Like many of us, you've probably got hundreds of CDs lying about the house. By making digital copies of these CDs, you'll be able to ensure your entire music collection is available on your PC, so you can listen to it while you're working on your PC, transfer it to your smartphone or even stream it across your home network.

With the help of Windows Media Player, in takes just a few simple steps you can make digital copies of all your favourite CDs. Here's how to do it.

Step one
Open the Start Menu and from All Programs select Windows Media Player.

Step two
Once the software has opened, insert a CD into your disk drive. Windows Media Player will automatically read the disk and display the track and artist names, as well as the cover artwork for the album.

Step three
From the Rip settings menu at the top of the windows, Select Format and then select MP3 to ensure your album is ripped to this format.

Step four
Then from the same menu select Audio Quality and choose the bitrate at which you want the MP3s ripped. The higher the bitrate, the better quality the MP3 will sound. However, it's worth noting that the higher the bitrate, the bigger the file is.

Step five
If you only want to rip certain tracks and not the entire album, uncheck the boxes next to any of the tracks you don't want to turn into digital files. When you're ready, press the Rip CD button at the top of the window.

Step six
Windows will ask you whether you want to add 'Copy Protection' to your digital files. This is a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that restricts which PCs and devices can play the file. Once you've selected whether or not to add copy protection, Press OK and ripping will begin.

Step seven
When the album has been ripped, the tracks will automatically be added to your Windows Media Player library. You stop the rip at any time by pressing the Stop Rip button, which features a red icon. This is located at the top of the window but is only available during ripping. The files themselves will be stored in the music library, which can be found under Documents in Windows 7.