Exact Audio Copy is a CD ripper with a lot of options aimed at accurate copying of the audio information from the CD to disk. You can save the file in the excellent FLAC format, second rate WAV format, or one of the third rate lossy formats including MP3 and Vorbis.
Download from www.exactaudiocopy.de. The download is 2.5 megabytes.
I followed a standard installation procedure of installing within the administrator login. EAC did not offer to install access icons for all users. When you return to your normal login, you have to create your own shortcuts.
EAC has a bunch of nice buttons with only some having mouseover help text. I set EAC to save as FLAC but the save button continued to display MP3 and had no mouseover text to explain what the button did.
You can play the tracks before ripping them.
EAC saves each track as a temporary WAV file then runs a converter to create the FLAC file. The conversion pops up as an annoying DOS box. Unix dinosaurs probably love seeing the black screen of complication they call the command line. There is an option to switch off the ancient display.
Simple or Complex
EAC has a lot of options. There is a beginner mode that hides a lot of the options and an advanced mode displaying endless things you can tweak. I selected advanced and changed less than 10 settings out of a hundred or more. During the installation process you are asked a dozen questions and they are all that most people would change. Some of the onces I changed after installation were purely to see what they did.
Clean the CD
The best software cannot bypass dirt. Clean you CDs before ripping. A little mild detergent will remove finger prints then rinse in water. The water will also temporarily fill in microscopic scratched, producing an optically cleaner disk. Pat the disk dry then rip immediately.
Exact Audio Copy is a good choice for accurate ripping in Windows. If it were open source and built subdirectories, I would recommend it as the best choice.