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Windows Media Player: WMP mini FAQ

Please note that these are all unsupported hacks I figured out in my spare personal time. I am speaking only on my own behalf in all cases.

There is a general focus herein on Windows Media Player 9-12. However, this FAQ also covers Windows Media Player 7 (WMP7), Windows Media Player 6 (WMP6), and Media Player for XP (MPXP). Most anything about a previous version applies to the next version(s) too.

Windows Media Player 12 Questions
Windows Media Player 12 is part of Windows 7. The current public version is 12.0.7601.17514 .

My notes so far:
* If the player is crashing and you have vp6vfw.dll , mmswitch.ax , shntrans.ax , or magicspeed.ax on your system - you might want to uninstall those.
* If you have an nVidia card, upgrade your video card drivers from the nVidia site.
* If you have a Creative Audigy 2 sound card, you may be getting an error trying to play your files. To fix this issue, either switch to use Stereo instead of 5.1 or turn off the audio enhancements for the card.
* If your Dell Vostro doesn't produce audio, install the Sigmatel Hi-Definition Audio Codec. (The default drivers cannot talk to the proprietary amp on that system.)
* Don't have "c:\users\me" monitored. Only monitor the actual music subfolders, as otherwise you're going to have a lot of extraneous notifications going to the player.
* If you're getting "Server Execution Failed" errors, you may want to disable the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service and reboot. That error indicates that something is locking the player in use in such a fashion that it can not be accessed.
* There's tips on how to set the 64bit version of WMP as default here.

Windows Media Player 11 Questions

Windows Media Player 11 (build 11.0.5721.5145 for Windows XP SP2, 11.0.6002.18005 for Vista SP2) is available now. A handful of fixes for it are available here, and a new plug-in for Firefox here. I highly recommend Vista users at least install Vista Service Pack 1, which has numerous multimedia improvements.

My notes so far:
* Best Tip: If you have "mmswitch.ax" or "neroburnplugin.dll" on your system, you should remove those - those don't work with WMP. If you have "ffdshow.ax", "nvappfilter.dll" (nVidia Network Access Manager), "mpegsplitter.ax", "divxdec.ax", "xvidcore.dll", "igdumd32.dll", "sockspy.dll" (BitDefender Anti-Virus) on your system, you should make sure you have the latest versions of those, as earlier versions may causes crashes. These files alone account for almost half the problems encountered with WMP-Vista. Avoid codec packs. These install old versions of these files and cause your machine to crash. Not good. If you have "mmswitch.ax", remove or delete it, it's just bad.
* SatelliteTVforPC 2006 randomly installs their own version of wmp.dll. This will cause you to crash - or WMP simply won't start at all. Since they've corrupted WMP, uninstalling them won't even fix it.
To fix this for Windows Vista: follow the steps in this article.
To fix this for Windows XP: reinstall the player.
SatelliteTVforPC 2007 does not do this anymore, but that doesn't really help you if you had installed SatelliteTVforPC 2006, sorry. =\
* Vista-only: If you have an Intel 945/946/965 express chipset, get their updated drivers - that should fix up some potential crashes and video glitchings. If you have igdumd32.dll on your system, please look for those drivers, which came out April 2007.
* Vista-only: If your sound card is crackling or having audio glitching (especially towards the end of tracks!), right-click on the Speaker icon in the system tray, select Playback Devices, right-click Speakers in that new dialog, go to Properties, then go to Enhancements - choose "Disable All Enhancements" and you should be fixed up. If this does fix you up, check with your sound card vendor - they should not be having this problem. I believe Dell/Sigmatel do have a driver update here that should fix you up. If you're using an X-Fi and this is happening, disable "Sound Blaster Enhancements" under Control Panel and Properties for the X-Fi.
* Vista-only: Some systems have "DisableProtectedAudioDG" set to 0x1 under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Audio , which will break some audio playback. Reset that to 0x0 and Urge files should work again. (This can lead to error 0xc00d11b1 if set wrong.)
* If you're using a non-US locale format for your Date, the Recently Added feature won't work right (it likely won't show any content). Either go to the Regional and Language Options control panel, click Customize, click Date and use a MM/DD/YYYY form OR make your own "Recently Added" playlist.
* If you are using WMP11 on Media Center 2005, you should install the October Rollup (KB925766) here.
* To get a tally of the number of songs and their time from within the library, select them. That tally will show up in the chrome briefly. Or hover the mouse over the "Now Doing" region, which is the region above the playlist. If you're building a playlist in the rightmost library pane, you may need to push Stop in order to get the time to show up.
* To start the player in Now Playing, update your WMP shortcut to be "wmplayer.exe /Task:NowPlaying"
* The white corner dots that can appear aren't removable - either switch to Classic Menus or resize the player (which only fixes it until player restart).
* v11 setup issues are covered here.
* There likely will not be a Windows Media Player 11 Enterprise Deployment Pack. You're welcome. You can get this if you ask your Microsoft contact nicely.
* You can uninstall the WMP11 through the Add/Remove Programs control panel. If you have run old versions of CCleaner (they have fixed this in current builds), those will destroy WMP's ability to uninstall. If you have run CCleaner or otherwise find that uninstall fails, you should still be able to use the System Restore point that WMP created in order to roll back to your previous player version. If you have run CCleaner and System Restore does not work, contact Product Support - steps to do so are available under WMP's Help menu.
* The MMS protocol was deprecated many years ago (v9), and with WMP11 MMS URLs will only work if the server has MMS over HTTP support turned on (preferably for both "Enable HTTP distribution for Windows Media Station service" and "Enable HTTP streaming for Windows Media Unicast service". (KB article.) MMS is only used as a rollover protocol in WMP11.
* Roxio Drag to Disc and Sonic DLA lock the optical drives to appear as hard drives. This blocks WMP from burning to disc. Turn them off if you want to burn with WMP.
* Archaic MS visualizations are not supported.
* If your remote content viewer doesn't see WMP's shared library, remove and readd the sync relationship.
* The Network Sharing Service needs the Universal Plug and Play Device Host, HTTP SSL, and SSDP Discovery services to be functional/running in order to work.
* If you have an iPod and want to use it with WMP, stuff like DopISP and MusicBridge is your friend.
* Vista-only: If you want to use the 64bit version of WMP as the default player on Vista 64-bit, run "unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:64" from an ELEVATED (admin) cmd.exe prompt and then set registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe, "Path" to be "%Programfiles%\Windows Media Player". To undo that, reset the "Path" value and then run "unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:32" from an elevated cmd.exe prompt. This will not work in Windows 7.
* If you're using a super-minimum XPe image, it's not going to work with WMP since WMP requires the crypto service. You would need to rebuild your target image to include the crypto service/infrastructure.
* If you're using a Linksys BEFSR41 router, you'll need to enable Multicast in the router's security setttings. Otherwise that will block the Windows Media Connect / Network Sharing Service from working.
* If you want v11 to queue on double-clicks in the library, set HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences, value name "LibraryDoubleClickQueueV11" to the REG_DWORD value 0x1.

Windows Media Player 10 Questions

A surprisingly great list of the further updates available to WMP10 is available here.
  • The Napster icon shows up because the MSNMusic service (which used to show a butterfly there) was shut down (more information here). You've always had an icon there - it's the icon of your default installed service, and just represents an icon, and nothing else. No software was randomly installed. If you don't like the icon, change your default service to something else. You don't need to install or use that service either - it's just an icon. WMP10 and 11 always display some icon there.
  • If you have problems installing or starting up the player, this section deals with all known issues.
  • If you're having video problems after the latest WMP update and have an nVidia card, go to WMP's Tools:Options:Devices:Performances and uncheck "Use High Quality Mode".
  • Don't install the WM v9 codec pack on top of WMP10. It doesn't make any sense to do that, and it may break WMA playback for DRM files. Reinstall the v10 player if you install the v9 codec pack by mistake. Symptoms of this problem are a 1) "Module not found" error when playing DRM content, and 2) wmploc.dll being version 10.0.0.3802 or later while wmadmod.dll and/or wmvdmod.dll is only version 10.0.0.3646.
  • A feature you probably didn't notice: click on the time display in the player - you can now have the player show Current Time:Total Time, as was requested (since normally it just shows Current Time). =)
  • You must have a music service available in order to use the Info Center feature.
  • If you get a double library listing (which is just a visual defect), just switch away and then switch back to the Library pane.
  • If you're on Windows XPSP2 and wish to rollback from WMP10, you will want to check the "Show Updates" button in the Add/Remove Programs control panel, as WMP10 is a system update. It is not possible to install WMP9 on top of WMP10 and you wouldn't want to.
  • The Nero Fast CD Burning Plug-in does not work in WMP10 at this time. You would likely want to remove that.
  • The old Radio Tuner is under WMP10's Guide button, then click Radio on that page, then Radio Tuner.
  • Lyrics can be viewed in WMP10 using View:Captions. You may need to enable Captions using WMP's Tools:Options:Security's "Show local captions when present".
  • The WMP10 Energy Bliss visualization shows Album Art only if the art is in a separate file and only if it is assigned the name "Folder.jpg" or "AlbumArtSmall.jpg". It will also display album art assigned filename "AlbumArt_WMID_Large.jpg" or "AlbumArt_WMID_Small.jpg", but since the average user doesn't understand how to get the WMID, we'll ignore that. You'll get WMID Album Art for the file if you use "Find Album Info" on the track within the library.
  • If you get an error that "The current web page is trying to open a site in your Trusted Zone" when opening WMP, go to Internet Explorer's Tools:Internet Options:Security settings and remove "napster.com" from your Trusted Sites list
  • If you're synching DRM content to a portable device, get the update (mssscp.dll 10.0.0.3649) so that TransferCount decrements correctly

Windows Media Player 9 Series Player Questions

The following is a quick list of ways to make sure your Windows Media Player 9 Series install is working right:
  1. The final release of the player (9.0.0.2980) is available here. A nice list of further updates can be found here.
  2. If you are having video flicker during playback, this will fix your nVidia video card up.
  3. If you are having audio distortion during the playback of MP3 files, rename the file "ctmp3.acm" on your system (to "ctmp3.bak" or something like that). This is a Creative PlayCenter MP3 decoder that the Player isn't fully compatible with.
  4. If you have the pirated software "Nimo" or "Tsunami" installed, you are likely crashing. "Nimo" and "Tsunami" are TERRIBLE packages and should be removed. If for some reason that's not possible (?), make sure you remove "mmswitch.ax" from Morgan Multimedia.
  5. If you are getting a class not registered error during playback of some AVI files, this likely means that you have an old broken version of the DivX codec. installed. If you update to their recent build, you should be okay.
  6. If local URL flips (ScriptCommands) do not work, this is a security Feature. Only HTTP or HTTPS URLs work within Windows Media Script Commands at this point. The solution to this limitation is that for local system presentations you will need to handle the URL flips with JavaScript or the like within the web page hosting the player control.
  7. If crossfading (a Windows XP feature) does not work for MP3 files, you likely have a pirated MP3 encoder installed to your system. This codec will NOT crossfade. If you're using WMP9, you can rename the file "l3codeca.acm" (and/or l3codecp.acm) on your system (to "l3codeca.bak" or such) and then reinstall the player and things should work fine at that point. If you're using WMP10, you would need to run "regsvr32.exe l3codeca.acm". However, that won't work if you've pirated the FhG codec: doing so will pretty much leave you broken and out of luck. Don't pirate software.
  8. If MP3 encoding does not work and you're using the Intervideo MP3 Encode pack, you'll need to download an updated version from their web site to get it to work with the 9 Series player.
  9. WMP will reject playback of MP3 files that have headers it does not understand. Read here to get an update to WMP that helps it understand more of your MP3 files.
  10. If you're having networking problems, look here.
  11. Make sure your DirectX, video card, and audio card drivers are up to date either via Windows Update or your card manufacturer's web site. You'd be surprised at how much difference good drivers make. Also, these steps should also help.
  12. If you're having CD burning problems, see here.
  13. If WMP is launching at the start-up of your system, this is likely because 3rd party trojan spamware has infected your system. "iedll.exe" for some reasons registers WMP to launch on system start-up - possibly to cover it's own tracks? Regardless, get and run the (free) LavaSoft AdAware anti-spyware software (or SpyBot anti-spy software, or the dedicated CoolWebSearch/iedll.exe killer program), which will clean up iedll.exe. Then you will want to go to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" in regedit.exe. There you will likely find a value name entitled "loader" (OR MAYBE SOMETHING ELSE - malicious software did this to your machine, so they try to hide themselves). If this has the data value pointing to wmplayer.exe, delete this registry value. If AFTER CLEANING YOUR SYSTEM OF SPYWARE you still are having this problem, you should be able to use MSConfig to figure out where WMP is being loaded at, and turn it off.

Additionally, please note:

  • If the 9 Series installer reports failure, this is likely not a critical failure. A partial failure in a subcomponent that appears to have no affect on player performance is likely the cause. If you simply run "wmplayer.exe" directly at this point, the player should likely work fine. I'm looking into this.
  • Albums/Artists no longer show up in the playlist selection drop down in order to improve performance. If you want them back in that list, right-click on the playlist selection drop down list and select the options you want.
  • Supposedly DesktopX and ObjectBar's "TrayServer" (as well as "Desktop Manager" and some aspect of WindowBlinds) will block the Windows Media Player 9 Series' toolbar from working correctly. You may need to disable or remove that software for the player toolbar to work.
  • If you get the error message "Media Player ActiveX Control was not installed. Program can't continue. Please get Media Player control from Microsoft.com" from a CD you're trying to run, I'd be really curious to know what CD that was. It's buggy, and I'd like to contact the vendor and ask them to fix it...
  • Uninstall/rollback issues are addressed here.

The released hot fixes for the 9 Series Player can be found here at Microsoft, or Carsten maintains a nice list of them here.



Internet Connectivity Questions
Q: WMP thinks I'm always offline (or returns error 0xc00d1126 or 0xC00D11B3).
A: First, run the Internet Connection Wizard (Start:Run "icwconn1.exe") - especially if you have a cable or DSL connection.

If you're running a firewall, read this for configuration information. Also, some sites require cookies for the content to play, so disabling cookies may disable WMP's ability to play a file. Note that ZoneAlarm (Pro) will usually neatly disable WMP from working, so either give WMP permissions within Zone Alarm (per Dave Roth: set Zone Alarm to Medium security, or go into the Firewall settings page and hit the "Custom" settings button, enable the "Allow outgoing TCP ports" option, then specify "554, 1755" as the selected ports), or uninstall Zone Alarm if you want things to work. Norton Internet Security and other Internet firewall/security devices can also accidentally block WMP.

If Netscape is set as your primary browser, that can bamboozle WMP7/WMP8's connection sniffing code. You may have better results with Internet Explorer set as your primary browser. This is fixed as of Windows Media Player 9 Series.

If and only if none of these options work for you, there is a final option: go to the WMP's Tools:Options menu dialog and click "Connect to the Internet". This option, present in v9 or newer, should work in every case where there actually is a working non-blocked connection to the Internet. If ForceOnline doesn't work, then the question is why your specified/detected connectivity settings aren't work.

If you're having further issues, it is time for you to contact Product Support so that they can figure out a real and better solution for you. Note that networking continues to improve with each version of Windows and each version of Windows Media Player, so a newer version of Windows or Windows Media Player would be more likely to understand your connection - or your browser's settings for that connection.

Q: I'm getting the error "Object doesn't support this property or method" (or "res://wmploc.dll/Offline_MediaGuide.htm") when trying to view the Media Guide.
A: The following steps should fix it up. Note that you'll want to retry the Media Guide after each step, since I believe not all of these steps are necessary.

  • Go into IE's Tools:Internet Options:Advanced menu dialog and enable Active Scripting for the Internet security zone (if you're comfortable with that. Otherwise, don't use the Media Guide since it uses Scripting...).
  • Run the network setup wizard (icwconn1.exe) again.
  • In WMP9's Tools:Options menu dialog, check the box that says Connect to the Internet.
  • Go to IE's Tools:Internet Options:Programs menu dialog, check "Internet Explorer should check to see whether it is the default browser." Quit IE and restart, and if it prompts to become the default browser, let it.
  • Go to IE's Tools:Internet Options:Programs menu dialog and click the "Reset Web Settings..." button. (You can uncheck the "Also Reset Home Page" option on the pop-up dialog).

Q: On Windows XP, I get the message "(something) is attempting to change or view this computer's Internet Connection Protection settings. To give (something) permission to edit these settings for as long as the program is open, click YES." when trying to stream content.
A: If you're seeing this while using Internet Connection Sharing, upgrade to Windows XP SP1. If you're seeing this while using the Internet Connection Firewall, then ... the firewall is trying to do the right thing for you. It supposedly does not respect the "Do not show this dialog again" checkbox, which would be a bug in their software, TMK. Other than that, this should just be WMP trying to enable streaming through your firewall. (Alternative firewall solutions likely would not have this issue.)

Q: On Win9x, when I try to configure my Internet connection using the Internet Connection Wizard, I get the error message: "Access Denied: You are restricted from running the Internet Connection Wizard. Contact your Network Administrator for more information." How do I fix this?
A: See this page for how to fix this. Supposedly EarthLink's customizations to IE5 cause this issue, but I've only heard that once.

Q: Why can I not access the "Network" tab in the player's Tools:Options menu?
A: The Microsoft KB article on fixing this sort of corruption is here.
On NT-based systems, Jason said that renaming the "Windows Media" folder under the hidden directory "c:\documents and settings\%USERNAME%\local settings\application data\microsoft" got his "Network" tab working again (these files are found at "%appdata%\local\microsoft\windows media" on Vista). (It appears the bad file may be WMSDKNS.dtd under the "Windows Media" folder in that directory.) In some cases, running "regsvr32 c:\windows\system32\wmnetmgr.dll" may fix this up. In other cases - your system is likely an OS that has been reinstalled in some fashion. For some reason, half of your networking should be pointing to the current profile (c:\documents and settings\user.blah) and half to the old profile (c:\documents and settings\user). I do not know how to fix that short of creating a new user profile. This should be a bug in NT networking that is fixed in Windows XPSP2. (Mike says: "I created a new user (tempuser), then logged in as that user - to create a new profile. Logged out, back in as administrator. Used the Setting button under User Profiles (under the System Properties Advanced tab). Then copied the original user's profile, the one I had the problem with, to the new user. I logged in as the new user, and I could open the network tab in the media player.")

