Windows XP Digital Music: Transferring Files to Your Portable Audio Player

You can use a variety of software to manage files on your portable audio player. Many players require you to use their proprietary software, and some players interface with Windows Media Player. The first player demonstrated here works with Windows Media Player (after installing some linking software provided by the included CD — and Internet updates).

USB connections

The Rio Chiba player advertises that it's compatible with Windows Media Player, among other players. That means you can use the Copy to CD or Device tab in Windows Media Player to manage the files on your portable audio device. Follow these steps to set up the software and transfer your music files:

1. Install all the software that's recommended by the manufacturer.

The installation CD starts automatically on insertion. To make the Chiba work with Windows Media Player, you must install all the software and drivers on the CD, in addition to the available Internet updates. In this case, the device updated itself automatically. You may have to download software from the company's Web site as well.

Always check the manufacturer's Web site periodically to see whether any new information or updates are available for your portable audio player. These updates can help your player run better and can solve any technical problems you may have.

2. Connect the portable audio player to your computer.

Make sure that the device is powered on when it's connected so that the computer can recognize it.

3. Open Windows Media Player, and click the Copy Music to CD or Device tab.

This brings up the view that allows Windows Media Player to transfer files.

4. Select your device from the drop-down menu in the upper-left corner of the screen.

For this example, you select Rio Chiba from the menu, and Windows Media Player lists all the available folders.

5. Select the music that you want to transfer to your player using the drop-down menu in the upper-left corner of Windows Media Player.

You can also choose files from your My Music folder or any other location on your computer.

6. Click the Copy button in the upper-right corner of Windows Media Player.

This transfers the files from your computer to the portable audio device.

7. Check the menu on the right side of the screen to make sure that all the songs made it to the device.

You can see the file is now on the Rio Chiba. You may now disconnect the device (making sure to stop it using the Safely Remove Hardware icon if necessary) and take your music on the road.

FireWire connections

The following example shows you how to use one of the more popular media players (iTunes) with the FireWire cradle that's included with the iPod portable media player. Because of the close connection between iTunes and the iPod, the transfer process is even quicker. It can be a drawback, though, if you don't like to use the software that's associated with the portable media player. Choose your players carefully.

Follow these steps to install the software and transfer your music files:

1. Install all the software provided by your manufacturer.

iTunes also automatically updates when you make an Internet connection. When the installation and update are finished, activate iTunes.

2. Connect the FireWire cable to your computer.

The iPod can also connect to a computer via a USB 2.0 connection, but it's preferable to use FireWire. This not only connects the device, but it also charges the iPod's battery while it's connected. If you have a docking station, you can also connect it to the cable at this time.

3. Connect the iPod to the docking station or cable.

The computer should recognize the device, and it will show up on the left menu of iTunes.

4. Right-click the iPod, and select Update Songs.

This automatically syncs the songs in your iTunes library with the iPod. You may also change the options to update the iPod automatically, or you can manually drag the songs that you want to the device.

5. Right-click the iPod, and select Eject.

This allows you to disconnect the device from the computer. Note that the Eject command is followed by the name you gave the device when you first loaded it.

You have to stop or eject any device from your computer before physically disconnecting the device to avoid damaging any components.

Legal concerns

After you've transferred files from your computer to your portable audio device, can you copy files from your portable player to another player? That depends.

The iPod enables you to store the files on the player, but it doesn't allow you to move them to another computer. It also restricts the number of times you can burn the file or share it among computers. Other devices may allow you to transfer freely, but files that you've purchased from online services may have copy protection that prevent them from being transferred to another system.

As long as the files remain in your possession, it's not going to be a problem. Just remember that you have to retain your original copy of the files — you can't sell that and keep the copies.

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