Sorry for the Kindergarten level explanation but this Is the Newbie forum and it's easier to start from the beginning...
To get playable files from a CD and onto your computer
has three steps.
1)"Ripping", or extracting the audio files from the optical disc and saving them to your hard drive.
2)Creating compressed files, typically .mp3 format for playback on "portable devices" like your iPod.
3)"Tagging" files so that when played back the Artist, track title
and other other information is displayed.
Some software packages do the first two or all three automatically
but software that does multiple steps tends to be slower
and there is no way to verify that it was done correctly until
you try to load it to your portable device.
WMP will usually only create "protected" .wma files when a high quality bitrate is chosen and in the name of "Digital Rights Management" The copies on your hard drive are "disabled"
until the music is "returned" from the portable device.
When Step 1 and Step 2 are combined often the extracted uncompressed audio file is never actually saved to the HDD
but instead is held in memory while the compressed version
of the file is created.
I generally prefer to atleast temporarily save the uncompressed
wav files to my computer before I create the compressed files
because I often make mp3's in more than one bitrate.
(lower bitrates to store for playback on the limited memory
of my Cellphone)
I also like to do step3 manually with a seperate program
because I like secondary data (Genra) to be correct
to my perception not to the often erroneous choices provided by many online databases.
There are MANY software sets that'll get you where you need to be.
Personally I use WMP for playback because of it's organization and user interface, but I don't use it for anything else.
I use EAC to extract (rip)
"SwitchSound file converter" to create my mp3's
"TagScanner" to edit the id3 tags (title artist information)
and usually an older version of Roxio CD-creator to burn
mp3's to disc (for archive or playback) while I return to
EAC to burn any Audio CD's