Scott says that you may be able to clean these up by using Account Management (the "Advanced" settings tab under My Computer properties, then click "Settings" under "User Profiles") and delete the old accounts and/or delete the "Account Unknown" entries.

David says that on his system his "wmsdkns.xml" file (under c:\documents and settings\%USER%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Media\10.0) was corrupted, and that deleting that got his system working.
On Win9x based systems, this can be caused by either the "Program Files" or the user name containing non-ASCII characters. In this condition, streaming would be completely broken.

Q: I get a crash in icmp.dll running WMP or WinAMP...
A: For WinAMP, I'm not sure what to tell you. For WMP, install the offline "Force Online" fix. In general, you're having networking problems... the offline fix just potentially works around it.

Q: WMP only plays audio from video files played back from the Internet.
A: Either turn off Internet Connection Sharing or manually specify the speed of your connection in the WMP Tools:Options:Performance settings. (If WMP is detecting an incorrect line speed, the Windows Media Server may helpfully try to thin out the stream coming into your computer, which means that you'll lose quality and possibly the video. Manually specifying the connection speed will prevent this from happening accidentally.) As a final possibility, you may be missing a codec.

Q: Why does WMP always try to go on-line when I open it? / Why does WMP access the Internet when I start a local media file?
A: Uncheck the "Always dial my connection" setting for your dial-up connection. If you're concerned about privacy in this regard, please review the Privacy Policy available under WMP's Help menu. If that doesn't assuage your fears, WMP9 and newer further includes full privacy options so you can turn off anything that you feel may invade your privacy.

If you're still getting connection attempts with WMP9, get this update. Or just click WMP's File:Work Offline option.

Q: Why is playback choppy for certain clips even though I have a high speed connection?
A: If your line speed is being detected correctly (see next question), you may have BlackIce Defender installed, which for at least two people was causing big performance problems for streaming video. I am not aware of a resolution for this other than removing BlackIce, but the newest version of BlackIce seems to fix this, so updating to a newer version should be the first option tried.
Interestingly, the buggy old SoundBlaster Live reportedly can also cause choppy playback.

Q: WMP misdetects my line speed/connection speed. How do I fix this?
A: Go to Tools:Options:Performance and manually specify your connection speed. Or if you're using WMP6, you'd want to do this.

Q: Why am I getting a "Fatal exception error OE in VxD Logger (03)"? (logger.vxd)
Q: Why am I getting a blue screen playing back content from the Internet?
A: This appears to be the result of a conflict between certain DSL modems used in conjunction with certain secondary modems. Multiple reports I've had on this suggested that removal of the US Robotics 56k internal modem (v90) cleared up the issue. This support article also addresses the UniModem / Logger crashes.

Q: Why does WMP temporarily pause when playing back clips online?
A: Paraphrasing Zeb: In some cases firewalls will block UDP traffic, which is required for "real-time" streaming playback. In those cases, WMP will be forced to use HTTP/TCP, which will cause us to buffer/pause in times of network congestion. Notably Connection Sharing (ICS) and Personal Firewall cause WMP to use TCP/IP instead of UDP. If you go to View:Statistics:Advanced, you can see what your actual bandwidth is, vs what is needed.

You may find that unchecking the UDP protocol in WMP's options may clear this up too.

Q: What port should be open on my intranet to allow users to connect to Windows Media content?
A: Port 1087. See the article about WM networking and firewalls here.

WMP Installation Questions
Q: How do I reinstall WMP on Windows 7?
A: Run "OptionalFeatures.exe". Go to Media Features and turn off "Windows Media Player" under that. Reboot, then go back to OptionalFeatures and turn WMP back on.

Q: How do I reinstall WMP on Vista?
A: Sorry, there's no way to reinstall an OS subcomponent in Vista. Your only options are to do a System Restore or to reinstall Vista. If you manually attempt to re-register WMP, you will at the least break progressive download and will probably break the taskbar player too. Sorry.

If that really makes you desperately unhappy, reinstall Vista. If that for some reason is not possible, you can try this very much related fix. If that does not work and you are an expert user who is OK with potentially making the problem worse, set a System Restore point and try this unsupported 32bit-only fix. If even that doesn't work AND you are on a 32bit system installed to the C:\ drive, this even more unsupported 32bit C-drive-only fix may help. Note that all of the advice in this paragraph flies against Windows component design. Officially, you should be reinstalling Vista if you want to reinstall the player.

Most people also don't really understand what a corrupted component is versus other forms of corruption. The most common non-component corruption would be MediaLibrary corruption, networking cache corruption, and DRM cache corruption (each link goes to an associated fix). Those areas could not be fixed via component reinstall - they would have to be dealt with directly via the fixes mentioned. Or if you disabled WMP in IE's Tools:Manage Add-ons dialog - that would be another way to disable WMP in a fashion that a reinstall would not fix.

Q: Why do I have to download AVI and WMVs first after installing Windows Live?
A: The Windows Live Photo Gallery installer was broken (until 8/2009) and was fixed in their current release. It broke the file associations for .AVI, .ASF, and .WMV. You can either go to Start Menu:Default Programs:Set Program Access and Computer Defaults and set WMP as the default player *again*, or set: === Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.avi] @="WMP11.AssocFile.AVI" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.asf] @="WMP11.AssocFile.ASF" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.wmv] @="WMP11.AssocFile.WMV" ===

Q: Why do I only see the Burn tab in the player on Vista?
A: If you install SatelliteTVforPC 2006 anywhere, it will install and register a private copy of "wmp.dll" version 10 onto the system. This is really bad. You will then need to reinstall the player in order to fix the issue. (If you're only seeing the Burn tab in the player, you're pretty much guaranteed that you've hit this issue.)
Because it is not possible to reinstall the player on Windows Vista, your best option is to reinstall Vista itself on top of itself. If you are on a 32bit Vista system, you can tentatively either follow this supported fix or use this unsupported fix to get you back to the right state, but this is not supported, no warranties are implied, and it is ONLY intended to fix you up if you have installed SatelliteTVforPC 2006 by accident.
If you have this problem due to ANY other software, please please speak up about what other bad software might be doing this.
If you have this problem due to SatelliteTVforPC 2006, PLEASE tell the people you got it from that that product has been pulled from market and they should not be selling/distributing it any longer.

Q: How do I stop wmpnscfg.exe from running?
A: Open the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences\HME and set the REG_DWORD value DisableDiscovery to 2 . Note that that disables discovery of music shares on your network.

Q: I get the message "wmp.dll version xx.x.x.xxxx expected, but version yy.y.y.yyyy is present" (or this same basic message occurs for wmploc.dll or wmplayer.exe)
A: The official Microsoft KB article about how to fix this can be found here as KB961047.

On Windows Vista: Reboot your system. Then open cmd.exe as an administrator and then run "unregmp2.exe /UpdateWMPVersion" in that cmd.exe window to fix this.

On all other Windows systems: Reboot your system and then run "c:\windows\inf\unregmp2.exe /UpdateWMP" to fix this.

Q: Why do I get the error message "This version of Windows Media Technologies is incompatible with this version of Windows" when I try to install Media Player?
A: If you still have the Windows Media Format 11 runtime listed in the system's Add/Remove Programs control panel, this behavior is by design. You must first uninstall the Windows Media Format 11 runtime before you can install Windows Media Player 10.

If you do not have the Windows Media Format 11 runtime present on your system, this article covers how to fix this. You can't get this message without system files being deleted or corrupted, so something is wrong with your system. Most likely wmploc.dll was deleted from %windir%\system32 . The installer will not continue if this file is not present.

You can fix this in the following fashions:
* Either a system restore back before the files were deleted OR a reversion of a previous system restore that caused this problem.
* An OS reinstall/repair using Repair mode (which I believe would require an SP2 disk?)
* Reversion back to SP1, reinstallation of WMP, upgrade back to SP2. Or reverting to SP1 and simply reinstalling SP2 should work too.

Q: How do I trouble-shoot a v11 player install error?
A: The core installer log file for WMP11 is %windir%\wmsetup.log . It also logs to wmfdist11.log (these are the detailed results for WMFDist11.exe), wmp11.log (these are the detailed results for WMP11.exe), and Wudf01000Inst.log (these are the detailed results for the UMDF portion of the install). The file updspapi.log is a log produced by update.exe that may be of interest. (And there's further data in c:\windows\updspapi.log too .) But, chiefly: wmsetup.log is your starting point.
In the file wmsetup.log, any actual install errors should be preceded by "ERROR: ". So you should look for "ERROR: " in the file. This should contain additional information of interest. What are these lines?

* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80004005": This is "Unspecified error." Typically this will be found in regards to validating the file signature on Urge.cab - this is not an error - you will note the next line saying that WinVerifyTrust worked. It is just an overzealous test being logged. If that is not the source of the error: Interpreting this would require a contextual analysis of the system's setup log.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x8000FFFF": This is "Catastrophic failure." This should only occur when the library is corrupt. Resetting the Media Library should get your player functional.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80070001": This is "Incorrect function." Interpreting this would require a contextual analysis of the system's setup log.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80070002": This is "The system cannot find the file specified." If this is in regards to a "WMC_CopyFile" failing for the two Netscape plug-in files, this is an ignorable error. If it's a different error, you would need to post your full setup log.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80070003": This is "The system cannot find the path specified." Interpreting this would require a contextual analysis of the system's setup log.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80070005": This is "Error: Access Denied." That means that the registry permissions on HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\WMPlayer.OCX or HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\WMPlayer.OCX.7 are probably set wrong. I believe this is due to overzealous 3rd party anti-malware programs. You can fix this by deleting or renaming those registry keys. The WMP11 installer should be able to handle this without you having to worry about it. If it cannot, then you would need to look at the bottom of c:\windows\updspapi.log . That should tell you what registry key modification resulted in "Access is denied". You would need then to give access to that registry key... or at least rename it for the duration of WMP's install. Look for "Error 5" in the updspapi.log.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80070057": This is "One or more arguments are invalid." Interpreting this would require a contextual analysis of the system's setup log.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x800700b7": This is "Cannot create a file when that file already exists." This means that that update.exe install package is already installed to the system and cannot be reinstalled. To fix this:
1: Run Regedit.exe and browse to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\ExceptionComponents
2: Delete all the subkeys under the above key that have FriendlyName as "Windows Media Files".
3: Reinstall the player
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80070bc2": This is "The requested operation is successful. Changes will not be effective until the system is rebooted." This one is pretty obvious: reboot!
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x8007f00d": This is "Error: User Cancelled". One question is what is the file version for c:\windows\system32\spupdsvc.exe - in some 0x8007f00d cases, this file should have been copied by the install, but apparently was blocked by something on your system. If you rename that file, the install will likely work. That is only for some users. For other users, you would need to look at the setup log files to determine why update.exe is failing.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x8007f0da": This is "Error: Setup could not verify the integrity of the file update.inf". This indicates that either the install package was corrupted or their crypto services are out of date and need to be updated via Windows Update. So first make sure you're up to date on Windows Update, and if you are, then redownload the player install package and try again. Windows Update must be functional on your machine for the player to install.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x8007f205": This is "Error: Update already running". That means an update is running on your system. You must restart your system and then should be able to install. If that does not fix the problem, you must find what install is running on your system, finish that, and THEN run the player install.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x80096010": This is "The digital signature of the object did not verify." You need to get your system up to date at Windows Update and then reinstall.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x800b0004": This is "The subject is not trusted for the specified action." This probably means that you chose not to install the Urge or other service install cab, and thus represents a deliberate decision on your part and is not an error. If that's not the source of the error, then you need to get your system up to date at Windows Update and then reinstall.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0x800b0100": This is "No signature was present in the subject." If this is a failure to trust the Urge.cab file, it should be immediately followed by a success result. If that is not the source of the error, then you need to get your system up to date at Windows Update and then reinstall.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0xc0000005", this means that you have a library corruption, and that resetting your Media Library should fix you up.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0xc0000142": That is "Application failed to initialize properly". What process returned this error?
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0xc00d2afa": This is "The requested operation failed. Some cleanup will not complete until the system is rebooted." Setup failed for some unknown reason. You should reboot your system in order to finish moving temporary files. This error is not interesting by itself: the other errors in the setup log are what you should focus on.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0xc00d2afb": This is "The requested operation failed. The system will not function correctly until the system is rebooted." Setup failed for some unknown reason. You should reboot your system in order to finish moving files. This error is not interesting by itself: the other errors in the setup log are what you should focus on.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0xc00d2afd": This is "DRM Migration failed." Your player should be functional, but your DRM licenses were unable to be migrated.
* If your wmsetup.log contains error "0xc00d2afe": This is "Either skins or the playlists component install failed." Your player will be functional, but you will not have playlists. This is likely because the security privileges on the folder "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Music" is set wrong - it needs to be writable.

If you set HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer, "SetupLogLevel" to REG_DWORD value 0xFFFF, that will ensure you get full setup_wm.exe (wmsetup.log) logging.
If you set HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup", "LogLevel", to REG_DWORD value 0x0000FF00 , that will ensure that you get full update.exe/setupapi.dll logging.

Q: How do I solve the error "Windows Media Player is not installed properly and must be reinstalled. Do you want to install the Player from the Microsoft Web site?"
A: On Vista, you should just need to reboot.
Otherwise, this error specifically means that your machine has had an abnormally large number of QFEs installed to it, which can cause the system catalog service to stop accepting (registering) further Microsoft installs. You should be able to solve this through a reinstall of Windows, although running "sfc /scannow" may get you working for the short term (? I don't recommend this: it actually should be causing significant problems, but some people have said it worked for them). Reinstalling WMP will actually likely NOT solve this, as the catalogs for WMP will likely not be able to be installed. This is not noticeable usually, but WMP actually validates this and thus lets you know about this system condition.

Q: I am using a Media Center 2002 system (identified by c:\windows\system32\ehome\ehshell.exe being version 5.1.2600.something). How do I install Windows Media Player 11 or Zune?
A: You should not do this. I put that block in because if you install the Windows Media Format 11 Runtime to your system (needed by both of those applications), that will break certain Media Center recordings. You can indeed hack your system to accomplish this, but it's a bad plan and you are taking your machine into your own hands. I repeat: this is a stupid plan that's going to break your system. If you don't care about Media Center, though... *shrug*

Q: How do I trouble-shoot a v10 or earlier player install error?
A: The installer for WMP7 and newer all log to %windir%\wmsetup.log . In that file, any actual install errors should be preceded by "ERROR: ". So you should look for "ERROR: " in the file. This should contain additional information of interest. What are these lines?

With the WMP10 installer, at this time I am aware of three potential classes of errors.
* A failure installing just the playlist files. In this case, you should be able to run "wmplayer.exe" fine and everything should be okay, except that your Auto Playlists and Sync Playlists will not be present. To fix this, you will need to correct the security permissions for %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\My Music . Presumably somewhere along the way those got reset or NULLed.
* A failure registering the DRM dlls. Again, wmplayer.exe should be functional if you run it directly. In this case, DRM won't work for you, which should be related to permissions in your HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry.
* A general failure installing the INF. While WMP7-9 use my INF parser, WMP10 uses the msoobci/setupapi INF parser. If the INF fails to install, you'll find the logs for that failure located at %windir%\setupapapi.log . You would want to search for the name of the failing INF in that log. That should contain some additional info of interest. Note that I'd suspect that your failure here would probably again be permission based. My suspicion here without seeing your machine or knowing your logs would be that the permissions on HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer have been reset. There's a buggy version of some third party software that did this (removed permissions) for a while. If the error code in WMSetup.log is "0x800700b7", Suhail figured out this fix:
1: Run Regedit.exe and browse to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\ExceptionComponents
2: Delete all the subkeys under the above key that have FriendlyName as "Windows Media Files".
3: Reinstall the player

That should probably cover all the major ways a WMP10 install could fail. If you always get a message telling you that you need to reboot before you can start the player, you will need to delete the registry value "InstallResult" underneath HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Setup .

If the player says you cannot reinstall it, DON'T. A reinstall in that case would overwrite QFEs and/or break your ability to play your purchased files.

Q: I have a question about how to rollback from WMP10.
A: How to rollback from WMP10 to your previous version:
A: Go to the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel. If you are on Windows XP SP2, check "Show Updates".
B: Select "Windows Media Player 10" in order to rollback.

If that does not roll you back, turn off the WMP's Taskbar Player if you have it on, reinstall the player on top of the existing install of WMP10 (do not try to munge the WMP files by hand: that will just break your system- you will need to complete one extra reinstall in order to counteract that).
If you need to reboot, do so, and then again reinstall the player on top of the existing install. The rollback point will NOT be functional until you complete a reinstall of the player that does NOT require a reboot. At that point, the WMP10 rollback point in the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel should be functional. You should be able to use it to rollback WMP10. If WMP10 is still showing up at that point, you need to either use the System Restore point that WMP10 setup first created (if available) or again work on the reinstall/rollback front.

WMP10 also creates a System Restore point for you to use if you need it. If you had System Restore turned off, WMP10 showed you a message explaining that having System Restore turned off would disable your ability to roll back. While the above steps on rollback should allow you to rollback using the Add/Remove Programs method: System Restore shouldn't really be off.

You can't install WMP9 on top of WMP10 - don't bother - you're just wasting your time. You *have* to rollback first.
Don't try running the WMP10 INFs directly - they are not AdvPack nor SetupAPI INFs, so running them directly in either install or uninstall fashions will break rollback.

Q: I have a question about the WM Player 9 Series installer or uninstaller...
A: If the Windows Media Player install fails, you can look for more information in the file "c:\windows\wmsetup.log". In this file will be lines beginning with "ERROR: ". Those lines help indicate what the error was.

Note that the WMP9 installer automatically enters reinstall mode if you install it on top of itself - that's the best way to do a repair. It is counterproductive to remove the player if you intend on reinstalling it.
If you want to roll back to your previous player, read the How To here. If you had System Restore turned off, you can still run a Repair of Windows XP. Note first that you should NEVER disable System Restore if you are not the most bad-ass system jockey in the world. I do this stuff for a living, and I would not turn off System Restore if you paid me to. It is NOT worth it to turn off System Restore.

