Deciding How to Name Your Files and Where to Store Them

Unless you specify otherwise, Windows Media Player saves ripped CD tracks in the Music folder in your user profile (which is also the default save location in the Music library). If you want ripped tracks to go to a different location, click the Rip Music tab in the Options dialog box, and then click Change under the Rip Music To This Location heading. This capability is especially useful if you store your music library in a shared folder or on a network device such as a Windows Home Server.

If you are online when you copy a CD, Windows Media Player connects to the Windows Media metadata service and gets whatever information is available about that CD. Typically, this information includes the name of the album and the songs it contains, the names of performers and composers, information about musical genres, and album art. Windows Media Player uses some of this information to create file names for your copied CD tracks . (All of the information Media Player gets from this online repository of information can be used in one way or another, even if it doesn't become part of your file names . The album art, for example, appears on the Library tab, in the Now Playing list when you play tunes from that album, and in Windows Explorer when you use Thumbnails view.)

By default, the file names for your tracks are made up of the track number, followed by a space character, followed by the song title (which probably includes spaces). Such a file name might look like this: 09 Tell Me All The Things You Do.wma. This naming scheme works fine in Windows Media Player, which uses metadata to sort, group, and display items in your collection . However, if you copy a group of songs to a portable player that doesn't use subfolders, that device might display and sort by only the file name. Therefore, when you choose a file-naming convention in Windows Media Player, give some thought to how your files will work in your portable device. In that context, if you want to keep all songs from a given artist or album together, the most important information is probably the artist or album name (or both), followed by the track number.

In any event, you can tell Media Player how you want your files named as follows:

1. Click Options on the Organize menu and then click the Rip Music tab .

2. Click File Name to open the File Name Options dialog box.

3. Select the check boxes for the information categories that you want to include in your file names, and clear the other check boxes. As you adjust your choices here and in the following two steps, the example in the Preview area of the dialog box shows you the effect on file names .

4. If desired, use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to change the order in which name elements appear.

5. Use the Separator drop-down list to choose the character that appears between elements of a track name if you don't want to use spaces . You can choose dashes, dots, underlines, or no separator character at all.

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