how to convert WMA files to MP3.

How do you convert those old WMA (Windows Media Audio) files into MP3 files?

We've all got some music on our computers that we ripped from CDs years ago. Unfortunately, they're in the WMA format. And now they just won't work on our phones or other digital devices.

They need to be converted to MP3.

Whatever the arguments about the quality of MP3 files, no-one can argue about its portability. Virtually every modern digital device recognises and can use MP3s.

WMA and MP3 are types of file formats, if your not sure what file formats are click Beginners Guide to File Formats.

Home » Computer Guides » How to Convert WMA to MP3

to convert WMA to MP3.

VLC has been around for many years. It's free to use (open source), but you need to be careful where you download it from.

Make sure you download from the VLC website, not from one of those file repository sites. They just load the install process with unwanted software.

You can download VLC safely here VLC Download Page.

Or go to

On the VLC website, click the DOWNLOAD button.

download VLC.

Be careful here.

This is the VLC download page.

Nothing will seem to be happening, and you'll think that you need to click that big green button.


The download is on a timer. It's delayed for around 5 seconds. Just wait, it will start of its own accord.

wait. don't click the button.

The green button, or whatever is there when you visit, because it might change, is there to tempt you into installing another program.

Exactly what that program will be will vary, but don't click it. You didn't come here for whatever is under the button.

Just wait for the download to kick in.

Once VLC has finished downloading, launch the installer, either from within your browser or from wherever you downloaded it to.

When the installer routine starts, you'll see the usual install screens. Just keep clicking NEXT or OK to get VLC installed.

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converting WMA to MP3.

Now we've got VLC installed, we can begin converting our WMA files (songs) into MP3 files.

Left-click the MEDIA button in the top left-hand corner of VLC Media Player.

Then, on the menu that opens, left-click CONVERT/SAVE.

click Media, then Convert/save.

This is where we can tell VLC which files we want to convert from WMA to MP3.

Click the  ADD button.

click the add button.

Now you'll need to navigate to the WMA files that you want to be converted.

In this example, my files are on my Desktop, so I'd click Desktop in the left-hand panel.

If your files are in your Music folder, then you'd click Music in the left-hand panel.

navigate to your WMA files.

Open the folder where your music tracks are located.

Then select all the tracks you want to convert and then click the OPEN button.

Most likely, all the tracks in the folder are WMA files, so you'd probably want to convert them all.

A quick way of selecting all the files is to press CTRL and the letter A on your keyboard.

For more information about selecting multiple files click How to Select More Than 1 File

The selected WMA files (tracks) will be added to the list.

To add files from a second folder, click the ADD button again.

Once you've got all the files added to the list, click the CONVERT/SAVE button.

You don't need to click the drop-down arrow, just click straight onto the button.

Although you can just keep adding folders to VLC to convert doesn't mean you should.

I'd suggest that you do one folder (album) at a time.


MP3 conversion settings in VLC.

On the Convert Page, click the drop-down arrow in the Profile box.

Scroll through the menu that opens and select AUDIO - MP3.

select audio - MP3.

Next, you'll need to edit the current profile.

Don't skip this step.

Left-click the Spanner icon.

Click the AUDIO CODEC tab.

On the AUDIO CODEC tab, click the drop-down arrow beside the Codec box.

Scroll through and select MP3.


setting the bitrate of the conversion.

The next thing to consider is the bitrate. The bitrate essentially controls the sound quality.

Higher bitrates give a better sound but produce larger files.

It's generally accepted that WMA produces a better quality sound to MP3 at similar bitrates.

With this in mind, I'd be tempted to set the bitrate higher for the conversion.

By default, VLC will have a bitrate of 128 kb/s.

And while this will be fine, as I said, I'd set it higher.

Go for 192 kb/s.

I don't want to give the idea that 128 kb/s isn't going to be any good. In fact, you'd probably be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Click the SAVE button when you're done.

Click the START button to begin converting your WMA files into MP3 files.

As each WMA file (music track) is converted to MP3 by VLC, you can see a progress bar at the bottom of the screen.

Depending on how many files you're converting and the speed of your computer, this might take a while.

after converting WMA files to MP3.

The one thing that's missing from VLC, when converting WMA files to MP3, is a way of separating them.

Ideally, you'd be able to output the converted files into a new folder to keep them separate from the originals.

Unfortunately, when you're converting multiple files, VLC doesn't allow you to choose a different folder to store your newly converted MP3 files in.

Which means they'll go into the same folder as your WMA files.

Essentially you're going to be doubling up, having the same track in the WMA format and as MP3.

Not ideal.

I'd recommend that you separate them. It simply saves a lot of confusion later on.

There are two different things you can do.

Firstly, you could keep both sets of files, the WMA & Mp3, but in different folders. If you've got the storage space available, this is what I'd do.

Secondly, since these are exactly the same songs (just in different formats), you could delete the WMA files from your computer.

Whichever you decide to do, here's how to go about it.

With the folder that has your WMA and MP3 files inside it open, we can get Windows to find all the WMA files for us. Type -


Into the search box in the top right-hand corner of the folder window.

Then click the FIND button (the arrow).

Windows will display all the WMA files in that folder.

It won't show you the MP3 files, just the WMA versions.


Single left-click on one of them, anyone, it doesn't matter which.

Then press CTRL and the letter A on your keyboard.

All the WMA files will be selected.

But only the WMA files, the MP3 versions are unaffected.

With all the WMA files selected, right-click on one of them, again it doesn't matter which one.

The options menu will open.

If you're going to keep them, left click CUT on the menu.

If you're getting rid of them, left click DELETE on the menu.

cut or delete.

If you're deleting them, you're done. All the WMA files will be deleted and you'll be left with only the MP3 conversions.

But if you intend to keep your original WMA files and you clicked CUT, you now need to create a folder to put them into.

Left-click the BACK button in the top left corner of the screen.

Back in the main folder screen, right-click to open the options menu.

Move your pointer onto the word NEW.

On the second menu that opens, left-click FOLDER.

Give the folder a descriptive name, something like WMA Files, or anything you like.

Finally, right-click on the new folder.

Then on the menu that opens, left-click PASTE.

All the WMA files will be moved into the new WMA folder, leaving you with just the MP3 files in the parent folder.

WMA files are copy protected.

When you're trying to convert your WMA files to MP3, you may run into this problem.

It's caused by DRM copy protection being added to your files when you ripped them from a CD.

Click the link to see how to remove the copy protection from your music files.


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