FLAC is the Free Lossless Audio Codec that allows lossless compression of audio files. "Lossless" means that the original file can be made smaller with compression algorithms, then expanded to its original size and format, with no loss of quality. This makes FLAC an ideal format for archiving audio. Additionally, FLAC is free, non-proprietary, open source, and runs on all major operating systems.
The FLAC web site has the latest installers for all major operating systems. However, after installing the version of FLAC for Windows that includes a graphic front-end, then running the FLAC frontend, you may see the following message:
Component 'MSCOMCTL.OCX' or one of its dependencies not correctly registered: a file is missing or invalid
Graphically, the dialog window you see might look similar to this:
If you see this, the problem is that you need to install an ActiveX component, which turns out to be very easy to do. You may downlaod the ActiveX component any number of places online, including this web site.
To fix the above problem:
1) Download the ActiveX component (MSCOMCTL.OCX) listed above.
2) Copy MSCOMCTL.OCX to the WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory on your C: drive. (If you're running Windows NT or 2000 copy it to: \WINNT\system32).
3) Now when you run the "FLAC frontend" application you should not see the above dialog window, and FLAC should run normally.