How Do I Disable DRM in Windows Media Player?

Updated April 17, 2017

Use Windows Media Player (WMP) to remove or disable Digital Rights Management (DRM) in existing files, but you can keep WMP from including DRM in music files that you rip from CDs. The process is different depending on which version of WMP you are using. DRM licenses can be backed up on WMP versions before 11. Also, you can remove DRM from an audio or a video file using another program, but the process may not be legal.

Right-click on the "Programs" window and select "More options" if you are in "Now Playing Mode." If you are in "Library Mode," select the "Organize" tab and open "Options" from the drop-down list. In other versions of WMP, go to the "Tools" menu and select the "Options" menu.

In WMP 11, select the "Rip Music" tab. In other versions of WMP, select the "CD Audio" tab.

In WMP 11, make sure the box that says "Copy-protect music" under the "Rip settings" section is not checked. In other WMP versions, uncheck the box that says "Enable Digital Rights Management." In all versions, you can change the file format to "MP3" from "WMA" to disable DRM. The MP3 file format does not use DRM.

If you have DRM-protected files, you can back up the licenses in pre-WMP 11 versions. To do so, open the "Tools" menu and click on "Manage Licenses" or "License Management", depending on the version you are using. Click on the "Change" option, locate where you wish to back up the DRM licenses and select "Back Up." Restore licenses by locating the backed-up version through the same menu. Alternately, disable the DRM on the audio files by burning the audio files to a CD and re-ripping them to the computer with DRM disabled.

If backing up and restoring DRM licenses does not work, you can remove the DRM from the files. It may not be legal to remove DRM from music you bought online. However, if you ripped the files from music you own on CDs, you can remove the DRM instead of re-ripping every disc. Alternately, use one of the DRM removal programs listed in Resources to remove DRM from your files.


The retailer you purchased the DRM-protected files from may lift restrictions on removing the DRM.


While it is possible to remove DRM from files you did not make yourself, you may run the risk of legal prosecution for removing the DRM if it is illegal to do so where you live.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows Media Player
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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.