Anyways- to repair Windows XP:

  • Boot from the Windows XP CD. In order to do this, you will likely need to enter your computer's BIOS and set it to boot from CD. If you are not comfortable doing this, contact product support to help walk you through this.
  • Do not choose Repair when it is offered. That will take you to the Repair Console and you don't want to be there.
  • Choose Upgrade
  • The installer will find your existing XP installation and offer to repair it.
  • Now you choose Repair.
  • Let it do its thing (don't use Dynamic Update, though).
  • No loss in settings, programs or data. You will lose any patches/updates, though.

If for some reason you don't have your Windows XP CD (?!?), you need to get a Windows XP CD.
It may be possible to install Windows XP SP1 in Full Install mode from a Windows XP SP1 CD and that should replace the Windows Media Player 9 Series with Windows Media Player (8) for Windows XP.

To repair Windows Me:
If you're *still* having problems after system restore, the following should work for you-

  • Download mp71.exe (the Windows Media Player 7.1 installer - you'll need to search for it a tiny bit) from the Windows Media download site.
  • Rename the file "C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe" to "C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.bak"
  • Rename the file "c:\windows\system\wmploc.dll" to "c:\windows\system\wmploc.bak"
  • Run "mp71.exe" to install WMP7.1
On a test system, this appeared to undo any damage System Restore had done to Windows Media Player. However, since I can't personally reproduce System Restore troubles reliably, your mileage may vary. If all else fails "mplayer2.exe" (WMP6) should still be working on the system.

If you STILL are not having any luck, your best bets are:

  • Make sure you've addressed the known compatibility bug-aboos.
  • Work with the people in the microsoft.public.windowsmedia.player newsgroup (available on the msnews.microsoft.com news server if your server doesn't have it - you may want to refresh your newsgroups if you don't see it) to identify and resolve this issue, either now or in the final release.
  • Upgrade to a later OS..
  • Run "mplayer2.exe" (WMP6, still on your system) as necessary.
  • Contact technical support.

Q: How do I repair WMP8 on Windows XP?
A: Assuming you have exhausted all other options, the following steps will partially repair WMP8. These steps are wholly unsupported by Microsoft, and only mentioned by me because it *is* the only way you'd be able to reinstall WMP8 - note that this will likely not fix many/any bugs, but if you're desperate... Run:
rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection InstallWMP64 132 c:\windows\inf\mplayer2.inf
(Point it to the Windows XP CD)
rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection InstallWMP7 132 c:\windows\inf\wmp.inf
(Point it to the Windows XP CD)
and then Restart your machine (absolutely mandatory: almost every action done internally here is delayed until reboot). [Note that "c:\windows" should be replaced with your windows directory - it will be "c:\winnt" on computers upgraded from Windows 2000 or NT4. Note also that all command lines are case-sensitive.]
As an alternative, you may be better off using Windows XP's cool System Restore functionality. It's on the Start Menu under "Help and Support".
As a FURTHER alternative, Evey points out you can try to repair Windows XP itself (which will more fully repair WMP for XP along with it)-
To repair Windows XP:
  • Boot from the Windows XP CD.
  • Do not choose Repair when it is offered. That will take you to the Repair Console and you don't want to be there.
  • Choose Upgrade
  • The installer will find your existing XP installation and offer to repair it.
  • Now you choose Repair.
  • Let it do its thing.
  • No loss in settings, programs or data. You will lose any patches/updates, though.

Q: How do I uninstall the player? I need to fix it!
A: I'm not sure where the Myth of Uninstall was created. By the "Myth of Uninstall", I mean the notion that uninstalling something is the way to fix it. But it's fairly incorrect, so...:

On Windows 7, go to the Turn Windows Features On or Off control panel. Uncheck Windows Media Player under Media Features. Reboot to finish that uninstall, then go back and turn it back on (if you want to).

On Windows XP or older systems, the older WMP installer is optimized (in order to avoid reboots) in such a fashion that if the player is not currently completely installed, the WMP installer will only install missing components. So when you uninstall (which will only ever be partial due to how Windows works), your subsequent reinstall only half-reinstalls the player. If you had simply reinstalled the player over the top of itself, the installer would in that case have fully reinstalled itself. So, in a nutshell: if you are trying to fix the player, simply reinstall it over the top of itself. If you are using Windows Media Player 9, then you will typically find the installer (mpsetup.exe or mpsetupxp.exe) you used in "c:\program files\windows media player\installer", and can use that to reinstall the player. Otherwise, go to Microsoft's download site and redownload and reinstall the player.

If for some reason you are in the "opposing" camp and firmly feel that Uninstalling first is beneficial (and it isn't, at least for WMP), you MUST be careful to tell the user in question to reinstall TWICE. The first reinstall gets the uninstalled components reinstalled, and the second reinstall gets everything reinstalled. I think it's backwards to uninstall/reinstall, but ... whatever. I'll just try to educate here. :\

Finally, the most important fundamental problem with Uninstalling As A Solution is the notion that somehow a reinstall will magickally fix the issue. While this may be true in an extreme minority of cases, the reality is that WMP functions like a tier in the game Jenga: it is reliant on the components underneath it functioning correctly in order for WMP itself to be stable. So (uninstalling and) reinstalling WMP until you're blue in the face won't fix a user profile issue, won't fix an MDAC or library corruption issue, won't fix a video card or sound card driver issue, won't fix an external codec corruption issue, etc. (Uninstalling/)Reinstalling as a problem-solving solution is a pretty lazy approach to solving the problem at hand, and shouldn't be something you'd really expect to work. Sure, you can try it if it makes you happy, but ... don't expect it to magickally solve the problem. Reinstall the player over the top of itself once, and if you are fixed up: awesome! If not... like I said, reinstallation isn't a very effective solution, given that the majority of issues you'd encounter with WMP would be completely external to WMP and thus not remotely tweaked or touched by WMP's reinstallation.

If I still haven't been able to dissuade you from uninstalling first, the Uninstall Steps are mentioned in the player's release notes, and also covered in the questions above this one.

Q: I need to uninstall and then reinstall WMP (or newer) in order to fix an issue...
A: Uninstalling and then reinstalling software to "fix" problems with it tends to be overkill. Not as huge overkill as reinstalling the operating system, but still... a bad general practice.

In WMP's case, downloading the WMP installer and running the WMP7 (or newer) install on *top* of an existing install and choosing Reinstall All is the single best trouble-shooting method for WMP. Note that WMP9 automatically enters Reinstall All mode when you install it on top of itself, so it doesn't expose the Reinstall All button any more.

(The problem with uninstalling/reinstalling WMP is that most of what usually goes wrong with WMP's world is not contained within WMP: bad drivers, incorrect registry/network settings, etc. The Reinstall All mode won't change that, but it's the most effective way of ensuring that *everything* WMP knows how to set up is set up correctly.)

Q: How do I distribute my codecs to users in my intranet?
A: WMP does not directly support this: you could either deploy them via SMS (or equivalent) or bundle them into your WMP Enterprise Deployment package (see next question).

Q: How do I install WMP10 (or newer) in unattended mode?
A: For Enterprise deployment, the EDP should be what you want. (If you contact product support directly, they have an EDP designed to support version 11. This will not be generally released.) Older versions of the EDP are no longer available from the Microsoft.com web site since they are semi-archaic at this point.

For older versions: first you must have a license to redistribute it. This page details how to get the license.
Once you've gotten a license, you'd want to use the case-sensitive command-line:

(installpackage.exe) /Q:A /R:N /C:"setup_wm.exe /Q:A /R:N"
You will need to check the result of the install process to determine if you need to reboot or not. Check:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Setup, "InstallResult"
after setup. This should be a REG_DWORD value. If this value is set to 0xC00D2AFB (NS_E_REBOOT_REQUIRED) or 0xD2AF9 (NS_S_REBOOT_REQUIRED), you will need to reboot. If the value is 0xD2AF8 (NS_S_REBOOT_RECOMMENDED), then that means that either some further file clean-up will appear on reboot (no need to account for) or that a device driver has been installed and will not be functional until system reboot (which is of course only of interest if you need a device driver, such as the Adaptec/Roxio CD Burning Plugin). [This information is also applicable to WMP7 setup, but driver-related reboots are treated as REQUIRED reboots in WMP7 setup, which is why a reboot is pretty much mandatory.]

Q: I wish to deploy the Windows Media Player in an intranet and block XXX feature (radio, Media Guide, etc). How do I do so?
A: The easiest thing to do is to use the Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc) to lock the user into a skin of your choice using the "Set and lock skin" policy. This eliminates access to the Media Guide and Radio Tuner from within the player.

If you're a user locked into skin mode - a tweaking program called "Fresh UI" can lock you into skin mode using the Policy setting sometimes, so be aware of that.

Q: Why does WMP not show up when I run it? I only get an icon for it on the task bar.
A: Start WMP, then right-click on the taskbar icon for WMP, then select Move from those options. Click the left and up arrows on your keyboard until WMP comes back onscreen - it is simply offscreen at this point. If a list of options do not come up, you are in skin mode in the player. Browse to c:\program files\windows media player\skins and double-click on a skin file - that should open up in the player, and the player should then be visible again.

Q: Why do I get the error "UNREGMP2.EXE file is linked to missing export ADVAPI32.DLL:SetNamedSecurityInfoW" when trying to install the player?
A: Your advapi32.dll file has been corrupted by rogue software on your box (I believe it is now version "4.71.0118.0", which is not the version it is supposed to be). In order to fix this, you will need to go the Add/Remove Control Panel, select the "Internet Explorer" option in this list, and then run the Repair option that it will offer. At that point you will then need to reinstall the Media Player, but you should be good to go from that point.

Q: How do I make Windows Media Player my default player for a file type?
A: On Vista or Windows 7: Go to the Start Menu and use the Default Programs control panel.

On XP: Go to WMP's Tools:Options:File Types menu dialog. Choose which file types you want WMP to be the default player for, then click apply. There are also articles on this for WMP11 and WMP7, although the same steps generally apply.
Certain web pages force you to use WMP6 in them. However, WMP9 and newer takes over the WMP6 embedded playback, so if you wish to not use WMP6 in web pages anymore, WMP9 or newer is the other option available. Simply install it and WMP6 will stop being embedded.

Q: How do I make Windows Media Player not be my default player for a file type?
A: On Vista: Use the Start Menu's Default Programs dialog to associate to your new chosen player.
On either Vista or XP, you can also the Set Programs and Defalts control panel, although that can be overkill. It's probably easiest to go to WMP's Tools:Options:File Types menu dialog. Unselect the file types you don't want WMP to be the default player for, then click apply. These settings persist between installs: once you've made changes here, WMP will no longer take the association unless you ask it to. (This dialog is at Tools:Options:Formats in older versions of WMP.)

Q: Why does some other player always play back the files I want to play back with WMP or some other player?
A: That usually means that the other application is taking back over the association. If giving the association to WMP doesn't work, you would either need to turn off some setting in the other application's Options menu or uninstall that other application.

Q: Why did "Add to Playlist" disappear for MP3 files?
A: Some unknown recent versions of MusicMatch Jukebox and RealPlayer are munging the registry. Going to WMP's Tools:Options:File Types dialog and unchecking then rechecking "MP3 File" should fix the issue. In some cases, this interference on their part will also break multimedia file download, but again the same suggestion should fix that problem too.

Q: Where can I find mplayer2.exe / WMP6.4?
A: If WMP7 (or newer) is installed, use Start Menu:Run and enter "mplayer2.exe" to access it. You can then use WMP6's View:Options:Formats dialog to reassociate files back to WMP6. WMP6 is not available upon Windows Vista or newer systems.

Q: How do I change which language of WMP that I have installed? I installed the wrong language.
A: Download WMP for the language of your choice and choose Reinstall All mode, installing it on top of your existing install. You may need to update the desktop shortcut yourself, but everything else should be fixed. If this still does not fix your problem, find "wmploc.dll" on your system, rename that (to "wmploc.bak" or something similar), and then again reinstall WMP in Reinstall All mode.

Q: Why doesn't Launchcast work on my system now that I'm using WMP9/10?
Q: Why does the player show up as a random bunch of controls and then black space in web pages?
A: If and only if this page fails (and looks screwed up), but this one works, then what has happened is that the backwards compatibility for WMP6 is failing. This should be indicative of the backwards compatibility type library not being registered.
In order to fix this, run the following commands from either the "Run" prompt or a cmd.exe window: " regsvr32 jscript.dll ", " regsvr32 wmpdxm.dll ", " regsvr32 wmpasf.dll ", " regsvr32 wmp.dll ", and then you should be fixed.

If that does not work, and you're not on XP or older, running "regsvr32.exe msdxm.ocx" should fix this by restoring the WMP6-flavor of embedding. (Run "regsvr32.exe wmpdxm.dll" to undo that.)

Q: Why am I getting the Media Guide in a foreign language? How do I change the default language?
A: (thanks to John Cupak) The Media Guide uses IE's default language initially, and then sets a cookie indicating your language preference. Delete that cookie and the language will reset.

Q: Why can't I change the player install location?
A: An OS upgrade over a WMP installed to a custom location would result in WMP not working post OS-install. This is a limitation in the OS installer that WMP setup has to be compatible with.

Q: What's the version history on WMP?
A: See the official write-up.

Q: Can I force an automatic download of WMP from my web page? (Also: Is codebase download supported in V7?)
A: No. You could point the codebase tag at a known player binary download location, but I'd highly recommend against it. There is no longer any CABs available for any version of Windows Media Player. If your page uses a CODEBASE URL specification, your page is in error, sorry.

Q: Can I open multiple instances of WMP?
A: You can actually run the Zune Media Player at the same time, which is about the same thing as two instances of WMP.
But for WMP7 (or newer), no. You can either embed multiple instances of WMP7 (or newer) in a web page (I've supplied a page you can do this with here) or open "mplayer2.exe" (WMP6 - it's already on your box if you have WMP7) multiple times [WMP6's View:Options:Player menu option for "Open a new player for each media file played" must be checked].

For Media Player for XP (aka WMP8) ONLY (no other version)... there's an unsupported ability to do this that is fixed (removed) in WM Player 9 Series. Launch one instance of MP4XP, then right-click on the MP4XP icon and choose "Run As". You can launch numerous copies of MP4XP this way. This is not supported, though, so try not to do anything too crazy. Generally, you'll only be able to play content that was previously in your Media Library with any additional player, and you will not be able to set player options under the Tools:Option menu.

(For the curious: multiple stand-alone players were turned off in WMP7+ due to library and device contention. Don't ask me, that's just the Rationale.)

Q: I'm getting a "kmode_exception_not_handled" blue screen installing WMP.
A: Uninstall DivX 3.x (which is warez, btw) and run the install again.

Q: How do I determine what version of WMP I have?
A: See this article.

Q: How can I detect what version of WMP a user has via HTML?
A: See my sample on how to do this or the KB here.

Q: How can I detect what version of WMP a user has via my application?
A: This is documented here.
How you want to do this look-up really depends on what you're trying to do. Different functionality is supported in various versions of the player. The simplest detection method is to look up: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components . Then, for WMP6, look at key "{22d6f312-b0f6-11d0-94ab-0080c74c7e95}". Or for WMP7 (or newer), look at key "{6BF52A52-394A-11d3-B153-00C04F79FAA6}". Under either of these keys, if IsInstalled is set to 0x1, you can then safely use the "Version" string here as the version of WMP that is installed. Note that, yes, you can have WMP6 installed alongside a later version of WMP.

Q: Why does WMP setup ask to reboot after the install?
A: Certain files can be in use by the shell which thus require WMP to reboot. If you wish to avoid this reboot, log out and back in previous to installing.
WMP9 and newer should not require a reboot in other conditions, provided that WMP is not running at the point of install. WMP is pretty good about avoiding reboots if possible. If you're asked to reboot, please do so before using the player - otherwise the player should block you.

Q: Why does setup fail if Zip Magic is installed?
A: See this page for the work-around. The explanation here is that WMP setup is expecting "npds.zip" to be a file, and instead it is a folder due to Zip Magic.

Q: Why does WMP crash in the middle of setup?
A: You're running old NVidia drivers: either get newer ones or reinstall the ones you have.

Q: Why can't I install WMP while running Terminal Server in Application Mode?
A: The Windows directory location is incorrect. You need to switch to Remote Administration Mode to install software.

Q: How do I get WMP 7.1 to run on NT4?
Q: How do I get WMP 7.1 to run on Win95?
A: These operating systems aren't supported. Be sane and use WMP6 on those OSs.

Q: Where can I find a player for () OS?
A: The currently maintained players can be found here. You'll find players for Windows, WinCE, MacOS, and Solaris there. There's the old Win 3.1 player here floating around somewhere, and an old Linux x86 ELF player here

Q: I installed WMP while running McAfee Virus Scanner and things don't work right...
A: Turn off the Virus Scan then reinstall WMP.

Q: How do I disable Auto-Update (aka AutoUpgrade)?
A: See the KB article here.

Q: I liked having different icons for each file type like WMP6 did. Can I get that back?
A: Okay. Run this and then run:
     c:\windows\inf\unregmp2.exe /AddNewExtensions
for XP, and on Vista, run "cmd.exe" As Administrator and then run:
     unregmp2.exe /AddNewExtensions
(this is case-sensitive, and the text "c:\windows" may need to be changed to the Windows directory for your system).

Q: How do I get rid of the "Play as Playlist", "Add to Playlist" and "Enqueue"/"Add to Now Playing List" options WMP likes to use in the shell?
A: Rename or delete the registry keys "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{F1B9284F-E9DC-4e68-9D7E-42362A59F0FD" ("Add to Playlist", "Add to Burn List", "Add to Sync List", and "Enqueue") and "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{8DD448E6-C188-4aed-AF92-44956194EB1F}" ("Copy to Audio CD") and "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{CE3FB1D1-02AE-4a5f-A6E9-D9F1B4073E6C}" ("Play as Playlist"). It is not recommended that you do this. You will need to reinstall the player on top of itself if you want to restore these registry keys.

