How to Play Music CDs on the Computer

By Shea Laverty

While digital downloads have become commonplace, your CD collection can live on through your computer. To play CDs through your computer, all you need is an optical disc drive and a compatible media player program. Windows Media Player is the default media player program for Windows computers, available for download at no cost from Microsoft. If WMP isn't your cup of tea, many other popular programs like iTunes, Winamp and VLC can all play audio CDs.

Using Media Players

Once you've downloaded and installed your preferred media player, playing your CD requires minimal effort. Insert the CD into your computer and start up your media player. In most cases, the player will begin automatically playing the CD. If not, the option to begin playing the CD should be available in the menus: for example, in WMP you can choose to play a disc by clicking the right-facing arrow in the upper ribbon and selecting "Audio CD" from the list.

Troubleshooting Non-Playing Discs

If your disc won't play, try updating your media player to the latest version. Updating your audio drivers can also help if the disc still doesn't play. If the disc is one you or someone else has burned, it may have been burned incorrectly or using an audio format that your player isn't compatible with, like AAC or OGG. Incompatible formats can usually be made compatible with a downloaded Codec package, available from many sources, including one from Microsoft.