Can’t rip in Windows Media Player

Can’t rip in Windows Media Player

Oh – yet another way in which Microsoft has made my, and others’, lives much more easy.

You open Windows Media Player, and try to rip a CD, but it won’t rip despite the fact you’ve done this dozens of times before.  You get the message ‘Windows Media Player cannot rip one or more tracks from this CD’.

You open Tools->Options->Rip Music.  You see that the ‘Rip music to this location’ is blank – so you click ‘Change’ to set it.  But nothing happens.  Click, click, click.  No dialog opens to allow you  to set the output directory.  Any time you try to rip the CD, you get the same error saying it can’t rip.  You try running the Troubleshooting app and reset all the user settings to default.  Still no luck.


The problem is caused because the drive and/or directory media player had been pointing to no longer exists, and the change directory button doesn’t work IF THE ORIGINAL DIRECTORY OR DRIVE IS GONE.  Too bad you can’t change where it is pointing at.  Too bad you also can’t even see what it THINKS it should be pointing at to recreate it.  Guess you’ll just have to remember the path from memory.  Shucks – that’s great design.

You either have to re-create that directory (from memory) – or do THIS highly intuitive operation to fix it:

1. Start menu -> right click ‘Music’ and get the properties.

2. Either: see what directory has a checkmark by it and re-create that directory/re-attach the drive, or add/pick a listed directory that DOES exist – (i.e c:users”your user”)

3. Right click on a directory that does exist, and select  ‘Set as default save location’

Close and reopen media player.  This will solve the problem.  The fact that clicking on the ‘Change’ button doesn’t work is just fundamentally broke.  That needs fixing.  Also, fix the automated troubleshooter to actually reset the default location back to something sane too. The troubleshooter is broken as well.


20 thoughts on “Can’t rip in Windows Media Player

  1. I do not have ‘Music’ in my STart Menu. Probably deleted it since I don’t normally use this PC for music. Do you know what the default folder for ripped files was?

  2. Awesome, thanks Matt. I have been trying to fix this for ages! Even swapped out optical drives (painfully) for no reason it now appears. I read your description of events, and thought, this is exactly what is happening on my machine – this sorted it out perfectly.

  3. I have tried pretty much every fix recommended for this problem that I have found on internet with no luck.

    I suspect your solution will work for me the Change button is grayed out and will not work when pressed.

    I am running Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit and Windows Media Player 12.

    I have tried to follow your directions above on how to fix this problem and don’t quite follow what to do on step 2 and 3.

    All the previous ripped music had been stored in:


    Is it possible someone can simplify this the steps on how to fix this for someone who is not as technical as the rest of the users here.



  4. When I get to properties, it says “The properties for this item are not available.” I am working on a Gateway with Windows 7.

  5. Thanks Matt. This issue was driving me crazy on a work PC. This is much better and safer method of fixing the issue than risking editing the registry as other sites suggested. I agree, this was (is) a stupid issue with WMP that ought to be fixed. I mean, if someone rips a CD to an external drive, and then removes that drive, stupid WMP ought to revert back to pointing to a default My Music folder on the C: drive.

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