CD Playback Questions
Q: The audio crackles and pops or 'skips' during CD playback.
A: Turn on Error Correction in WMP's Tools:Options:CD Audio menu [this is under WMP's Tools:Options:Devices menu for the specific drive in WMP8 and newer]. If that doesn't help, switch to using Analog playback using WMP's Tools:Options:CD Audio menu (this is under Tools:Options:Devices on WMP8 and newer). Note that this will disable visualizations (unless you are using Windows XP). See the list of CD-ROM drives with known playback issues and see if your drive is on the list. If subsequently you don't hear audio, look here. Additionally, if your drive is really not happy, turning on error correction with digital playback will actually cause skipping.

Q: Why does WMP's CD audio or audio sound so bad/goofy/staticy?.
A: Turn off SRS WowSound and/or the EQ (most likely culprit) from within the Now Playing pane. On most people's computers it hopefully makes the sound sound Better, but on some... it doesn't.

Q: Why does my computer lock up when I attempt to play CDs with WMP (or the computer reports an I/O conflict)?
Q: Why does WMP crash with internal application error on my Win9x system?
A: Uncheck "Use Digital Playback" for that drive in WMP's Tools:Options:Devices menu (this is under Tools:Options:CD Audio on older versions of WMP): your CD-ROM driver doesn't support this and does bad things when we try. If that still doesn't help, go into your CD-ROM driver properties (to get this, right-click on My Computer, select Properties, (select Hardware on Windows XP), select Device Manager, select the "CD-ROM" or "DVD/CD-ROM drives" listing, select the drive in question, select Properties) and uncheck "Use DMA" - and/or "Enable Digital Audio for this Device". A Win9x OS may hang right then (and if it does, let me know , but the setting should be set... and you'd want to check with your provider for updated drivers even after this work-around. Microsoft has an article on further trouble-shooting here for Win9x, and here for Windows XP.

Q: I can edit the track information for my CD, but how do I update the CD album name and artist?
A: You need to use the "Get Names" option ("Find Album Info" option in v9) in the CD Audio pane (Copy From CD pane in WMP8+) in order to do this. (In WMP10 you can edit all these fields within the Rip pane.)

Q: WMP is showing the wrong content information about my CD. How do I fix this?
A: WMP7 (or newer) recognizes tracks via a unique ID on the compact disc associated to metadata that AMG (All Music Guide) maintains. When you update this information via the "Get Names"/"Find Album Info" option in the CD Audio (or Copy From CD) pane, that information will be used to correct the database in the future. AMG says here that it takes about six weeks or so for information to be added. If you are an artist or producer, they take direct submissions via an e-mail address on that page (or this page), so go send them mail. :)
(And yes, this stuff does get used - I've verified the addition to the database of about ~200 CDs I put metadata in for.)

Q: Why won't WMP update the Album Info?
A: If WMP won't update the album info, the possible fixes are:
* If the Media Guide shows up in WMP, then that's good. If not, WMP can't connect to the metadata servers and you need to fix WMP's connection settings.
* If clearing IE's Temporary Files cache using IE's settings menu helps restore this, your IE cache was corrupt.
* If running "regsvr32.exe wmp.dll" fixes this, you probably have a Dell.
* If player library corruption is blocking this, then resetting your library will fix you up.
* If it's an user profile corruption, then a second/new user account on the system should be able to retrieve metadata. You can then copy that new user's library on top of your library and you should be good to go.

Q: Why is there gap between tracks when playing back my seamless DJ mix (or classical) CD?
A: WMP7 (or newer) uses digital playback, which introduces this. Switching to use Analog Playback within WMP's Tools:Options:Devices for that drive (this is under Tools:Options:CD Audio on older versions of WMP) menu will eliminate this for CD playback. This gapping issue is fixed for CDs in Media Player 8 for Windows XP. Gapping for other core file types is generally fixed for Windows Media Player 9 Series, which introduces cross-fading on Windows XP.
Note that this addresses playback, and not burning CDs.
If you want gapless CDs, that requires Disc-At-Once (DAO) or such. WMP12 on Windows 7 supports this via the option in WMP's Tools:Options:Burn menu. Older versions of WMP do not natively support but other software does. For example, the Nero Fast CD-Burning Plug-in for Windows Media Player 9 Series (ONLY) allows you to burn gapless CDs. If that doesn't meet your needs, use the stand-alone Nero or Roxio CD burning software, both of which support WMA and DAO.

As regards CDText: WMP can not read CDText nor can it normally burn CDText. However, CDs burnt with the Nero Fast CD-Burning Plug-in will include CDText. :) Or you can install this CDText plug-in if you want WMP to be able to generally read CDText.

Q: Why doesn't my CD headphone jack let me hear audio when I use WMP to play a CD?
A: The headphone jack is only live during analog playback. In order to make this work, you'd need to switch WMP to use Analog Playback instead of digital playback: you can change this in WMP's Tools:Options:Devices settings for that drive (this is under Tools:Options:CD Audio on older versions of WMP). Or plug your headphones into the soundcard's output plug.

Q: Why won't WMP support digital playback on my CD-ROM drive?
A: First, you'd need DMA/digital audio extraction turned on. Second, WMP tests the quality of the digital read. If the CD-ROM is giving a dirty read - spewing too many errors into the data feed - WMP will reject digital playback on that drive. Some players are more accepting of bad reads, but continuing to read digitally from a dirty source can result in very nasty errors, and as such WMP plays it safe and disallows digital reads from dirty source CD-ROM drives. You may simply have a bad drive.
Also, see the following question...

Q: Why won't WMP support digital playback on my CD-ROM drive if I change its drive letter?
A: Brief investigation seems to indicate that this is a bug in Win9x when multiple CD-ROM drives are installed. Let Windows decide the drive letter and you'll be fine. Alternatively, Barry Watzman sez that Adaptec Easy CD Creator, Music Match Jukebox (which rips to WMA), and Audio Grabber all support digital ripping in this configuration. [Supposedly DAEMON Tools also causes digital playback to fail, because it also changes the CD-ROM drive letter.]

Q: WM Player 9 Series's HDCD playback doesn't work on my drive.
A: On some cards HDCD will not work if hardware acceleration is turned off.

Q: Why is WMP the only app that plays CDs correctly on my box?
A: Your analog CD playback is probably broken. Usually this is because the tiny little wire that connects the back of the CD-ROM drive to the motherboard has fallen out. They're really fragile that way.

Q: How do I make CDs AutoPlay / not AutoPlay (aka AutoStart)?
A: See this web page for details on how to do this for Win9x systems.
To disable auto-play of CD's in Windows 2000, do the following:
1. Go to the start menu
2. Open a new Microsoft Management Console by running "mmc" (without the quotation marks) at a command line.
3. On the Console menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.
4. Click Add to display the installed snap-ins.
5. After pressing "add" look for the Group Policy snap-in and click ADD
6. Click Finish
7. Click Close
8. Click OK
9. Expand the Local Computer Policy to the following: "\Computer Configuration\Administrative templates\System"
10. Double-click on Disable Autoplay
11. Choose Enabled
12. Apply the change
13. Press OK

Note: If you just want to change to a different player for AutoPlay, either go to WMP's Tools:Options:Formats/File Types menu and unselect AudioCD, or go to My Computer:Tools:Folder Options:File Types, and change Audio CD to open with your favorite CD Player.

In Windows XP, you can update the AutoPlay tasks by:
1. Open My Computer
2. Right-click on the drive in question and select "Properties"
3. Go to the "AutoPlay" tab and select what AutoPlay action you would like

Stephen points out that on Windows XP, you can also turn AutoInsert Notification on or off. AutoInsert Notification is what tells software that there is a new CD in the drive (vs AutoPlay, which is What Do We Do With It). To change the AutoInsert Notification (which I recommend you always leave ON)-
===
1. Click Start, click Run, type "regedit" (without the quotation marks) in the Open box, and then press ENTER.
2. Locate and click the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CDRom
3. To enable automatically running CD-ROMs, change the Autorun value to 1. To disable automatically running CD-ROMs, change the Autorun value to 0 (zero).
4. Restart your computer.
===
If AutoPlay options are not visible on Windows XP, per Doug Knox-

Go to Start, Run and enter SERVICES.MSC
Scroll down to Shell Hardware Detection. Ensure that this service is Started and set to Automatic.
If that's set, check the Group Policy Editor - run "gpedit.msc", go to Local Computer Policy:Computer Configuration:Administrative Templates:System and make sure the "Turn off Autoplay" policy is set to "Not Configured".

If you're still having problems, find the TweakUI power toy and use that - that has some extra little AutoPlay options.
Vance points out that you can simply hold down the left shift key for 5-10 seconds after you insert the CD to disable AutoPlay temporarily.

Q: Why is the CD Audio playlist not refreshing when I insert a new CD? It only refreshes when I restart WMP...
Q: Why does the player not recognize a new CD when I put it in? It only refreshes when I restart WMP.
A: You've turned off AutoInsert Notification, which WMP uses to detect the newly inserted disc. Turning AutoPlay back on should fix this. (I believe both SoundBlaster and VMWare turn this off... if that's what happened to you, you should contact their support and ask 'em not to do this...)

CD Ripping (recording from) Questions
Q: How do I stop WMP from automatically ripping my audio CDs?
A: If you have already unchecked "Rip CD when inserted" on WMP's Tools:Options:Rip Music and it's still ripping, then go to Windows Explorer. Right-click on the CD/DVD drive in question. Select Properties. Select the AutoPlay tab. On that tab, pick the Music CD dropdown item, and change the "Action to Perform" to anything other than "Rip CD". (Thanks to Neil for this.)

Q: Why don't I see a Rip button in Windows Media Player 12?
A: If you have the power2go software, you may need to disable it so that WMP can gain access to the CD drive.

Q: I want to rip at a WMA bitrate higher than 192kbps. How do I do this?
A: Set WMARecordRate under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences to whatever value you want. The UI won't show you that you're using that in the Rip tab, but it'll be at that value.

Q: Where can I buy an MP3 encoder for WMP for Windows XP (or WMP9) to encode MP3s with?
A: Click WMP's Tools:Options:Copy Music menu dialog's "Click here for MP3 information" button. Or just upgrade to WMP10 or newer, which includes a built-in MP3 encoder.

Note that due to Thompson-FhG's licensing of MP3, you are NOT likely going to find a free MP3 encoder. LAME may have something in the works, but any other package claiming to be 'free' is likely pirated software.

Q: I am using WMP10 and cannot encode to MP3 (specifically MP3 at 128kbps). Why do I get error 0xc00d0faa ("Windows Media Player cannot copy the file...")?
A: The work-around is to go to WMP's Tools:Options:Rip Music menu and select anything other than 128kbps in the drop-down.
The fix is to delete the registry value "LowrateSample" under the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Settings\Mp3Encoding . If that value does not exist, then you'll want to make that the "PreferredCodecPath" at that location is pointing to "l3codecp.acm". If both of those check out, then you'll want to switch to a different bitrate. If the value of "PreferredCodecPath" is "l3codeca.acm", that is WRONG. It should never be that ever. l3codecp.acm is the correct setting for WMP10.

Q: How do I get WMP to rip at 96kbps MP3?
A: Set one of the "Rate" values at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Settings\MP3Encoding to 96k.

Q: Is WM Player 9 Series's "Windows Media Audio" backwards compatible with WMP7?
A: Yes. It's the same bitstream, but provides ~20% better quality. The other codecs ("Windows Media Audio (variable-bitrate)" and "Windows Media Audio lossless") are not backward compatible and will require the user to be connected to the Internet so that they can download a new Windows Media Audio codec. See this for more information.

Q: Why do I get the error "The system cannot find the path specified." (0x80070003) or "The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect." when trying to record (rip) from an Audio CD?
A: The registry key:
   HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences
value "CDRecordpath" got corrupted. Go to WMP's Tools:Options:CD Audio menu option, and fix the path, and make sure you click Apply when done. Note that the path may look correct, but you should ensure you click Apply anyways ( uncheck and recheck a checkbox on this page to get Apply to enable itself).

If that doesn't work, follow these steps.

Also note that you can't copy from CD using the 9 Series player over a remote terminal server connection.

Q: What's the benefit of CD Digital Recording?
A: WMP can do this faster than real-time and you don't pick up any noise from other audio sources on your sound mixer.

Q: Why isn't there any audio in the tracks I ripped from my CDs using analog ripping? I don't like silent files...
A: Either you have DMA *on* in Device Manager or your CD (or DVD) drive's analog audio cable is not connected. [On Win9x, DMA is set on the Properties:Settings dialog tab of your CD-ROM drive in Device Manager. On WinNT (2000/XP), this is set under Device Manager:IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers:Primary IDE Channel:Advanced Settings.] Within WMP, the "Analog" (vs. Digital) setting is in WMP's Tools:Options:Devices menu option, in the Properties for the CD device in question.

If you're getting background noise, mute the Line In and Microphone input in your system's volume settings.

If none of this helps - your best options are to either try an upgrade to Windows XP (better CD handling and drivers are found there) or to try a different CD-ROM drive.


DRM (Digital Rights Management) Questions
Q: I get the message "Windows Media Player cannot play the protected file because a security upgrade is required. Do you want to download the security upgrade?", but nothing happens.
A: If you are using WMP11 or newer, you should be able to view your "Indiv Version" under WMP's Help:About:Technical Support Information menu dialog. This should be 2.8.0.1 or later. If it is not, you can run (exactly, case-sensitive):
On XP:     %SystemRoot%\inf\unregmp2.exe /PerformIndiv
On Vista:     %SystemRoot%\system32\unregmp2.exe /PerformIndiv
from the Start menu's "Run" prompt. Then start WMP and try the content again.

If that still does not work (or you are using an earlier version of WMP), your DRM cache is likely corrupted. You can possibly fix this via resetting your DRM store (step one is probably not relevant to you). This will lose any established licenses, though, which you would then need to reacquire from your license/content provider. You would then need to attempt to Individualize again, either through the web page or unregmp2.

Because this is destructive, if you cannot Individualize (the problem here), you are far better off contacting actual support.

Q: How do I fix a crash in "Indiv01.key" or "Indiv02.key"?
A: Follow these steps.

Q: Why can I only play files I rip back on the computer I ripped them to, and not on another computer on the network (for example)?
A: This limitation is because of the DRM applied to the file, which licensed the file solely for your usage on that computer. To turn DRM off for all content you create in the future, go to WMP7's Tools:Options:CD Audio and uncheck "Enable Personal Rights Management" (this is under Tools:Options:Copy Music, "Protect Content" under newer versions of WMP), which will result in DRM-free content for all content ripped from that point forward.

Generally, I'd simply recommend turning DRM off - going to WMP's Tools:Options:Copy Music and unchecking "Protect Music" - and then rerecording the CDs in question with DRM turned off. After all, even if you recovered the files, they'd *still* be DRMd, and there seems to be no reason for that.

Q: I can no longer access my DRM'd (protected) content...
A: If you backed up your licenses, restore your licenses. If not - or if your license store is corrupt - then you'll want/need to reencode the content. Regardless, I'd recommend reencoding the files with DRM turned *off* - see above for how to turn it off.

Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11d6, 0xc00d2751 or 0xc00d2754 trying to play back my DRM'd content.
A: Look here for 0xc00d2751 or here for 0xc00d2754.

Q: Why isn't my content transcoded when I transfer it to my portable device?
A: The file you are trying to copy to your portable device may be protected. A protected file is a digital media file that is secured with a license to prevent illegal distribution.

When transferring to a portable device, the Player cannot convert protected content to other encoding formats (for example, from WMA to MP3) or to other bit rates (for example, from 128 kilobits per second (Kbps) to 64 Kbps). When transferring to a portable device, the Player can only convert unprotected content to other formats and bit rates.

Please also note that if you had hacked the WMP10 installer in order to install it onto Windows Server 2003, DRM may be broken on that machine until you format it, even after the upgrade to Windows Server 2003 SP1.


CD Burning (recording to) Questions
Q: I want to record an audio CD using my music.
A: This is built into Windows XP and newer. Just use the "Burn" tab.

On really old systems pre-XP systems, WMP7 or WM Player 9 Series will install the Roxio (Adaptec) CD-Burning Plug-in (provided your system doesn't have incompatibility issues with it). You can record to CD using WMP's File:Copy To CD option. You could manage much more full-fledged burns with the full Nero or Roxio burning software.

Also note that as of Nero 5.5, Nero also supports burning (non-copy protected) WMA files to disc via the WMA plug-in.
You will not be able to use audio plug-ins to affect how a CD is burned, meaning that you can not use the crossfading plug-in to burn a crossfaded CD. The CD will be normalized/leveled by default (if the files contain normalization/leveling information), but you can turn that off via TweakMP. Only the Windows 7 version of WMP can burn gapless CDs.

Per Kathy: In Media Player on Windows XP, you can also use WMP's "Copy to CD or Device" tab to burn CDs. If you're having problems with this and have up-to-date firmware for your burner (check your CD burner vendor's web site for that), there is an update available at Windows Update which may be of help. Furthermore, this is the actual Error Code Number to Error Description mapping table, which is also referenced with a little more data here - but note that MSDN's reference does not have the error code number.

Make sure you check out the actual Microsoft article on CD creation problems.

Finally, Kathy's Steps Towards Happy Burning are (that helps fix stuff like 0x8004020E (invalid alignment), 0x80040227 (filter in wrong state) and whatnot):

  1. Roxio's Drag to Disk or Sonic's "DLA" will interfere with burning - you may need to turn that off if you're using it - right-click on the drive and choose "Disable drag to disk for this drive"
  2. Run "regsvr32 wmp.dll" (only on XP, do not do this on Vista). Once that completes, restart the player and check to see if burning is now functional. This can fix the "Interface not registered" error.
  3. Check for your drive on http://www.microsoft.com/hcl. If it's not listed as a compatible burner for Windows XP, it may not work correctly. You may want to make sure (if this is Windows XP) that the drive is enabled for burning. Per the Windows XP Release Notes: "To verify that your CD recorder drive is recognized, open My Computer, and in the Devices with Removable Storage area, right-click the drive, and then click Properties. If your CD recorder is recognized, you will see a Recording tab. If you are having problems copying to CDs and your CD recorder is recognized in My Computer, verify that the Enable CD recording on this drive check box is selected in the Properties dialog box for that drive." If there is no Recording tab, it's possible that the drive is not recognized by XP as a burner.
  4. Make sure you have all burner-related updates from Windows Update. There's another burning update here - I'm not sure if that's on Windows Update.
  5. Set your burn speed lower on your drive. You can do this by right-clicking on the drive in Explorer, clicking Properties and lowering the speed on the Recording tab.
  6. Try different media. Sometimes, the quality of media is just not good.
  7. Try to burn some different songs - sometimes data gets corrupted.
  8. The "IMAPI burn service" must be enabled [Under the system's Administrative Tools:Computer Management:Services and Applications:Services].
  9. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the driver for the CD burner.
  10. Make sure you're using CD-Rs, not CD-RWs (CD-RWs don't work on most consumer players).

Also, you'll note that for all folders set as folder type "Music" (via folder Properties on the Customize tab) that have actual music in them (WMA/MP3/WAV) will have a "Burn Audio CD" folder task available.

Sometimes, while burning data CDs within Windows Explorer will work, burning Audio CDs in Windows Media Player will fail. Only one track may be burned before it stops and Windows Media Player says “will not fit” on the remaining tracks. Windows Media Player is simply reporting that the rest of the tracks will not fit on the completed CD because it has already been closed after burning one track. Because audio CDs need to be compatible with a wide range of consumer CD players, there is a greater likelihood that audio burns will fail due to buffer underruns. Closing some running programs and lowering drive speed may help. More about buffer under runs and what to do about them can be read here: http://www.cdrfaq.org/faq04.html#S4-1.

In some cases, WMP may be stuck "inspecting" when you're trying to burn a CD. This either indicate that a file in the burn list can't be found (the location can't be resolved) OR that WMP is busy trying to provide Volume Leveling information. In the first case, you should attempt to verify that the files in the burn list exist by playing them. In the second case, you can either wait or uncheck "Apply volume leveling" under WMP's Tools:Options:Burn menu.

Finally- there's an article on how to burn CDs on Windows XP here and another one here ("Windows XP CD Burning Secrets").

If that STILL doesn't work, you would have to use 3rd party burning software such as Nero or Roxio in order to burn your CDs.

Q: What if I want to burn a data CD?
A: Using WMP9 or newer on Windows XP or newer, go to the "Copy to CD or Device" menu tab. With your blank CD-RW in the burning driver, select "Data CD" from the drop-down tab on the right.

Or you can use the Windows XP shell interface for to burn a data CD. Or perhaps use Nero or Adaptec or another utility that will burn data CDs.
MP8 for Windows XP doesn't support burning data CDs.

One thing to note is that the Windows XP shell doesn't Finalize burned data CDs until the disc is absolutely full, so if your data CD player doesn't accept non-finalized CDs (as my Pioneer DEH-P940MP car CD player won't [and reportedly the Blaupunkt deck won't either]), you will most likely really want to use a 3rd party CD burning applications to burn the CD, and make sure you finalize the CD if your player won't accept it otherwise. Note that data CD players that don't accept non-finalized CDs are on their way out, so newer / more advanced players should accept non-finalized CDs just fine (as the Aiwa deck does). Some CD playback devices will also not accept CD-RWs, so you may need to burn with CD-Rs instead. And some REALLLLY old CD players simply won't accept anything other than commercially pressed CDs. :\

Q: How can I print playlists, CD labels, or the contents of my Media Library?
A: There were a bunch of tools to do this on WMPlugins.com - I do not know where to find those tools any longer.

If on the other hand you want a more full-fledged ability to print out the files you have on your system, Galley recommends Media Jukebox.
Gary recommends eMusic Tag Editor.

Q: I have accidently deleted my AutoPlaylist WPL files. Whoops! How do I restore them?
A: They should be on your system in a subdirectory under the- "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Music\Sample Playlists" directory (AKA "c:\documents and settings\all users\shared documents\shared music\sample playlists"). Alternatively, you could search your system for "Fresh tracks -- yet to be played.wpl"... where that is, the other WPLs will be.

If that doesn't make you happy, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Mediaplayer\Setup and delete the registry value "PlaylistsVersion" and then run the Windows Media Player and use its Help:Check for Update menu option to get the WPLs put back on your system.

Q: I have Adaptec EZCD Creator 3.5 installed on Windows 2000 and...
A: According to Adaptec, this is very bad. Uninstall Adaptec 3.5. If you really want to keep Adaptec 3.5 on W2K, only install WMP from the normal download site. If you do install the Adaptec CD-Burning Plug-in on top of Adaptec EZCD Creator 3.5, your system will not boot. Your system will not start until you use DOS to get rid of c:\winnt\system32\drivers\cdralw2k.sys and c:\winnt\system32\drivers\cdr4_2k.sys . The 7.0.0.1956 release of WMP7 prevents you from getting into this situation by blocking install of Adaptec if any incompatible software is found.

Q: I get error 0xc00d1176 - "A CD recorder (burner) was not detected".
Q: WMP's CD Burning option doesn't recognize my drive.
A: For Windows XP users: Note that error 0xC00D1176 on Windows XP - "A CD recorder (burner) was not detected. Connect a CD recorder, and try copying again." - is basically the same thing - Windows XP/WMP is finding that your current CD burner is either not supported or not installed correctly. Per the Windows XP release notes:
"If your CD recorder (burner) drive is not recognized as a recording drive in My Computer, Windows Media Player cannot be used to create audio CDs. To verify that your CD recorder drive is recognized, open My Computer, and in the Devices with Removable Storage area, right-click the drive, and then click Properties. If your CD recorder is recognized, you will see a Recording tab.
If you are having problems copying to CDs and your CD recorder is recognized in My Computer, verify that the Enable CD recording on this drive check box is selected in the Properties dialog box for that drive." For further information, read here. If the system recognizes the drive as one that can burn CDs, it'll have a "Recording" tab for it under the Properties for that drive on WMP's Tools:Options:Devices menu dialog. If it does not have a "Recording" tab there, the system does not recognize that drive as supporting burning.

MPEG/DVD playback Questions
Q: Why does WMP crash/hang playing MPEG files on my box?
A: You're likely having video card driver problems. Turn down the video hardware acceleration (in WMP's View:Options:Performance menu dialog).

Q: Why can't I get video, seek in MPEGs or other MPEG related playback problems?
Q: Why am I getting ERROR_INVALID_FUNCTION - 0x80070001 trying to play back MPEG files?
A: WMP uses DirectShow for MPEG playback, and a number of third party applications install MPEG DirectShow filters that override the MPEG filter WMP normally uses. In particular, people sometimes seem to have conflicts with Intervideo WinDVD, Ligos, Micron WinDVD, System Shock (LGVid.ax is the key file here, TMK), and Creative Encore DVD. Uninstalling that software and potentially reinstalling WMP should fix the issue. There's an article about the problems with WinDVD here.

If you need to turn off a 3rd party MPEG codec and don't know how to uninstall it, the Radlight tool is what you need then. Or the DirectShow Filter Manager should work.

In some cases, the video card driver's video overlay may not be working properly follow the steps here to work around that driver bug.

Note that mcspmpeg.ax is a MainConcept MPEG file installed by a number of MPEG editing tools. It can cause crashing errors in playback. Most notably it's been known to make it so that you can't click on an Internet link to an MPEG and have it work right. Either renaming the files mcspmpeg.ax AND mcdsmpeg.ax on your system or running "regsvr32 /u %path%\mcdsmpeg.ax" and "regsvr32 /u %path%\mcspmpeg.ax" or contacting MainConcept should help fix this up. Note that these two files may be installed in multiple places all over your system, so you'd need to make sure you search for them if you're having problems with them.

I also found that the XingMPEG Player overrode a number of registry settings that WMP set, so once you install the XingMPEG Player, ASF won't embed properly in PowerPoint any more, for example.

Also, if you get a crash in "encwdm.ax" when using WMP, run

regsvr32 /u encwdm.ax
which will break the Creative Encore DVD player but will stop crashing WMP. Run:
regsvr32 encwdm.ax
to reverse this status.

If you get a crash in "mplapx.dll" (or "cpuinf32.dll") (Ligos MPEG decoder files), this is an either an issue with ULead or DVDIt. [1/3/02 Update: Sabine points out that ULead's Tech Support pages are broken right now - this may be another way to find the update, but ... you should probably contact ULead.] I've heard multiple reports now that the Ligos software as used by some video editing and other software is really really bad for WMP and nearly impossible to remove, so either stay the heck away from it or contact the Ligos company directly so that they can get this fixed up. :\

Finally, if you really are still baffled and want to figure out which MPEG decoder is being loaded, you'd need to install the (huge) DirectX SDK and use GraphEdt.exe. Build a graph based upon the file in question - that should show you which filter is being loaded, and which you would likely want to remove.

Q: Why doesn't my MPEG file play in full? At a certain point in the file, video playback (or playback entirely) stops.
A: There's been an upsurge of crappy quality files on the Internet in the past years. Your MPEG is joined together poorly. You will need to run it through an MPEG editor to get it working correctly. Or you can use something like TMPGEnc Tools and try to simply reconstruct the file header, which may fix this up.

Q: Why is there an obnoxious humming sound coming through my speakers when I play back DVDs with WMP?
A: Go to the system's Volume Control and mute the "CD Player" mixer line - it's trying to produce audio for you, but shouldn't be.

Q: Why does pressing "Stop" result in error "Not Implemented" when playing back an MPEG with WMP?
A: Not sure. It'd be due to a bad third party MPEG or DVD filter - I'm not sure which one yet.

Q: I get the message "This version testing date has expired." when trying to play back an MPEG file using WMP. How do I fix this?
A: Uninstall the shareware MPEG player you've installed. You may need to reinstall WMP in reinstall mode to fix this. If you could, let me know what shareware player you were using so maybe v.next can account for this better. Right now my understanding is that this is either: Creative Playcenter, Intervideo WinDVD (confirmed at least in six instances), or SoftPC/DVD Encoder (confirmed twice).

Q: How do I get rid of the "Cannot Create Overlays" message I get during DVD playback?
A: Go into the Display settings and turn down either your Screen Resolution or Color Quality - the video card driver isn't supporting your current settings fully.

Q: I'm trying to play back MPEG2 or Video CD (VCD or SVCD) or DVD content on my box and it doesn't work.
A: Your box probably doesn't have an MPEG2 decoder. There's DVD Decoder packs available currently for use with Windows Media Player on Windows XP or Windows Vista.

If you have more than one MPEG2 decoder on the system, any arbitrary decoder may be being used for playback. To determine what DVD decoders are installed on your machine, run "dvdupgrd.exe /detect" (from the Windows Start:Run menu prompt) and that will list out the installed decoders. To set what decoder to use, get the Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility (or the Vista Media Center Decoder utility ).

I have personally had troubles due to the nVidia decoders (nvauddec.ax and nvviddec.ax), so had to unregister those in order to get playback to work correctly.

Q: How do I access multiple MPEG audio channels in my karaoke (karoake) or "multiple language" Video CD?
A: You can set these options in Windows Media Player 9 Series' Play:Audio and Language Tracks menu options. WMP7 and WMP8 simply play back Audio Channel One and will not allow you to switch which channel is used. You will need to use "mplayer2.exe" (WMP6 - this is already on your box) for now if you wish to use specific audio channels. While playing back the file within WMP6, go to the File:Properties menu option and from there you will be able to access the MPEG Audio decoder property page which will let you select which audio channel to use.



Codec Questions
Q: What codec do I need to play this file?
A: Open the file in WMP's Now Playing view. Once playback begins or partially fails, you will either get a pop-up error or the file will turn red in the Now Playing list. (If you don't get an error, right-click on the file in that Now Playing list and select Error Details.) On this error message, click Web Help. That information should tell you what codec you will need to obtain. Please note that the Microsoft codec list is more robust than any other source, so this is a really good starting point.

If that does NOT help, FIRST STEP: VideoInspector should help you determine what codec you need. Alternatively, opening up the file in "mplayer.exe" (on Win9x) or "mplay32.exe" (on WinNT, 2000, or XP) usually tells you what video codec is missing. This player will pop up something of the nature:

"Video not available, cannot find 'vids:XXXX' decompressor."
The XXXX sequence here is the "fourCC" (four Character Code) identifier for the codec.
SECOND STEP: This is a good place to find codecs once you know what you need, such as if you know the fourCC. The official Microsoft site for this information is currently here. If what you're missing is a Microsoft system codec that you've accidentially uninstalled, this page may help.

Note that you are probably not the only one who's having trouble playing that piece of content: getting the content provider to either reencode with a more popular or non-pirated codec may save hundreds of other users the same pain you experienced. Or at least have the vendor link to the relevant codec...

Finally, if none of that helps, make sure your connection bitrate is set, as if the connection bitrate is set or detected too low, the Windows Media Server communicating to you may 'thin' out the video so that the file can stream to you successfully given your detected connection bitrate.

Q: My content needs an MJPG (MJPEG) decoder. Where can I find one?
A: DirectX 8, DirectX 9, and Windows XP all include a MJPEG decoder.
If this doesn't work for you, there's also the PICVideo Motion JPEG codec. Other companies probably make 'em too.
The Canon digital cameras (and most other digital cameras) produce MJPEG AVIs, so if you are having problems playing the output files the camera produces, installing DirectX 8 or 9 should fix the issue.

Q: My AVI files uses the Indeo codec...
A: This may fail for good reason. Reencode the content. Intel sold Indeo to Ligos, who to my knowledge stopped development on it and started charging for it. Old broken versions are what's out there, so it's going to be a bad experience to keep using this. Don't bother: get the content provider to reencode the content to a supported codec, thus solving the problem for everyone.

Q: What does it mean if I get the error - "The audio codec identified by the format tag 55 is required to play this file."?
A: That means that your MP3 decoder has been broken by something that you've done to your system. The easiest way to fix this should be to find the file l3codeca.acm on your system, rename that file to l3codeca.bak, then go to WMP's Help:Check for Updates and run that so WMP can replace the l3codeca.acm MP3 decoder WMP uses.

Please note that the following list was the starting point - I've actually assembled the full list of all ~800 codecs out there that I've found, and that list will probably be published at Microsoft at some unknown point.
FormatTag hex formattag Audio Codec that supports it
49 0x31 GSM Audio
50 0x32 MSN Audio
66 0x42 G.723 (NetMeeting's version, I think)
69 0x45 G.726
85 0x55 MPEG Layer III (FhG)
98 0x62 Voxware MetaSound
105 0x69 Voxware MetaSound
112 0x70 Lernout and Hauspie (bad registration)
116 0x74 Voxware MetaVoice
117 0x75 Voxware MetaSound
273 0x111 G.723 (the Vivo version?)
304 0x130 ACELP Sipro
352 0x160 WMA Standard (v1)
353 0x161 WMA Standard (v2-v9)
354 0x162 WMA 9 Series Professional
355 0x163 WMA 9 Series Lossless
2000 0x7d0 AC3 (decoder here, I guess)
4356 0x1104 Lernout and Hauspie (bad registration)
6172 0x181c Voxware MetaVoice
Note that I'm listing formattags here as integers, not hexadecimal. The player error messages may refer to them by hex values - 0x55 is 85 decimal. The Voxware ones are a mess - I may have them incorrect, since MetaSound, MetaVoice, and Siren all are a blur in my head right now.

Q: How do I get WMP6 and earlier to play back WMV and the other 'new' ASF file types? (For example, on Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.)
A: The Codec download page is what you want. This is the codec redist for WMP (or offline computers or Intranets or CD-ROM distribution or etc.) updated with the new codecs ( WMV7, WMV8, WMV9, WMA8, WMA9 Standard ).
You will need to obtain a license if you want to redistribute this to others.

Q: What does it take for codec download to succeed?
A: Codec download is no longer supported on Windows 7. For older systems, IE needs to be working and codec download needs to be allowed within WMP's Tools:Options menu. Note that only codecs used in Windows Media files will be downloaded. This isn't a good path to try to get AVI codecs.

Q: Why does WMP always try to download a codec when I play back a file?
A: If you're having this issue with MP3 files, it's likely that you have the FhG Professional codec, intentionally or otherwise. The FhG Professional codec does not support Windows Media Player's preroll attempt, and thus causes WMP to think it needs to download a codec. The fix for this would be to either rename "l3codeca.acm" or "l3codecp.acm" on your system (to something like "l3codeca.bak"). Then WMP might do one more codec download, but then it shouldn't happen again. Note that Windows Media Player 9 Series will not do a codec download for this case, but will instead break cross-fading and other benefits of how WMP uses pre-rolling.

If that's not the issue: Presumably a third party DirectShow filter has badly misregistered itself, claiming that it can support decompression of data that it in actuality can not. Generally if you can't isolate and remove whichever bad application did this, you'll need to destroy and rebuild your DirectShow filter database. This explains how to rebuild the DirectShow filter database. The DirectShow Filter Manager should also let you figure this out more easily....

Note that in many cases it will still be possible to play back the content after codec download regardless of codec download success, because at that point WMP will look again at available codecs that say they support the applicable file, but this time ignoring the misregistered filter that wasn't able to play the file. Sadly, there's no way to persist this "distrust" of that codec - you really need to figure out what the bad codec is and uninstall it. If you can identify which codec is misregistered on your system, let the vendor know so they can fix the issue. If you want to try to sort out what codec/filter is getting in the way (which can be tough), the best tool for this I'm currently aware of is the oddly named GSpot Codec Tool. In turn you can use the DxMan tool to get rid of those bad codecs/filters, or (as Jong points out) FilMerit, DSFMgr, or Radlight to adjust downward the merit for the bad filters. The last suggestion is only for expert users, though.

Q: How do I distribute the Windows Media codecs to the users on my intranet who do not have Internet access?
A: You'll want the Windows Media codec redistributable.

Q: I installed a codec pack and now I'm experiencing problems.
A: Codec packs are generally non-original works consisting of pirated software. As the packages are installing fairly random files to your system, you should not expect things to work properly if you install a "codec pack". You would need to contact the codec "vendor" in order to figure out what the hell they did to your system.

Installing random codecs is dangerous. It is extremely difficult in Windows to remove broken codecs, which means that you're better off simply not getting in trouble in the first place.

As of Sept 10 2008, the following codecs or codec packages are broken and will damage your system:

  • Morgan Multimedia Stream Switcher (aka MMSwitch) - will crash any program using DirectShow
  • Voxware MetaSound - will cause memory corruption on any application using sound
  • DivX 5.2 (the current version is 6.8, 5.2 has a bad bug and will crash)
  • 3ivX - versions older than 5.0.1 have a known security hole
  • FLAC - versions older than 1.2.1 have known security vulnerabilities
  • MPC - 6.4.9.0 and earlier versions have known security vulnerabilities
  • FFDShow - still in beta, make sure you're using a mostly stable version such as 1.0.5.1659 or later
  • AngelPotion - generally the worst hack codec ever written, corrupts playback
  • AC3Filter - old versions break mono playback in the player, use 1.46 or later
  • MPEGSplitter.ax - buggy third party MPEG splitter - crashes on a divide by zero error
  • Ligos MPEG codecs (such as lmpgspl.ax) - should not be installed to Vista
  • old versions of Nero - old versions are often pirated in packs, often have issues
  • Indeo Audio Codec (iac25_32.ax) - crashes when queried about MPEG2 support, do not use on Vista, breaks DVDMaker
  • Ace Mega Codec Packs (installs MMSwitch, Voxware, DivX 5.2, old FFDShow, Indeo Audio Codec, and 3ivx)
  • AVI Codec pack (installs 3ivX)
  • BgPop Codec Pack (installs old broken InterVideo, Cyberlink, Ligos)
  • BoliGego Codec (2nd worst pack: installs AngelPotion, MMSwitch, and 3ivx)
  • Codec Pack All in 1 (installs MMSwitch)
  • Codec Pack de ELISOFT (installs old buggy FFDShow, old buggy AC3Filter, old buggy DivX, 3ivX, MMSwitch)
  • Defiler (uses an old buggy FFDShow version)
  • DelDecPack (uses an old buggy FFDShow version)
  • DivX Total Pack (installs MMSwitch)
  • DJBCP Codec Pack (install MMSwitch)
  • dTomoyo's Unified Codec Pack
  • Gordian Knot (installs MMSwitch)
  • K-Lite Codec Pack - anything older than 3.6.2 is Very Bad (such as installing Voxware, MMSwitch, Indeo, etc)
  • current K-Lite Mega Codec Pack (installs Indeo Audio Codec to Vista)
  • Matroska (uses an old buggy FFDShow version)
  • MUSK codec pack (installs MMSwitch and 3ivx)
  • Nimo Codec Pack (installs MMSwitch and 3ivx)
  • Nimo Codec Pack lite (installs MMSwitch)
  • RazorBB Codec Pack (installs Voxware, registers Indeo Audio on Vista)
  • Satsuki (uses an old buggy FFDSHow version)
  • SLD Codec Pack (installs MMSwitch, 3ivx, breaks WMP's crossfading and File Open filters)
  • The Codecs (installs MMSwitch)
  • The Codecs Lite (uses an old buggy FFDShow version)
  • Storm Codec Pack (installs Voxware and 3ivx)
  • Tsunami Codec Pack (worst pack: installs AngelPotion, MMSwitch, oldest FFDShow, old DivX, old AC3 filter, old Intervideo, old Cyberlink, and old Ligos)
  • Tzim's Codec Pack (uses an old buggy FFDShow version)
  • Windows Essential Codec Pack (installs 3ivx)

    Also bear in mind that any content file requiring some random codec to be installed is going to necessitate every other user trying to play the file to install the above packages. As such, it may be more time effective to get the content vendor to reencode the file from the content source using more legitimate mainstream codecs that will not negatively impact users' systems.

    No one should ever install Morgan Multimedia Stream Switcher ('mmswitch.ax'). No one should ever install Voxware MetaSound or MetaVoice. And don't ever install common / shared files to your own private path. It's dumb and that's called "DLLHell".
    As of this writing (Sept 2008), many codec packs use private install pathing. This is just dumb. If a security update is released, there's no way to reliably get that or apply it. Installing the old version via any codec pack accidentally would then break you again. Codec packs are bad software put together by amateurs whose mistakes will damage your system's stability. We're all amateurs, but I'm extremely interested in keeping your system stable. Most codec pack vendors have shown little integrity or competence: it's a real challenge to keep up with exactly how they've decided to mess up your system today. "Codec packs" are the most pathetic bug-riddled software concept I have ever seen, bar none. This is disgusting software. No competent professional should ever be recommending one. No knowledgable amateur should ever be recommending one. Users suffer because they exist, and they affect the system at such an internal level that most users never really understand why they've started to see weird bad behavior.

    I cannot overstate how incredibly incompetent codec packs are. These are the single worst thing that has ever happened to Windows multimedia ever. It was one thing for, say, Morgan Multimedia to write a bad crashing piece of software: it's entirely another for incompetent jerks to fob millions of copies of that off to user's systems where it then will proceed to randomly corrupt memory and crash.

    The most popular question is then:

    Q: Well How Should I Get Codecs?
    A: Get the specific codecs you need as you need them (THIS IS THE BEST AND ONLY SMART CHOICE) thus ensuring you get the latest most stable most secure version of that codec.
    If you're feeling daring, you can try to use a "good" codec pack such as CCCP. See here for how to find out what codec you need. Note that I've seen CCCP do bad things now too, so I do not feel any codec pack is safe any longer. Making users your guinea pigs sucks no matter who is doing it.

    Q: Every time I try to play my AVI file with WMP I get the message "Not enough storage is available to complete this operation."
    A: The file you are trying to play is corrupt. You'll need to get a correctly encoded version of the file in order to play it. [Some players may be able to still play this file, but it is corrupt and you will have trouble with it in various applications - reencoding it now is the best option since now the source material is probably still around so you don't get locked out of it at some date in the future.]

    Q: Why do I get the message "The operation cannot be performed because the pins are not connected." when I try to play back a file with WMP?
    A: See this information.

  • Audio Questions
    Q: I'm having sound problems (muffledness, echoes, errors, speed issues, etc).
    Q: I'm getting error 0x80040256 trying to play back content...
    Q: I'm having audio/video synch problems...
    A: Check for sound card driver updates, both from your vendor and from Windows Update (also make sure you have the latest DirectX there). You will also want to make sure that you have the correct speaker output selected under WMP's Tools:Options:Devices:Speakers. If you have an old version of FFDShow Tryouts or AC3Filter installed, uninstall those - they like to mess with playback.

    If you're on Vista, you will likely benefit from going to the Sounds control panel (under Hardware and Sounds), double-clicking on 'Speakers' and then turning off any Enhancements or System Effects.

    If that doesn't help, go to "Control Panel"-->"Multimedia"-->"Audio"-->"Advanced Properties" (this is the "Sound and Multimedia" control panel on Win2k) and turn down Hardware Acceleration. The Microsoft article on trouble-shooting audio can be found here.
    If you're still having issues, you can switch to use WaveOut for audio rendering which may fix the issue for you (*Please note that you may need to reboot for this fix to take effect!*). If it doesn't, you must run this to switch back to using DirectSound.
    Also, this and this page contains some good generic audio trouble-shooting info. [NOTE: In all cases, we're just working around bugs in your audio card driver. WMP uses a more advanced API than most other players use, which is why often WMP will be the only player to suffer from the sound card bugginess.]


    Note that if the problem is SOLELY isolated out to MP3 files - for example, the pitch shifts after the first couple seconds of MP3 playback - then you would need to rename the file "ctmp3.acm" on your system (to "ctmp3.bak" or something like that). This is a Creative PlayCenter MP3 decoder that the Player isn't fully compatible with. Renaming it allows WMP to use the FhG MP3 decoder that the player *is* compatible with.

    If your sound just sounds overblown/overdriven, turn off WMP's EQ or lower the settings - the EQ does preamping too, which can mess with some sound cards.
    If it sounds like it's a karaoke machine, then you may have a karaoke mode on the speakers that you might want to turn off.

    Note also that Total Recorder installs a virtual sound card driver, which can cause problems as well. Switch back to your normal sound card driver and you should be okay again.

    Q: Why do I only get two speaker sound out of my surround digital speakers?
    A: Per Sumedh: Go into WMP's Tools:Options:Devices. Select speakers and click on Properties. *Uncheck* the checkbox that says "Use 24-bit audio for audio CDs". Click OK twice to get back to the player. Close and reopen the player.

    Q: Why does my computer reboot during audio playback from the net (or stutter repeatedly during regular audio playback)?
    A: Either you have a IRQ conflict (check Device Manager!) or your sound card's DirectSound support may be busted. If you don't have an IRQ conflict, go here for more help.

    Q: My audio gets distorted when I scroll or move the mouse or otherwise have lots of video movement onscreen. How do I fix this?
    A: Your video processing is interfering. Right-click on the desktop, choose Properties. Click Settings. Click Advanced. Click Troubleshoot. Adjust the Hardware acceleration and you should be fine. Also, Stuart recommends unchecking "Use Smooth Scrolling" in Internet Explorer's Tools:Internet Options:Advanced menu options. Finally, George says that he fixed this by turning off "Show window contents while dragging".

    Q: How do I make WMP louder?
    A: WMP uses both the main volume control and the Wave volume control. WinAMP, for example, adjusts the Wave volume control and thus affects WMP. You would need to click on the speaker icon by the clock on the Start Bar (this area is called the system tray) and adjust the Wave volume control. Also affecting WMP's sound output will be WMP's "View:Now Playing Tools" menu's Graphic Equalizer (which can provide an additional boost by maxing the mixer lines), the "View:Now Playing Tools" menu's SRS WowSound, and the Windows XP Plus! pack's "Speaker Correction". Finally, in some cases, the DirectSound support from your sound card may be quieter than the waveOut support, in which case you can switch to use waveOut and recapture that extra volume.
    [For Windows XP, the Volume Control is not shown by default. Go to the Start Menu, scroll up to Settings, open the Control Panel Folder. Then click on "Sounds and Audio Devices", and set the volume here and/or click the "Place volume icon on the taskbar".]

    Q: Why does WMP 'crackle' off and on after about 30 seconds into playing my Windows Media file?
    A: Some MP3 files converted to ASF using the V4 Encoder can contain more audio in the file than is indicated by the file's internal timestamps. This leads to synchronization problems - leading to the crackling. The fix would be to reconvert the file with the V7 encoder, which will not cause this effect.

    Q: Why does WMP show the wrong time for Variable Bitrate (VBR) MP3 files?
    A: [From Zeb] 'It is due to whether or not the TLEN (Total Length) field was set appropriately in the ID3v2 version 3 or higher tag when the file was encoded/ripped. If it is set properly, the length shows fine. If it is not, WMP will sample the bit rate of the first few frames and determine the length that way (and with VBR files, it can be inaccurate because of the nature of VBR).

    Most new encoders which support VBR MP3 encoding accurately write the TLEN (the latest version of MusicMatch for example).' To fix the TLEN you could either reencode the file or run it through any application/MP3 editor that would reset that field. WMP does not reset the TLEN field at any point that I'm aware of.

    Q: When I try to play an MP3 file says there is a codec missing...
    A: Try renaming it to a ".mpa" file and see if it works then.

    Q: Why doesn't WMP produce audio for certain VBR MP3 files?
    A: It's a bug in the FhG-supplied MP3 decoder WMP uses where it can't handle certain VBR files. There'd have to be an updated FhG decoder for this to be fixed.

    Video Questions
    Q: I'm having video problems (such as no video, green or pink lines on the video, choppy video, player hangs when playing video, and et cetera).
    Q: Why am I getting video flickering?
    Q: Why am I not getting video in fullscreen for WMV files?
    A: Check for video card driver updates from your vendor, and/or DirectX updates from WindowsUpdate.
    If that doesn't help, turn down your hardware acceleration.
    If you're using WMP11 on Vista, either double-check for driver updates (directly from your video card vendor as well) or try turning off "Use video smoothing" in WMP's Tools:Options:Performance menu. Also, if your system has an Intel Express Chipset, be sure to get the driver updates from Intel (which will fix crashes, glitching, and no video showing up.)
    If you're using WMP7 or newer: Open WMP's Tools:Options:Performance:Advanced menu dialog. First try turning off overlays, and then if that does not help, turn off the Video Mixing Renderer.
    If you're using WMP6 (mplayer2.exe): Open WMP's View:Options menu dialog. You'll see a slider there for "Hardware acceleration". Turning this down to None often works around whatever driver bug is creating your issue (and sometimes turning it up helps too).
    Some people have also pointed out that unchecking "Start player in Media Guide" in WMP's Tools:Options menu dialog gets a video issue resolved, oddly enough.
    If NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing is turned on, that can also cause performance problems.
    Note that on Windows .Net Server, video hardware acceleration is turned off by default (since it's not beneficial to server performance). Thus video performance will suck. If you want to be using a .Net Server box as a player box(?), you'd need to turn system wide video hardware acceleration up. You can do this via right clicking on the desktop, choose Properties:Settings:Advanced:Troubleshooting and move the acceleration slider all the way to the right. You will also want to turn on DirectDraw - go to the Windows Start button, then at the Run prompt, enter 'Dxdiag'. Click on Display. Click on Enable DirectDraw if present.

    If you're having problems staying in full screen mode, you should verify that your screen saver isn't knocking you out of full screen, and check whether turning off WMP's Tools:Options:Performance:Advanced : Enable Full Screen Mode Switch helps.

    The full screen controls (on Windows XP and newer) will go away once you stop moving the mouse and the mouse cursor is not hovering over the controls. If you want 'em to go away faster, either uncheck WMP's Tools:Options:Performance:Advanced "Display full-screen controls" or get the TweakMP Power toy and use that to tweak the settings as you would like 'em.

    Q: Why does video only show up in skin mode but not full mode?
    A: The skin mode is windowless video playback and doesn't use hardware acceleration. So what you are probably seeing is a buggy video card driver: you should update that with the latest version from your video card provider.

    Q: Why don't the Video Settings Enhancement work?
    A: They do not work for DVD playback ever - I believe the Help file mentions this. If they're not working for other file types, run "regsvr32 wmp.dll" to fix that up.

    Q: Why is my video "zoomed" in so that I can't see the whole picture? I only see a small portion of it?
    A: The latest nVidia drivers support a "Zoom" setting. Presumably this is turned on on your machine. Turn it off and things should work fine. On Windows XP, this is under the Display control panel, under the Settings tab in the Advanced button, then go to the Video Overlay settings.

    Q: Why does video immediately go to full-screen mode no matter what?
    A: You have the Clone setting set under your NVidia drivers NView settings. Turn that off and you should be happier.

    Q: Why does WMP9 show my files using the "wrong"/incorrect/stretched height/width?
    A: The old renderer ignored the aspect ratio setting in the files - the Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) pays attention to it and sends it down to the system... which then may do the wrong thing for some NTSC/PAL ratios.
    What you'd want to do is go to WMP's Tools:Options:Performance:Advanced menu option and uncheck "Use Video mixing renderer". This will cause your performance to suffer, though.
    You can contact Product Support and get an actual fix for this issue here.

    Q: Why does WMP crash in the middle of setup?
    A: You're running old NVidia (or ATI) drivers: either get newer ones, completely turn down video hardware acceleration system-wide for the duration of the install, or reinstall the ones you have.

    Q: Video doesn't show up unless I maximize the window, clip the window (put another window in front it, etc....).
    A: You need to turn down video hardware acceleration: your video card driver is buggy.

    Q: Why does WMP display a visualization instead of the video for my file?
    A: You're either missing a codec, or the codec isn't working. This should be helpful.

    Q: How do I get video to show up in the player on my second monitor (dual monitor / multi-monitor)?
    A: Turn off NetMeeting's Remote Desktop Sharing.

    Q: How do I get the player to go full-screen on my second monitor?
    A: If it only ever goes full-screen on the primary monitor - just go to the Windows' Start:Settings:Control Panel:Display's Settings tab and make the secondary monitor your primary monitor.

    Visualization Questions
    Q: Where can I find more visualizations?
    A: The following sites offer WMP visualization plug-ins: Additionally, SyntheSoft offers an app that can make WinAMP vizzes work with WMP (by hosting the AVS within an external window). Interesting and works well, but pegs my CPU.

    If you want to build your own visualizations, this should be a good starting place.

    Q: How do I get WMP's visualization to visualize the line-in of my sound card? Say a live performance?
    A: Get Ianier Munoz's Line In plug-in for WMP. This is one of my favorite plug-ins for WMP. There's also the Whitecap plug-in, which I haven't tried.

    Q: Why don't visualizations show up?
    A: Make sure the "View:Now Playing Tools:Show Visualizations" menu option is checked in WMP. Note that visualizations do not work for MIDI. Additionally, visualizations for analog CD playback only work within Windows XP , and are not supported in WMP7.

    Q: When I use Plenoptic in fullscreen mode, it doesn't work. Ambience works fine...
    A: According to the guy who wrote Plenoptic, this only occurs on the ATI Mach 64 video card, and is due to a problem in the card's DirectDraw support. Turning off DirectDraw acceleration using DxDiag.exe (part of DirectX 7 and newer) might make this work, but he was never able to get this card to work. Some other cards may not support Plenoptic in various fullscreen resolutions: changing the resolution may help fix this. Generally Plenoptic will work for any card that isn't giving us back bad data on the capabilities that card supports.

    Q: I'm getting visualizations in place of video...
    A: This should help.

    Q: How do I turn off visualizations?
    A: Using WM Player 9 Series or newer, right-click on the visualization and choose "No Visualization" when in Full Mode. In Skin mode, you would need to use the Null visualization.
    In skin mode, you can use a Null visualization: install that and you'll have a Null visualization that doesn't do anything.
    If you're not using WM Player 9 Series: Make sure the "View:Now Playing Tools:Show Visualizations" menu option is not checked in WMP. If it is checked, uncheck it.
    In Media Player on Windows XP, you can also use the Album Art visualization in Full Mode.
    The Null Visualization has become part of the Windows Media Player Power Toys nowadays.

    Skins
    Q: Where can I find cool skins for WMP?
    A: There are over 900 skins I've downloaded myself - if you look around, you'll usually find something interesting. Here's the sites where I know you can find WMP skins, ordered by the date that I ran across them.

    Sites you can submit and download skins at:


    If you want to design skins, you can find the WMP SDK on-line here (and also for download here). Additionally, the Windows Media Player 7 Handbook and the Windows Media Player for Windows XP Handbook both have information on how to make skins. (Amazon.com link provided for reference- you can get or browse these at many other places.) There's a user-written tutorial here that's a good basic start. This tutorial covers skinning the Smartphone 2002 WMP.

