Success! FLAC files play perfectly.
1) The "Install" icon removed itself by renaming to ".backup", but the "ReplayGain" icons did not. I manually added ".backup" to them to make them disappear -- is this appropriate?
Thats fine. You don't need the ReplayGain apps/icons if you're not interested in using ReplayGain, so its perfectly fine to rename them.
2) I want to edit the FLAC file tags but I can do it like I do with .mp3's (either by right clicking to Properties or via Windows Media Player). Is there a built-in way to do it or do I need to download a FLAC tag editor?
FLAC uses a different tagging technology to MP3 (which uses a tagging method called ID3) - its uses a tagging method called 'Vorbis Comments'. Unfortunately as you've seen Windows doesn't have native support for Vorbis Comments, so you'll need some addon apps.
As Les (S80_UK) says above, there are extensions available for Windows explorer.
For mass tagging/modifications I personally use Mp3tag http://mp3tag.de/en/index.html
but there are other solutions out there.
Its also possible to playback FLAC files on Windows Media Player, you'd need two things though.
- An extension to allow Windows Media Player to handle the FLAC tags http://wmptagext.sourceforge.net/
- A directshow filter to allow Windows Media Player to handle the FLAC files themselves, something like http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/
Theres plenty of information available on the download page of the main FLAC homepage http://flac.sourceforge.net/download.html
3) Is there a way to rip CDs to FLAC format with Windows?
I use EAC (Exact Audio Copy) but I've also used dBpoweramp Music Converter http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm