (license required) .wma format and that's why you can't play them now that the trial period has ended.
I'm not sure how you can buy the tracks you've already downloaded from Urge (I don't trust any of the music download services) but you can do what I've done with .wma tracks I've downloaded from Napster and that is to convert the tracks to .mp3 format.
This way you'll have them forever and be able to play them on any equipment; PC, car stereo, etc.
If you want to do that, go to http://www.e-soft.co.uk/MediaAudioCapture.htm and try out Media Audio Capture Ver. 4.1. It will batch convert up to 999 tracks at a time and I promise you - it does work exactly as promised.
I've converted close to 7,000 tracks so far.
It's not the most legal thing to do but I figure that, since I'm "renting" the tracks by paying Napster to let me play them I'm going to convert them to .mp3 and not feel bad about it.
Good luck and don't hesitate to let me know if you have any trouble :-)
Ok. Switch is a demo only, and this MediaAudioCapture is payware.
Any tips to functional and free (as in zero cost whatsoever) programs?
Thanks Don. I downloaded Media Audio Capture. It looks pretty simple, but the encoded license in the songs I downloaded from Urge seems to prevent it from being able to read them. I wonder if it will work on Itunes downloads...hmmm.
You're welcome George.
In my experience using Media Audio Capture, if you're able to play .wma files at all then the program should be able to convert them.
Sometimes I'll download a .wma file and I'll get a lemon which, of course, won't be converted in which case I'll re-download the file again and it usually works.
That may be the problem you're having.
.WMA audio files (thanks to Microsoft) are probably the most Fort Knox-like, encoded with DRM, files I've worked with but the program converts them as easy as a hot knife through butter.
Check the .wma files you're downloading to see if Windows Media Player will play them without demanding a license.
If they play than they should be able to be converted.
Let me know of any further troubles you may have and I can contact tech support as I'm a registered user.
Yes, Media Audio Capture IS "payware" but after downloading and installing some 20 different "converter" programs that don't work as promised, I gladly paid the $24.95 for the program and have found it to be the best at what it does.
That said I don't know of any free programs that will actually work to convert heavily DRM encoded .wma files to .mp3, .wav, .au or any other format.
If you find one that works and is free all I can say is more power to you :-)
Don, I think the problem was the encoding, and I can't break through it. Urge encoded them all with DRM with a self-destruct date, and I could not play them after that.
Frankly,that didn't bother me as much as the fact that I could not then go back to Urge and pay for those songs to unlock them. I either had to download them all again, after paying for them, or I had to subscribe on a monthly basis, in which case they would unlock them -- on a monthly basis. I would also then have to re-synch my Creative Zen player every month, and keep paying for life in order to listen to those songs.
So I discovered something else. I can download songs from iStore for 99 cents each -- and I really don't mind doing that -- burn them to CD and then rip the CD to my Creative Zen. Still a lot of work, but I now have them on CD as well as on the Zen.
And much more satisfying than falling giving in to the Urge.
Thank you for setting up this webpage. It has really enlightened me and enabled me to convert my wma files to mp3. Thank you so much. :-)
Hello again George,
Another thing you can do is sign up for a free trial with Napster (for about 7 days I think), download as many songs as you can convert in that time and then simply enjoy em'.
I pay $9.95 for a monthly subscription to Napster and just as soon as I download a track I convert it to .mp3 so if I decide not to stay with them I'll still have all the music I downloaded.
What's nice about them also is that, if you get a new computer or hard drive, you can copy your entire library to the other computer.
Hope this helps. It's cheaper than paying $.99 for each track.
As an aside, I'd stay away from the music download services such as MusicDownload, Inc. as most of them don't have nearly the selection of Napster although they brag about having millions more tracks in .mp3.
I could hardly find anything I wanted and getting a refund took a lot of email tag and hassle.
hi i just got a new computer with vista and i ripped a cd on my Windows xp and i tryed puttin that music on my new computer but it doesn't play and i try converting it but it won't convert but it's a wma file and it won't even play at all is there anything i can do with these tracks please help thank u
Hi Dave. I purchased a Conet 526 mp3/mp4 player. It does not have a battery, but a charger. When I place the mp3/mp4 to re-charge and then take it off, (after 4 hours) the mp3 battery indicator says its low. Can you help me?
Thanks so much for this information to "Switch." As I was wasting time last night trying to combine tracks of a book on CD into one big one, I could not get the "joining" software to work wtih the WMA files. Switch was PERFECT at converting them to MP3's (that the joiner could work with). Thanks a ton. Peter - Birmigham, AL
Great site, unfortunately I'm not sure I found an answer to my ? yet. I've downloaded some music to my MP3 player, some tracks came over with the Artist/Album/Title info intact, while others did not. I've tried going into properties of individual files, changing names, changing file extensions. I've gotten some to switch over and display title and album, but most don't. The biggest problem I think are files that are "read-only" and won't accept the change to the tags that I make. Any ideas? It seems the ones that didn't transfer are all .wma files, but I'm not sure. Thanks!
Well, if you haven't gotten coversion of wma to mp3 done, go get Jodix wma to mp3 converter. It's free.
Load in the wma files, click convert after figuring out where converted files are saved.
In WMP, go to options, and rip section, you can change file type so that WMP always rip in mp3 instead of wma
Well... I cant say more than thx very very much for such an amazing web site!!!
Go On.. U ROCK!!!
Thank you so much for the SWITCH software information. I have been going to the library to borrow CD's and ripping them with WMP onto an external hard drive (approximately 1500 albums so far). When I first started, I was ripping them as .wma but a friend recommended .mp3 instead (which is why I'm here). The switch software seems to have worked beautifully. However, something fishy has happened. Now, when I update my WMP library, there are literally thousands of tracks that have been renamed to another song. It is still the same song but it is called something else. For example The Beatles' "Love Me Do" still plays as "Love Me Do" but in the library it comes up as Winton Marsalis' "Jubilo" from the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra's "Jump Start and Jazz" album (and I do have this album on my hard drive but, in fact, there are now hundreds of songs called "Jubilo" in the WMP library). Have you heard of this problem before and do you know how I can fix it? I wouldn't want to have to go through the "Find Album Info" exercise for thousands of songs.
Thanks in advance.
Hi everyone. I was just wondering if there is any way to put or convert videos from WMP to itunes. I have all these awesome videos i just got, but was disappointed to learn i could not put them on my ipod. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to tell me how to get these videos from WMP to itunes. thanks
You can choose the output file type in WMP10+ in the preferences/options. 95% of people never look in options/preferences of any program.
Switch did not work for me -- error message that the .wma files could not be opened? Any ideas?
I need help taking songs from my itunes and placing them in my window media player library.
I did it before, yesterday as a matter of fact. But I can't remember what I actually did. I know I dragged a couple of songs from itunes to window media and it did it. Or is there a way I can use my mp3 player with my itunes to get the music I already have with itunes?
I have the exact opposite problem from most of the post here. I have a mac and lots of MP3s...but I want to play them on my verizon samsunp a930 phone. Vcast music software does not recognize/play mp3...only WMA format. I need to convert songs from mp3 to wma to play them on my phone.
Got a fix for that one? :-)
i have an mp3 player with only 20 songs on it. How do i put more songs on it without ripping a cd and puting songs on it.
I am using "Switch" to convert real audio to mp3. It is a two hour long file. No matter what I choose for encoder settings it is converted to mono and not stereo. I know that the source can be converted to stereo, because another software product convert it to stereo, but that software would not convert the entire file. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Salam 4 every one,
it is good for use but i want to convert vedio (WMP.*.*) files into 3gp file....
who can help me in this matter .. ?
God bless you.
When i was trying to convert my wma files to mp3 files using switch, the switch programme said it had crashed! also it said the wma files could not be opened! i tried doing it again but it crashed again! what has gone wrong?
Hey, I've lost many nights of sleep and headaches untill today. I have the program Audacity and was trying to load songs of my Windows media player into it. And then use audacity to mix the songs, add bass, slow or speed up, etc. NOTHING would work, nothing. Untill I stumbled onto this page about the switch software. The light at the end of the tunnel wasn't an on comming train after all. It was relief. Thank you!
OMG!! thank you so much, i have been looking for a solution to this problem for ages. now i can convert my wma files to mp3 and listen to them on my treo. i know that you can convert the files to mp3 directly on wmp but i have version 9 and do not have vista so it's not an option for me. thank you so much dave, love the site great info here.
does this converter convert protected wma files?
I need some serious help, Cause I dont know if I have the Switch program? Im not following how to change them to Mp3's. So please help me.
I am hoping you can help me! I have itunes (of course i have an ipod) i have alot of music on there that i would like to share with my friend who has a gigabeat, gigabeat only allows WMP i am unable to transferr the music into WMP from itunes can you help me
such a long story and no even a single word about Audacity. It's sourceforge, free, lot's of audio editing features and is able to capture protected wma music played from Win media player. It can export to mp3, wav or ogg formats.
Google for it, won't be dissapointed.
Thnx dave i can play 30 seconds on ym phone now your great!!!
Honestly, I'm a big fan of Audacity and use it for all my audio editing tasks. Never really thought of it as a simple audio conversion tool. Great tip!!
Now that I fixed my problem with WPA to MP3.
Now I have Express Burner downloaded on my computer which is great because I am using a scrapbook software to make like a movie for my kids. And was wondering how to get it onto a DVD so they could watch it on T.V. instead of my computer. What do I do know that I have that Express Burner I see that it has DVD burning but when I insert a disk it says there are no disk in there. Do I need to buy something special for a DVD disk?
Oh my, thank you so much for this!! your a legend in my books
NoteBurner can do this i easier and cheaper way. It installs virtual drive and we do not need to burn real discs but burn on virtual disc.
Dave, I'm Priya from India... I know very little about computers.
I have ACER system in which I've my music stored as wma files... Please can you tell me how to convert these files to mp3 format.
BTW.. I went throught the replied that you've given above.. can you plz tell me from where do I download switch..
Thank you so much! I was so angry, because I could NOT for the life of me convert my WMA files to mp3 files, from a CREATIVE product to an iPod, and now I can! Thanks!
Hi Dave. It's Alaine again. I was SO excited (see above wall-post), but it didn't work. Switch tells me the files cannot be opened, and I thinks its because they are WMA-protected. Any ideas on how I can decode them?
i hav the same problem but i cant find this switch program on mi lap top i hav bought a c.d and well it comes up as wma and can i chage it to mps????
i want to transfer pics from my kodak share camera to the computer then to a dvd that will play in a dvd player. i tried this and it works on my dvd player but not my moms or brothers dvd player. what kind of dvd do i use and how do i do it to work on everyones dvd player? thanks
There is no problem to convert ANY WMA file which you can play on your PC with Windows Media Player. Even if you occasionally ripped your music from CD to copy-protected WMA (look at WMP options attentively), you can always convert WMA to MP3 using software like TuneRaft from http://www.any-wma-to-mp3.com/
I haven't actually tried this with DRM-WMA files (but have with other audio sources) but the same makers of Switch also make an audio editor called WavePad. You can use this to record audio being played on your computer (including beeps so turn those off while you're recording). This can be saved in various formats including mp3 until the trial license expires. After that you can only save as WAV. WAV files are large but you can then use some free encoder (e.g., iTunes) to convert those into MP3. This is essentially what all these various utilities seem to be doing; they just do it in one step.
Thanks for the info on this and the corresponding free software "Switch" to perform the conversion. One gripe though, THANKS to the makers of SWITCH for adding over 2 dozen un-necessary links to my program listing and installing the crappy "Install on Demand" client. Was really happy to clean that mess up when all I wanted was a simple download. IDIOTS.
I TRIED IT AND IT WORKED!
THANK YOU SO MUCH DAVE!
I did everything you told me to do, but it failed every single time. What do I do?
Can you help, I have WMA files ripped from cd's and tried converting them using switch and changed output to mp3 but when i checked the file sizes they are pretty much the same still 3 and 4 mb, the extensions have changed though, I thought they should have been smaller? i am only new to this so i am not sure what to expect.
Years ago, when i first got my PC i ripped ALL my cds unknowingly into wma format as i was a noob and didnt know/care the difference. Today as a proud geek, i need them to be in mp3's and didn't know how to convert until i read your tutorial.
Just wanted to say ty for saving me days of time that i would have spent reripping if it wasn't for you taking the time to post this!
Dave, after reading one of the comments above, i do not want additional software, program links and clients installed on my computer.
Is there another "clean" software that we can use that will do the same job?
I would just like to say, THANKS A MILLION mate.
I was going bonkers trying to work out how to do this without having to stuff around with Itunes. Your brilliant man!!!!
Much love, From a Chick in Oz
ohk so here my problem i recorded a cd of my own songs and all the songs in it appear to be 1 kb and when i try sending it to people by either email or transfering suring a chat it doesnt open in their computers whys that and any ideas to help them work plz thank u
Fantastic info, a great help. I couldnt find a decent program until i read your page!
Can anyone help???
Ive got a wav file song and want to convert it into mp3 can i do this using windows media player?
Well, I have tried EVERYTHING. Even a few things that you all did not meantion here. I have learned a few things about WMA though. They can be encoded into anything. Meaning that a WMA extension doesn't mean it's Microsoft that encoded it. In fact, there is a program that I tried on a WMA that I used as a test file. It stripped it. But only because it's on my drive as a Microsft file. I then tried other WMA files that were encoded differently. But I couldn't Strip it.
So, bottom line? You cannot strip or convert a WMA file unless you own the DRM to it. If it doesn't have a DRM, then no prob. But if you yourself did not rip it to your drive off of an Actual Audio CD, then you will not be able to Rip it unless you have the DRM for it. In fact, all the Convertors meantioned on this page had a message saying that you MUST own the rights to the WMA / MP4 file. I spent a lot of time and resources figuring this out. Did you know that REAL PLAYER has their own version of a WMA file? So, if you read everything on this page and cannot convert, then it means the program that encoded it is NOT on your computer and / or you dont have the DRM to it.
But who knows.. Maybe tomorrow someone will figure it out. (Todays date should be noted.)
Dave.... you are BRILLIANT!!!
i cant convert it says it is protected by napster can you help??
I use MelodyCan (http://www.convert-any-media.com) to convert protected files. It`s fast, simple and suitable to use.
A program called NoteCable can also do this!
it installed virtual sound card and then uses this to record the protected music in plain mp3 and wav format
With WMP 11 it is much easier. Right click the logo (top left) Click Tools, Options..., Rip Music, Format: MP3.
No outside programs are necessary, just rip it directly into mp3 format.
Okay I can't tell whether or not you have answered this question or not...I bought several episodes of a tv show off of Itunes...and now I am trying to make it possible to play those episodes in my Windows Media Player...I burned the videos to a DVD but I think they burned as a data file...do you know of any way that I can get it to convert from Itunes video to play in Windows Media Player??
You should check that your recommended software isn't infected with malware/viruses/etc before you recommend it, Dave.
I installed Switch, and it was bundled with malware! What fun it has been to remove the spyware and sundry screwed registry files, trojans, dialers, etc. Instead of installing one program, I installed twenty-six! Thanks A LOT.
I recommend that, next time, you check download.com, which verifies programs as malware-free.
I found ConvertLite is a malware-free conversion application.
YOU are a kind and generous person, and EYE am a grateful person.
Thanks dude, you made ripping fun :)
I need to convert my music that is wma format to mp3 format but it says it protected. Hoe do I go about geting tha done?
i am still like so confused i dont understand how to put music on my mp3!?!?!?
This has been so helpful, thank you so much, I was giving my Dad my old MP3 player for a Christmas present and was wanting to load some Golf podcasts on it from Itunes. However the MP3 player was a Creative MuVO and was too old to recognise the MP3 files I put on it (it works with wma files). However this program you recommended converted the MPEG-4 files from Itunes into WMA files quickly and easily, and your step-by-step run through helped tremendously. Once again thank you very much Dave, now my Dad gets to enjoy "Golf Talk" thanks to you!
