Step 1: Getting Audacity
To do this we first have to download two software packages. Thankfully they are both free.
First download Audacity here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
You will find the download button about halfway down the page. I would recommend you get the older version because it is more stable and has been tested more. However, if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 you will have to download the more recent beta version. Either way download the install file to your desktop and then double click it to start the installation. The install is pretty easy. After you install it you can start using right away if you want, but in order to do anything with MP3 files you will have to install a plug in. This plug in is called LAME. The reason for LAME is that the MP3 file format is proprietary so free/open-source software can't use it without a plugin.
To download lame go to this page: http://lame1.buanzo.com.ar/#lamewindl
For instruction on installing the LAME plugin go to this page: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&i=lame-mp3
Once you have Audacity and LAME installed we are ready to move on.