What Extension Is CDA?


A .CDA file is a file that is automatically created when playing an audio CD. These files are commonly confused with audio files but are actually index files used by the computer to play a CD. They don't contain any music.


  • The file extension .CDA stands for CD (Compact Disc) Audio Track Shortcut. These files are generated by Microsoft Windows to represent the tracks on a CD.


  • .CDA files contain index information and do not contain any music on their own. After music is ripped from a CD, they are useless.


  • Various kinds of music-playing software use .CDA files on both PCs and Macs. These programs include iTunes, RealPlayer, VLC Media Player and Microsoft Windows Media Player.


  • Some programs have the user click on a .CDA file to open music, but that's simply the way the program operates and should not be taken to mean that the .CDA file contains audio.

Common Problems

  • The most common problem with .CDA files is trying to open them when the CD they came from isn't inserted in the CD drive. Music must first be ripped from a CD with a software program, which will convert the music to a file type such as .AIF, .WAV or .MP3.

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