Please help someone that knows next to nothing about PC. I'm trying to download a DVD that was made for me and it's not protected, to my PC. But I can't because I don't know how, every way I tried didn't work I have Vista with Roxio, Windows Media player, Windows Media center, and windows DVD Maker installed in my dell PC. Can you please tell me how to download a DVD movie into my PC? Also is there a software that allows to download protected DVD?
Thank you, Tony.
This error keeps popping up when I try to convert my WMP playlist to MP3s. The format is .wpl and it says the specified source format could not be read. PLEASE HELP!
Just a quick question. Its late and I didn't check to see if anybody already asked this already. Instead of using that conversion program is there a way to convert an entire library of WMA files over to MP3 with the windows media program itself? I didn't know that I could adjust the rip settings until I just read your other page about it. Thats great for the future but what about the rest of my library that is already in windows media player as WMA files? Can I get Windows media player to change the entire library over to MP3 by itself?
10x man that was really good information
hi dave, i have downloaded alot of albums of music from mininova and a bunch of other software
and found out that it was pirated software and the penalties were enormous( up to 250,000 dollars in fines for every piece of pirated software and five years in prison) and just deleted it all. im not trying to be a prick of anything but is converting protected music legal?
None of those programs worked at DRM removal excepting that NoteCable one at the end. It was easy to use, no fussing with imputs & encoders and no trying to figure the program out. EASY. Yay.
I'm trying to put legally obtained stories onto my phone chip, but the program that's supposed to do that doesn't see my portable device, so what else am I supposed to do?
ok. i download my music at walmart.com. there they have some songs that are mp3 and some that are wma. most of the songs are wma. it there any way i can convert my wma songs i download to mp3 or aac for itunes without downloading any software or buying anything or burning them onto cds??
hey where do i get "the switch" softwear???
Hi. Thank you for all your help. It was confusing at first, but I got the hang of it. But I do have one problem; when I go and listen to some of my tracks, they do not work and then the title just says "Corrupted Data" and I have to delete it. how do I fix this problem?
do you need internet to music on your psp
Hey man, i just bought an iriver and its obviously not compatible for itunes of which i previously used. how do i convert all my music from itunes back to windows media player.
I am currently using this prog to convert all my 320kbps MP3's to 128kbps....what a very useful peice of kit!!
This is gonna free up one hell of a chunk of hard disk space!!!
Why did I choose 320kbps in the first place? WHO KNOWS!!!!
how do u change a name on ure computer to stay de same on ure device...eg mp3/mp4/
Is there any way to take songs off of websites like imeem and convert them into a MP3 format? There are some songs on that site that I really want but can't find the C.D. anywhere!
now, this may seem like a stupid question but here it is. i'm trying to put music from my computer to my sony mp3. but, every time i try, it aways says an error has occured. it never says what kind of error or how i can fix it. my mp3 isn't full because it said i only used 33% of it. i hope you can help.
useful for mp3 player, added to favorites. I also use Eufony from http://www.softe.net to convert wma to mp3.
I have bought 712 protected .wma files from Walmart over the last four years and now am faced with the only mp3 player available to play them being their 1 gb player. I'd like to buy an Ipod or something else with more storage.
Currently Walmart does not have any way for us to convert our files or redownload them for free, which I find infuriating.
I need something to batch-convert these files - am I correct after reading all of the above that MediaAudioCapture from that UK site is the way to go? Has anyone had problems with malware from it?
I need something that is safe for my computer, easy to use and will batch-convert (I don't care how long it takes, I just don't want to have to do them one at a time or burn them to CD first). I'm willing to pay up to $40 for it.
I'm in my 40s and just want the music I've legally bought - don't care about album art & all that.
sup omg i waz on the computer for about 3 hours trying to get music on my psp but it didnt work i tried to sink it but it didnt work i tried to rip it didnt work i tried everything i have media player and idk wat to do please HELP ME DAVE!
Dave, I read about you in Michael Banks' Blogging Heroes and, coincidentally, needed to convert WMA files to MP3 format. I just wanted to say thanks for this post and thanks for what you're doing online!
I got the slim psp and i try to sync my music from WMP and the file under music in my psp shows the name of the band and I try to play it and it says no tracks and Im like what the hec is going on?
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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