Windows 11 update brings back ripping CDs so you can pretend its 2002 again

Album artwork in Media Player in Windows 11
(Image credit: TechRadar)

A new Windows Media Player update for Windows 11 has brought back CD ripping, meaning that any audio CDs you have can be transferred to your PC and added to a playlist.

If you've been a PC user in the last 25 years, you've most likely come across CD ripping within a media player, allowing you to save your music onto your computer. However, in recent year's it's fallen out of favor, due to fewer PCs coming with CD or DVD drives, plus the rise in streaming services like Spotify (as well as various copyright concerns artists and publishers had).

However, Windows 11 build 25158 will once again allow you to rip a CD into MP3, AAC, FLAC and ALAC within Media Player, alongside setting the bitrate, so you can maintain the sound quality of your favorite Spice Girls track, for example.

These updates are further proof that Media Player is going back to its roots in, and makes us wonder what could be next as Microsoft prepares the first big update to Windows 11 since its launch in 2021.

Analysis: Please Microsoft, bring back skins next

Many people will remember the bizarre skins that you could use in older Windows Media Player versions, such as a green head or a blue bacteria character.

But with CD ripping now back for Windows 11 users, I want to keep banging the Media Player drum of bringing back skins to the app. 

That was part of what made Media Player fun to use; you had the simplicity of playing your favorite tracks, but in the guise of a green head for no justified reason. Let's start to see these make a return in a future version - remastered skins that can look great up to 8K for example, or perhaps dedicate a section of the redesigned Microsoft Store to new themes.

Or even the ability to create your own. There's a bunch of possibilities here, so let's start to see the fun return to Media Player.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.