    Q: Why do I get an "Unspecified XML Parse Error" (0x8007007B) trying to switch to Compact mode?
    A: You need to first select a skin to use in the Skin Chooser before you can use Compact mode. :)

    Q: Why am I unable to switch to Compact Mode?
    A: You have a bad skin set as your current skin. Go to the Skins view within WMP7 and select a different skin to use. This should be fixed in WM Player 9 Series.

    Q: How do I find out about creating skins for Windows Media Player?
    A: Check out the Windows Media Player SDK (on the Internet), the Windows Media Player Handbook (available at bookstores), and/or - if you're good at XML/JScript - open up a skin you already have on disk with WinZip and figure it out by that example.

    Q: How do I create a Windows Media Download (.wmd) or Border (borders) file?
    A: See the nice MSDN article or the documentation. There's also some on-line examples here.

    Q: I'm using the WinAMP Skin Importer and I get an error about a missing file - how do I fix this?
    A: For v1 skins like that you'll need baseskin.zip on your system. See here for a link to baseskin.zip.

    Note that there is also a WinAMP to WMP PocketPC skin importer, I believe.

    Q: Where can I find cool skins for WMP for WinCE?
    A: Here's some skins, the official MS page on CE Skins, skins here. The WMP for WinCE Skins SDK is here.

    Toys and whatnot for WMP
    Q: Why isn't the taskbar player functional with WMP9-11?
    A: The Windows Media Player toolbar in some cases may not show up or the buttons may not be responsive. If you have rebooted and this problem persists, run "regsvr32.exe "c:\program files\windows media player\wmpband.dll"" and "regsvr32.exe c:\windows\system32\wmp.dll". Then restart your system, and the deskband player should now work.

    Q: Can I change the timeout for the pop-up (toast) window in the taskbar player?
    A: You can do this in v11 by creating a REG_DWORD value named "DeskbandFlyoutTimeout" under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences . If you set it to 0x0, it'll never show up. If you set it to 0xFFFFFFFF it'll always show up. Anything in between it'll show up for that many milliseconds. The normal setting is I believe 3000ms. If that value is not present, the default is used.

    Q: How do I disable WMP trying to sync with my device?
    A: Ideally you complete that dialog prompt. WMP just wants to know what to do with that device once, and then will keep those settings and not prompt you again. If you REALLY can't stand that, one chap says you can turn off (stop or disable) the Portable Device Enumerator Service and then WMP won't prompt about synching again.

    Q: How can I get the player to let me sync to devices at bitrates not already listed in the player's UI?
    A: If you're an expert user: Open regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences. You can create DWORD values under here with the names "WMDMPreferredAudioBitrateValue1", "WMDMPreferredAudioBitrateValue2", "WMDMPreferredAudioBitrateValue3", or "WMDMPreferredAudioBitrateValue4". Those map out to the bps used for the sync, so 320kbps would be 320000. You only need to replace whichever of the four values you want to replace - if you don't create a registry value with that name, WMP will just use the default sync bitrate settings.

    Q: Where do I get the PowerToys?
    A: They're part of the Media Player for Windows XP Bonus Pack: at this URL. [For reference: the Tray Control is "mpxptray.exe" when installed, and is available in the "Windows Media Player Bonus Pack For Window XP" Start menu folder.]

    If you're looking for the Windows Media Player 7.0 Bonus Pack, you can still find it here at CNet.

    This WMP Global Keys tool also might be useful to some.

    Q: How do I autosync podcasts in WMP?
    This article covers it. There's various podcasting plug-ins for WMP here. Juice and Creative's Zencast are what I've heard the most about.

    Q: Why aren't my changes to file lyrics written back to the file in WMP9?
    A: Lyrics entered into the file in the player's InfoCenter view are not storied in the file (v9 player bug, fixed in v10). To work around this, you would cut and paste the lyrics from the InfoCenter view into the file, using the player's Advanced Tag Editor or other lyric-entering tool.

    Q: How do I put an icon for WMP in the System Tray?
    A: On Windows XP: There's a "Windows Media Player Tray Control" Power Toy in the Windows Media Bonus Pack for Windows XP.
    WMP Manager also lets you control WMP from the system tray, and has more functionality than the Tray Control Power Toy.
    WM Player 9 Series also installs a "WMP Toolbar" that you can turn on by right-clicking on the Start menu bar, choose "Toolbars", and turning "Windows Media Player" on. Note that Stardock's "TrayServer.exe" blocks WM Player 9 Series from being able to dock.

    Elsewhere, use TrayIt!, a freeware app. WMP doesn't natively support minimization to the Tray, but TrayIt! works for any app. (I've briefly verified it works on Windows XP using the Classic style menu bars. Matthew points out that TrayIt! doesn't seem to like the puffy style menu bars: in that case you'd need to use the Windows Media Player Tray Control Power Toy.)

    Q: How do I control WMP via infra-red remote control?
    A: Evation.com Infrared Kit does this.
    Also, StreamZap offers both infra-red and regular remote control support for WMP.
    Some people are also fans of ATI's Remote Wonder, which is RF but not IR - which gives you much much increased range.
    If you're trying to remotely control WMP from a different computer, the PlayerPal plug-in should be what you'd want.

    Q: Can I make the player transparent?
    A: With this or PowerMenu, yes. Some video cards really freak out with transparency, though, which is why it's not a Product Feature at this point. :\

    Q: How do I remove dead entries (for files that don't exist) from the Media Library?
    A: If and only if you are using WMP8, use the Media Library Management Wizard that's included in the PowerToys.
    Note that the Media Library Management Wizard is not compatible with Windows Media Player 9 Series. Per Sean: "The Media Library Management Wizard has "grown up" and has most of its functionality now built into Auto Info in MP9Series. Check out Tools|Options|Media Library and check Rename and rearrange music."

    There's an official MS article here about cleaning up old entries. I started writing a minor PowerToy that cleans up invalid entries - you can use this app for WMP7 to do this. Note that this powertoy is fully unsupported and was still in a preliminary stage of development when the source code got destroyed due to a hard drive failure. Please do not distribute this. If anybody wants it, have them get it from here with the warning I put here.

    Q: How do I rename all of my content according to a new naming scheme?
    A: Galley suggests Media Jukebox, Gary recommends eMusic Tag Editor, and Mark recommends Tag and Rename 3.0.
    If for some reason you don't want to use that, there's also the Media Library Management Wizard (for use with WMP8 only), but that isn't as full-fledged nor supported.
    Windows Media Player 9 Series on Windows XP has a "Rename and rearrange music using media information" under WMP's Tools:Options:Media Library menu options.

    Specific Error Code Questions
    Q: Where's the official WMP error code site?
    A: The new good one is here, the old one is here.

    Q: I'm getting 0x80030109 ("The docfile has been corrupted") playing back files from a certain web server...
    A: The file is being served as the wrong MIME type by the server. First, verify that the file ends with a *lower-case* "wmv", "asf", or "wma". Second, try configuring the server properly.
    If the file is on your local system at this point and you're getting this error, you must reobtain a copy of the file from the vendor, as the file is corrupt.

    Q: I'm getting 0x80040111 ("ClassFactory cannot supply the requested class") when trying to play back an AVI...
    A: The file was created with a 3rd party (non-Microsoft) codec, and is being played back on your system by a 3rd party decoder. Whatever codec is used by that file - this should help you figure that out is broken on your system and needs to be updated.

    Q: I'm getting error 0x80040154 when trying to play content?
    Q: I'm getting the message "Class Not Registered" trying to play back content ... ?
    Q: I'm getting "No such interface supported" (0x80004002) when trying to play back content...
    A: This error means that information needed to load the next component in the playback chain is not present.
    For WMP10 or WMP9 users: try either reinstalling the player on top of itself or running "regsvr32 quartz.dll".
    For Windows Media Player for XP (WMP8), try this.
    For non-XP users using WMP7 or older: If you're generally getting this error (against most content and not only against AVI files), you will need to reinstall WMP7 (on top of the existing install) in Reinstall All mode (the second checkbox on the options list during install). If you only have WMP 6.4 and are NOT on Win2K or WinMe:
    1. Download mpfull.exe (it's the download available here as "Windows Media Player 6.4 for Win95 and Win NT4").
    2. Shut absolutely everything down (notably IE and any multimedia application).
    3. Rename quartz.dll and devenum.dll in the system directory (to quartz.bak and devenum.bak or such - this way you can replace them if you need to)
    4. Install mpfull.exe
    If you are on Win2K or WinMe and the reg file doesn't work, you will have to use the WMP7 installer to fix this issue. You can uninstall WMP7 afterwards, but the WMP6.4 fix will not work on Win2K or WinMe and will Be Bad (since you would be installing an older version of quartz.dll).
    If you are only getting this error for specific AVI content, that means that you have a bad version of the AVI codec that that files uses. Figure out which codec that file uses and reinstall the codec from the codec vendor's web site.

    Finally, running dxdiag.exe (should already be on your system) may be helpful, since it'll make sure that DirectX is working properly. In some cases a broken DirectX install has caused this error.

    Q: I'm getting error 0x80040155 - "Interface not registered."
    A: If you're experiencing this error with WMP9, Mike Poz says this means that you should reinstall the player on top of itself. The installer should be at "C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\Installer" on your system already.

    Q: I'm getting 0x80040209 - The operation cannot be performed because the pins are not connected.
    A: This means that one of your drivers is not performing correctly. Trouble-shooting should entail:
    1. Ensuring you have the latest version of DirectX on your system (which can be done via Windows Update)
    2. Ensure you have the latest video card drivers, either from Windows Update or your video card provider. Certain multi-monitor scenarios will cause bad video card drivers to not work properly. The fix for this scenario is to disable "Extend my windows desktop onto this monitor" for that monitor. Which basically means you'll want to take that video card back in for a return and get a different non-buggy video card.
    3. Ensure that you have the latest audio card drivers, either from Windows Update or from your audio card provider.

    Q: I get error 0x80040227 - "Operation failed -- the filter is in the wrong state" - when trying to burn CDs.
    A: Check here.

    Q: I get the error 0x8004022F ("The file format is invalid.") playing back some AVI files from newsgroups. (Or 0x80040265 playing back MPG files).
    A: You're trying to play back one part of a multi-part AVI file. This won't work because the AVI index will not be correct for a split file (and thus the file will be rejected by the AVI parser). You have to recombine the file and *then* play it back. Bear in mind that mplayer.exe (on Win9x) and mplay32.exe (on NT and XP) will play back these files, but it may crash since the AVI would be kinda broken at this point.

    Alternatively (if the file is encoded better), the file may not contain an index chunk - but in that case DirectShow is going to reject it since it requires the normally-optional index, and it still is not going to play in WMP.

    Q: I get the error 0x80040295 ("An operation failed due to a certification failure.") playing back a particular file....
    A: This error is return by DirectShow when the application does not have a certification for playing back content that requires Secure Channel. This means that the DRM file that you're trying to play back cannot be authenticated for playback on your system.

    Q: I get the error 80070003 ("Can't Find Path Specified.") when trying to record CDs.
    A: This error in the CD Copy code path may be the result of two things. First, the CD Record path may be set wrong. To fix this, go into WMP's Tools:Options menu and respecify the path that you are copying tracks to. Even if it's set right, just reset it to the location to be sure. If that doesn't help, your Media Library may be corrupt. Usually if this is the case you would know it, as the Media Library pane would not be functioning correctly. I address how to fix this second case here.

    Q: Why do I get the error 0xC00D0BB8 (or error 0xc00d1199) trying to play back a file in Windows Media Player 9 Series?
    A: The MP3 you are trying to play either uses compressed ID3 headers or an unsynchronized ID3 header or otherwise has to-WMP-unintrepretable ID3v2 data, which the player does not support for security reasons.
    If it has unsynchronized ID3 headers, then the Q814129 QFE will allow these files to play back.

    Otherwise - if that does not work -, you would need to use a tag editing software program to eliminate the compressed ID3 information. In some cases, you will just need to remove the Comments section, in others you'll need to delete all ID3 tagging on the file. Alternatively, the file could be played in most other players.
    A quick way to clean up the file is to open the file up in WinAMP 2.x, right-click on the file in the Playlist window, choose "File Info" and uncheck ID3v1 tag and ID3v2 tag, then click Update. The file should then work fine in WMP.
    Alternatively, if you want to use a Tool to do this, you can use the Advanced WMA Workshop.

    In some cases, people have gotten error 0xc00d1199 when they've had the wrong audio device selected under WMP's Tools:Options:Devices:Speakers:Properties. Changing that to the correct setting should fix you up.

    Q: I'm getting the error message 0xc00d1057 - "A portion of the file cannot be played."
    Q: I'm getting the error message 0xc00d109a - "The codec downloaded for this media does not appear to be properly signed. Installation is not possible.."
    Q: I'm getting the error message 0xc00d109b - "Windows Media Player cannot play the file. One or more codecs required to play the file could not be found."
    Q: I'm getting the error message 0xc00d10d1 - "One or more codecs required to open this content could not be found."
    A: See here to help find the missing codec.

    Q: Why do I get error 0xC00D10B3 (or 0xC00D10B5) trying to play or download tracks?
    A: Either your firewall is blocking WMP from being able to connect to the Internet, or you are offline.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d10BD trying to play back DVDs...
    A: Usually this error code should indicate that the video card driver isn't functioning properly, and that this should help fix you up. However, evidently DVD XCopy Platinum can also cause this error, so if you have that on your system, you may want to try removing that.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xC00d117E - "Windows Media Player did not copy all the selected items. The Player has reduced the recording speed of your CD drive to solve the problem. To copy all the selected items, insert a blank CD in the drive, and try again."
    A: See here.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xC00d1197 - "Windows Media Player cannot find the specified file." when trying to play back audio CDs.
    A: See here.

    Q: Why do I get error 0xC00D119a or 0xc00d116a trying to play DVDs?
    A: See here (video driver side) and here (decoder side).

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11ab...
    A: If you're getting it trying to burn a CD, go here.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11ba...
    A: If you're getting it trying to listen to audio, go here.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11bb, "Windows Media Player cannot play the file because the specified protocol is not supported. In the Open URL dialog, try opening the file using a different transport protocol (for example, 'http:' or 'rtsp:')" - how do I fix this?
    A: Rename the folder "%USERPROFILE%\local settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Media\10.0".

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11cd...
    A: That's most unfortunate - that's the error code for "Unknown Error", so that error doesn't actually mean anything. Your encountering of this error may have absolutely nothing to do with anybody else who encounters this errror. You will need to figure out what's going on. Telling someone you hit error "0xc00d11cd" means absolutely nothing, sadly. If you do not supply information about the specifics here, absolutely no one can help you.

    Note that one case where this will happen (or you'll get error 0xc00d1199 or 0x800c0008 instead) is where you're trying to access WMV or ASF content on the Internet and you have Internet Explorer's Media Bar turned on. Unfortunately, IE has their own player for the Media Bar, so you'd need to either bug IE product support to fix this, or you'd need to turn the Media Bar off (which would be my suggestion regardless). To disable IE6's Media Bar from taking playback, click the Media button (on the IE Toolbar). Then click Media Options in that new pane, then Settings, and then uncheck "Play web media in the bar".

    Customized authentication dialogs will also cause error 0x800c0008, since WMP can't show 'em, and IE can't hand off the credential to WMP. In general if you're getting error 0x800c0008, save the file to disk first and then play it back.

    There's some more ideas on this error here.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d119f trying to burn CDs...
    A: This is an IMAPI burning failure. See here to fix this.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11D4 trying to stream content...
    A: This is "Error: Invalid request." In the past, this has been fixed for some by them reverting back to their old proxy settings. In some further cases, unchecking "UDP" in WMP's Tools:Options:Network has helped solve it.

    Q: I'm getting error 0xc00d11da trying to play protected content...
    A: This is the best fix write-up I know of.

    Q: Why am I getting error 0xc00d11f8 - "Windows Media Player encountered an error when reading the CD-ROM drive in digital mode. You can try to use digital mode again, or you can switch the Player to analog mode."?
    A: You need to go to the player's Tools:Options:Devices menu option, select the Properties for that drive and change to use Analog mode. If that doesn't work, read on...
    I've heard that "DVD Region Killer" caused this problem for one person. They ran System Restore to get help get rid of it, and then things worked fine again.

    Q: I can't bring up the Properties page for my CD-ROM drive in the player's Tools:Options:Devices menu dialog.
    A: There's something wrong in your system's ASPI layer. There's a fix for Win9x here - you would want to restore the original ASPI files for your system with that tool and then reboot.

    If that still doesn't work for you, you'd have to set the registry values "CDRecordDigital" and "CDPlayDigital" to REG_DWORD 0 under HKEY_CURRENT_USERS\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences for WMP7. For WMP8 and WMP9, which support multiple CD drives with independent settings, you will have a registry key under the Preferences key that will have these settings. Change those settings there and you should be fine.

    Q: Why do I get the error 0xc00d274C ("A problem occured during the security upgrade. Try again later.") when trying to obtain a DRM license or to individualize the machine?
    A: You need to reinstall Internet Explorer - the Microsoft code signing certificate is not functional on your box.

    Q: Why do I get error 0xC00d2751 trying to play back content?
    A: This error indicates that your system profile changed. KB891664 should be helpful here.
    On Windows Me: Read How to Fix This. (Although now this page says to just install WMP9.)

    Q: Why do I get error 0xc00d2754 ("The licenses for your media files are corrupted. Contact Microsoft product support.") trying to play back files?
    A: Cesar says that this page is probably the best thing to try. If not, contact Microsoft product support so that they can work on a better fix for this!

    Note that there is an article being put together to try to address this issue, so PLEASE make sure you contact product support. If you have repro steps so that we can understand how you got into this state, it would be WONDERFUL of you to post those repro steps to the "microsoft.public.windowsmedia.player" newsgroup (as well as making sure that product support has their hot little hands on the repro steps!) so that the best possible fix/article can be made.

    If you're getting this error just trying to record CDs to your hard drive, turn Personal DRM off. To turn DRM off for all content you create in the future, go to WMP7's Tools:Options:CD Audio and uncheck "Enable Personal Rights Management" (this is under Tools:Options:Copy Music, "Protect Content" under newer versions of WMP), which will result in DRM-free content for all content ripped from that point forward.

