How to Copy a Music CD to a Flash Drive

Updated April 17, 2017

Copy a music CD to a flash drive in one of two ways; either copy the individual music files to the drive, or create a digital image of the disc and copy it. Both methods preserve the music data of the entire disc. While copying music files makes it easy for you to import the files onto another computer, a disc image gives you a backup of the disc from which you can easily recreate the disc.

Insert the music CD into your computer’s disc drive.

Open music playback software with a disc ripping feature. Many common players, including Windows Media Player, iTunes, Realplayer and Winamp, allow disc ripping.

Navigate to the “Rip” section of the software. Select all the songs on the CD, leaving songs you do not wish to copy unchecked. Click the “Rip” or “Copy” button to begin the process. Do not interrupt the rip, or the files may not transfer correctly.

Get the file path information for the song files. In Windows, right-click on a ripped song in the media player and click “Properties” to display this information. In OSX, hold the "Control" key and click on a file, then select “Get Info.”

Plug a flash drive into an open USB port on your computer. Make sure the drive has enough room for the music files.

Navigate to the file path of the music files and select each file by dragging a selection box around them, or just select the folder containing the files.

Drag the file or folder to the flash drive, located on the Desktop in OSX or the “My Computer” section of Windows, and wait for the files to complete the transfer.

Install and open a disc imaging program. OSX comes with Disc Utility pre-installed, but Windows users will have to download a program from the Internet. Daemon Tools, Alcohol 120%, or Nero can all make digital copies of discs.

Open your computer’s disc drive and insert the music CD.

Locate the “Disc Imaging” or “Disc Backup” section in the software. Select the drive with the music CD as the desired device, and set the save location on your hard drive. Some disc imaging programs allow you to choose a file type for the disc image. ISO is a common file type that works with many different programs, although other formats, such as MDX or MDS, may work as well.

Wait for the imaging to complete. Do not interrupt the imaging process, or you may need to start over.

Insert a flash drive into a USB port. Copy the completed disc image to the drive. Disc images may take up a considerable amount of space, so ensure that your drive has enough free space before beginning the transfer.

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About the Author

Andrew Mikael began writing in 2010. His articles appear on various websites, where he specializes in media and related technology. Mikael has a Bachelor of Arts in film from Montana State University.