How to Convert a CD into MP3 files

I have a music CD I would like to convert into MP3 files.
AUDACITY would not let me open the files saying I had to "rip" the files on the CD.  
1.  What does RIP mean?
2.  Does AUDACITY have a ripping add-on?

Any other suggestions are welcome.
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rip means to copy the contents of the cd onto your hard drive.  windows media player comes with a built in rip facility, you can rip the music from the cd to your hard drive. the files will be in .wma format which you can then convert to mp3 if you wish
Ripping is just the word used for converting the files on a CD to mp3 (or other formats). There are free rippers out there - this one is good and free.

FreeRIP 3.5;2
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A V GeorgeCommented:
One of the best options is iTunes which you can google for and download free. Helps you to organize all your music and also gives you free access to 100s of radio stations streaming all types of music 24x7!
Windows Media Player and ITunes both have RIP functions.... ITunes actually asks you upon inserting a CD. Just go to the Options when you select the CD>Import Options, and select ".MP3".....

Plus, Audacity really isnt a media player... More of an editing tool....
Hi brothertruffle880

When you insert an Audio CD into the CD/DVD Drive of a PC and then open that drive in Windows Explorer you will see the "tracks" represented by *.CDA files.  Take a look at the file sizes. They will all show as only 1KB (they're actually only about 44 bytes).  You are not seeing the "tracks" in any usable format.  Even though double-clicking one normally opens the default media player and plays the track, they are really just "shortcuts" that point to to the mounting point on the CD of the specially encoded audio tracks.  An Audio CD which is the unique CDDA format and the tracks are encoded to a usable format when "ripped".  It is a common misconception that you are actually seeing the separate tracks and can just drag and drop (copy) one or two out as usable audio files.

There are lots of free CD Rippers around.  Some are "Ad Supported", but they usually tell you so when installing and the advertising support is only of concern if you start clicking toolbar buttons to "find out more", and so on.

Most allow you to set the quality of the audio file type you choose to rip the track out to.  Some will provide the options in plain English, eg. Telephone, Radio, Good, CD, Studio, etc, while others will quote the quality as kilobits per second (Kbps or kb/s).  128 to 192 kbps will rip the songs to "CD Quality".  Any higher than that will really just create larger files with no increase in quality.

Most "rippers" also have the option to enable or disable the fetching of data from online CD Databases such as "". What happens is that retail Audio CDs have identifiable data on them that may be stored in a database along with the album name, track titles, artists, etc.  In that event the tracks in the ripper software will be populated with the correct track names instead of numbers, and when ripped to file the audio files will usually then have the extra data inserted into them as "MP3 Tags" (ID3 Tags).

No harm in checking out a few of them for comparison purposes.  The last one I used was the Open Source CDex:
but I have used the previously mentioned FreeRIP.

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Thank you brothertruffle880
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