    If nothing else works and you feel comfortable not contacting product support and are self-assured that you can handle mussing up your system, browse to the *hidden* not visible folder "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM" and rename this folder to something like "DRM.BAK". Now create a NEW DRM folder. Your licenses have all been removed now.
    Now open regedit, and browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DRM. Rename this DRM key to "DRM.BAK" or similar.
    Finally, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Media\WMSDK\General. Rename this General key to "General.bak" or similar.
    At this point, all of your old licenses have been lost, but you should be finally good to go again.
    If you want/wanted any other resolution to this problem, you have to contact product support. It's uncertain whether they'd be able to do anything, but they're the only people who have a chance here.

    Q: Why am I getting error 0xC00D2760?
    A: Your system's security catalogs don't contain up-to-date Trust certificates - you can get them at Windows Update or by updating to Internet Explorer 6 SP1.

    Q: Why am I getting error 0xC00D2845 - "The security upgrade cannot be performed because the server is not available. Try again later."?
    A: Still unknown to me. The relevant questions are:
    What ISP are you using to connect to the Internet?
    What is your connection speed?
    What installed Premium content services do you have installed as listed under WMP's Premium Services pane? Napster, Movielink, etc... ?
    What exact version of WMP are you using? (Check WMP's Help:About menu for this)
    What exact version of Internet Explorer are you using? (Check IE's Help:About menu for this)
    What exact OS version are you using? (You can check the version of kernel32.dll on your system to know this version number)
    What server are you having this trouble with? (Is there a particular file or URL?)
    How are you connected to the Internet? Is there a personal firewall, NAT, proxy, or are you directly connected to the Internet?
    Is your system clock set correctly? It needs to be for security purposes.

    Q: I'm getting error code number...
    A: 0x80040216 or 0x80040256.

    Q: Why am I getting an internal application error trying to launch the player?
    A: If the player is properly installed (and a simple reinstall of the player on top of itself will ensure that), then the only way you can possibly get this error is if something external to the player is not functioning fully and thus is breaking the player. You probably wouldn't notice that problem with other applications as the player uses more advanced interfaces than those other applications use. In some cases, running "regsvr32 jscript.dll" has been known to fix up the issue. On Vista you will need to do this from a CMD.exe prompt run as an administrator.

    That being said, if you installed a "codec pack", that's quite likely the source of your problem. Never install any codec packs unless you specifically know that the company in question is guaranteed to be reliable. Many install "mmswitch.ax", for example, which will crash the player.
    If you did not install a codec pack, this is almost 99% certainly a driver issue. If "mplayer2.exe" is functioning on your system (which would ensure that the video and sound drivers are working largely correctly), then it's most likely the CD-ROM drivers. This should fix you up, then. If not, it'd be time to contact actual technical support.

    This has reportedly been fixed for one user's Windows Me box with an Internet Explorer 6 repair install, but ... YMMV.

    Q: Since I installed WMP7 (or Adaptec), my machine won't hibernate / shut-down / shutdown / sleep ?
    A: It's an Adaptec issue. Uninstall the Adaptec plug-in. The latest Adaptec driver updates are here, but I don't believe this issue has been fully resolved yet.

    Q: Why am I getting a crash in wmpcore.dll?
    A: Not sure. Do NOT uninstall and then clean install, but instead *reinstall* the player (not from Windows Update - download it from the Windows Media Download Site) and choose Reinstall All mode. This is superior to uninstall/install.

    Q: Why am I getting a crash in "cinemst32.dll" when starting WMP?
    A: This is a crash in the Cinemaster decoder. This page has information on trouble-shooting your CineMaster decoder (also see this page for more info).

    Q: Why am I getting a crash in "mmswitch.ax" when running WMP?
    A: The Morgan Multimedia Stream Switcher (mmswitch.ax) is seriously broken and should never be used. Yell at Morgan Multimedia these people. "regsvr32 /u mmswitch.ax" to unregister that file, then rename or delete the file "mmswitch.ax" (to "mmswitch.ax_" or something like that) on your system to stop the crashing.

    Q: Why am I getting a white timer overlaying the video playback window (displaying the frame count)?
    Q: Why am I getting a message saying "Assert in ..."?
    A: Presumably you have installed the *debug* version of DirectX 8 from the DirectX 8 SDK CD. Reinstall the *retail* build from this CD and these will go away. It is not possible to run the debug version of DirectX 8 without this timer overlay. I believe that the DirectX in Windows XP does not create this timer overlay, but am not certain. [David points out that the overlay comes from quartz.dll, so replacing just this file with the retail version of the file would put you in an indeterminate state, but one in which you would no longer have the overlay.]

    Q: Why am I getting the audio bitrate displayed during playback?
    A: Go to FFDShow's audio decoder configuration and turn off the on-screen display.

    Q: I'm getting random crashes playing content.
    A: Try updating DirectX and your drivers. If that doesn't work, turn down the hardware acceleration for your audio card and/or your video card.

    Q: I get the error "ODBC driver for Microsoft Access installation problem" when trying to play a music CD. (Or "I get a crash in "msisam11.dll" or "dlimport.exe" trying to open the player." Or "My media library keeps being corrupted." Or "GetIUMS could not be located in the Dynamic Link Library MSDART.DLL." Or "I can't add content to the media library...")
    A: MDAC (Microsoft Data Access Components) is not working correctly on your system. Reinstall it from here [Note that this probably isn't necessary on Windows XP or newer].
    If you can't reinstall MDAC or you're still getting errors after doing so, you will need to destroy the Media Library. See the next next question for how to do this...

    Q: How do I have WM Player 9 Series auto-add new content to my Media Library?
    A: Go to WMP's Tools:Options:Media Library menu option and choose "Monitor Folders".

    Q: Why when I try to create a new playlist or add tracks, do I get an error message that says "Unspecified Error" or "Error 0x80040216" or "0x80040E37" or "Can't find drives" or "0x800C0065"?
    Q: Why doesn't "Search for Media Files..." work?
    Q: Why do I get a hang or a crash if I select "Get Names"?
    Q: Why am I unable to add folders to my empty "Monitored Folders" list?
    A: You need to rebuild the Media Library... see the next question.

    Q: How do I rebuild a broken Media Library?
    A: In WMP12 simply use WMP's Tools:Advanced:Restore Media Library menu tool: this handles all the goo for you. If this does NOT fix the problem, create a second user account and copy the library from that user over onto your primary account.

    In WMP11 on Vista, please make sure you have this update - this will make your library more reliable. Then: the library is per user and can be found at "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft". Shut down IE, Media Center, WMP, and anything else running (such as the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service, which you can stop in the Administrative Tools:Services control panel). Then rename the "Media Player" folder there. At that point WMP should work correctly again.
    In WMP11 on XP, the library is per user and can be found at "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabase_360.wmdb". In some extreme cases (such as when you can not add any folders to be scanned in the supplied dialog) you would need to shut down WMP and stop the "Window Media Player Network Sharing Service". Then you would need to rename the folder "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player". At that point WMP should work correctly again.
    In WMP10, the library is per user and can be found at "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabase_219.wmdb". You can first try renaming the file. If that doesn't work, create a second user account. That user should have a working library in WMP. Copy that user's library over to your original user account, and you should be working fine then.

    In Windows Media Player 9 Series, the library is per user and can be found at "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabase_59R.wmdb" on a Windows XP system. On other systems, just look for "CurrentDatabase_59R.wmdb" on the system. To rename it, just add ".bak" to the file.

    If you cannot find the library: open a DOS/command prompt ("cmd.exe" on NT/XP, "command" on Win9x) and run:
            cd \
            dir /s /b c*.wmdb
    and that'll list out all the WMP libraries on the system.

    For Windows Media Player 7 or 8: Rename (or delete if you're sure) "wmplibrary_v_0_12.db" and your Media Library will be toast. On Windows 9x it'll be found at "c:\windows", on NT (Win2000/WinXP), it'll be found at "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Index" [This is a HIDDEN directory]. Rename this file to something such as "wmplibrary_v_0_12.bak", then open WMP and see if the corruption is fixed. If it was not, delete the new "wmplibrary_v_0_12.db" and rename the old one back.
    Once the library has been nuked/replaced, you should also enter "regsvr32 wmpcore.dll" into the Windows' Start:Run prompt to reregister WMP's database schema. This is only necessary for WMP7/WMP8.

    Once you have renamed/recreated the Media Library, you will need to use WMP's Tools:Search for Media option in order to restock your media library.

    Symptoms of a broken library are: inability to copy CDs via WMP, inability to access the Media Library, inability to search the hard drive for media, inability to create playlists, etc.

    Q: How do I back-up the Media Library?
    A:
    If you are using Windows Media Player 11:
    1. Find your copy of "CurrentDatabase_360.wmdb" on the system (see here for where to find it) and make a back-up copy. This will make a back-up of the ratings and play count, which are not saved to the files themselves. All other data is written back to the file system, so if you don't care about ratings or play count, you don't need to back up the Media Library
    2. You will also need to make a back-up of the "My Music" directory's "My Playlists" folder, which contains your playlists. But this is part of your media files, so if those should be easy to just copy.
    3. If you wish to back up your ratings into the files themselves, get the Ratings Migration power-toy .
    4. Play counts are only backed up with the Media Library. If you wanted to nuke the play counts, you'd simply nuke the Media Library.

    If you are using Windows Media Player 10:
    1. Find your copy of "CurrentDatabase_219.wmdb" on the system (see here for where to find it) and make a back-up copy. This will make a back-up of the ratings and play count, which are not saved to the files themselves. All other data is written back to the file system, so if you don't care about ratings or play count, you don't need to back up the Media Library
    2. You will also need to make a back-up of the "My Music" directory's "My Playlists" folder, which contains your playlists.
    3. If you wish to back up your ratings into the files themselves, get the Ratings Migration power-toy
    4. Play counts are only backed up with the Media Library. If you wanted to nuke the play counts, you'd simply nuke the Media Library.

    If you are using Windows Media Player 9 Series:
    1. Find your copy of "CurrentDatabase_59R.wmdb" on the system (see herefor where to find it) and make a back-up copy. This will make a back-up of the ratings and play count, which are not saved to the files themselves. All other data is written back to the file system, so if you don't care about ratings or play count, you don't need to back up the Media Library
    2. You will also need to make a back-up of the "My Music" directory's "My Playlists" folder, which contains your playlists.
    3. If you wish to back up your ratings into the files themselves, get the Ratings Migration power-toy .
    4. Play counts are only backed up with the Media Library. If you wanted to nuke the play counts, you'd simply nuke the Media Library.
    If you are using an earlier version of Windows Media Player:
    1. Find your copy of "wmplibrary_v_0_12.db" on the system (see here for where to find it) and make a back-up copy. This will make a back-up of the playlists.
    2. You will also need to make a back-up of the "My Music" directory's "My Playlists" folder, which contains your playlists.

    Note that all other modifications to the files are written back to the files using WMP8 or WMP9, so if you wanted to back up those kinds of things, you'd just want to back up the files themselves.

    Q: I'm getting "Error: metadata is stale" trying to edit my track information.
    A: This means that your system clock is set wrong. Please update it to the actual time. :)

    Q: How do I redirect the "My Music" folder?
    A: Get TweakUI and set the alternate location using this tool (it's in My Computer/Special Folders or such).

    Q: How do I directly edit or access the Media Library?
    A: From within the Media Player interfaces only. Since the guts of the Media Library have changed substantially from version to version, any app directly talking/reading the Media Library outside of WMP APIs would be broken. If you're just trying to print playlists or such, that's addressed here.

    Note that Dan P. put together a sample Power Toy JavaScript file to view the contents of your library in IE, and I'm currently trying to prettyify it and make it more usable.

    Q: Can WMP do anything with cdplayer.ini?
    A: Not a thing. CDPlayer.ini doesn't include enough information about the relevant CDs to be useful in any fashion to more advanced applications such as WMP.

    Q: I keep getting "Updating Track Information in Media Library and My Music" while trying to use the player and want this to stop happening!
    A: Each time WMP is unable to obtain metadata for a CD (be it because the computer is offline or because the CD database doesn't have the info for that CD), it writes to "C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\OfflineUpdates.dat" (on Windows XP- I don't know this information for Win9x). Later, WMP when online will periodically poll the CD database server for information on these CDs. If you press Cancel on this update, it won't happen again in that player session (ie, until you restart the player). Or you can simply delete the "offlineupdates.dat" file, in which case all pending CD information updates will be canceled - and the dialog won't show up again until you rip CDs that don't have metadata. [Note that the "Application Data" folder containing "OfflineUpdates.dat" is HIDDEN by default, so you will need to turn on Show Hidden Files And Folders under Explorer's Tools:Options:View menu options if you want to search for this file yourself. And since the file is hidden, "Search" will not necessarily find this file.]

    Q: My app/script/skin can't access the Media Library fully...
    A: You'll need to go into WMP's Tools:Options menu and set the Media Library access rights appropriately.

    Q: What privileges/permissions do I need to assign regular (non-admin) users in Win2K for them to be able to use WMP fully?
    A: They need read/write access to the folder "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Index", and the file "wmplibrary_v_0_12.db" that is in that folder. Note that these privileges should be automatically set correctly in Windows XP. However, in Windows XP, you could be afflicted by this.
    In some cases (streaming media, radio), the user will also need Full Control on: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{203b1eed-db9f-40fb-87bd-1990982017d2}\Plugins .

    Q: While logged in as administrator, I cannot install the Windows Media Services SDK (or other NetShow/Windows Media v4 install packages). It says I am not an administrator. How do I fix this?
    A: Log onto your machine with a local admin account to install the package, rather than your domain account. This is fixed in Windows Media 7 era setup packages.

    Q: Why does WMP reset the track information for my MP3s when I Search For Media?
    A: The V7 SDK doesn't support track information (ID3) write-out - the edits are not saved to the file itself. Apps like ID3 Editor let you edit the ID3 tags on MP3s and write the info back to the file.
    This is fixed in Media Player for XP (WMP8) and all later releases.

    Q: Why does WMP change my Genre information from "80's" to "Folk"?
    A: (Thanks to Rob Z.) WMP sees numbers as ID3 Tag identifiers, so converts 80 to the ID3 equivalent "Folk".

    Q: How do I edit the track information for multiple tracks at once within the Media Library?
    A: Select multiple tracks, then right-click and choose "Edit Selected".

    Q: How do I edit the track number information for my files?
    A: Go into the shell (Explorer) and view the files. Right-click on a particular file, select Properties, then Summary, then click Advanced and edit it there. If the file was converted instead of encoded by the player, in some cases you will not be able to edit the track number there. In that case, you would want to use "Windows Media Attribute Editor" from the Windows Media Resource Kit (the Attribute Editor is part of the Windows Media 7 Resource Kit Components that are always installed with the WMRK).

    Q: Media Player on Windows XP shows album art for albums ripped with it. How do I get it to download album art for previously ripped WMA content?
    A: If you right-click on the Album title within the Album listing in the left column within the Media Library, you can choose Find Album Info (previously known as Update Names) to get the album art.

    Q: How do I add my own album art to be displayed?
    A: In WMP11 and newer, the easiest and absolute best way is to drag and drop the art to those tracks within WMP.

    The official article is here now.

    [Thanks to Mike.] If that doesn't help: if you don't like the album art or have a folder of downloaded music that you want to add art to, browse to the folder in question within the shell. Right-click on the album folder. Choose Properties. Click the Customize tab. In the Folder Pictures section, click the "Choose Picture..." button and then select the image you'd like to use.

    Alternatively, you can simply select any graphic from your browser and save it inside of the folder containing the music in question and name the saved image "Folder.jpg" and have another copy as "albumartsmall.jpg". (Both files must exist.) When you now play any music that resides in that folder, the Media Player will automatically pick it up and display it. "Folder.jpg" should ideally be 200x200, and "AlbumArtSmall.jpg" should ideally be 75x75. These are suggestions: you can use other sizes within reason, but more than twice as big or half as small may cause problems. AlbumArtSmall is what gets displayed when there's not room to display Folder.jpg.

    I personally have found that searching through CDNow.com enables one to recover almost all album art. Go the list of all the albums by that artist to get the small picture to use as AlbumArtSmall.jpg, and go to the specific album page to get a bigger picture to use as Folder.jpg. For your "my mix" collections or for albums from friends, etc., I personally use pictures of the friend in question as Folder.jpg.

    If you're a nut like I am and want to make sure you have album art for all of your albums, a "lazy" way of doing that is opening a command prompt, going to the root of your Music folder, and entering:

    dir /s /b /a:d > folders.txt
    dir /s /b /a:-d folder.jpg > art.txt
    , then replace "\Folder.jpg" in art.txt with nothing (ie, ""), and then windiff the two files. Any folder present in folders.txt but not in art.txt still needs album art.

    To remove embedded album art, use the Advanced Tag Editor.

    Note that if you have multiple files selected, Advanced Tag Editor will likely not be able to view/edit the album art for those files.

    Note that in the 9 Series player, there's a new album art naming scheme that is meant to reduce collisions if you have multiple albums in the same folder. If you want your album art to preempt the new-style-named art, you'll need to paste the art directly into the file using the 9 Series player's Advanced Edit feature.
    Per Dan, the 9 Series player looks up art in this order:

    1. Check for art in file
    2. Check for folder customization
    3. Check for Art with GUIDs in the name (more accurate)
    4. heck for Folder.JPG and old desktop.ini (if desktop.ini has newer player version, we don't show folder.jpg because it's "stale")

    There's an album art fetching tool here that some guy published. I can't vouch for it, but if you want try it, it might be interesting.

    Q: Why is Album Art not downloading for my CDs anymore?
    A: (Thanks to Dean) Your Internet Cache is full. Go to IE : Tools : Internet Options. Now under Temporary Internet Files either "Delete Files..." or change your Settings to increase your cache size.

    Q: How can I have album art for each individual track within a folder?
    A: WMP supports this, but doesn't allow you to set this up. You'll want to install MusicMatch 7.x or newer. Open the track in question within MusicMatch. Open the album art in question in MSPaint.exe or similar. Copy the image in question to the clip board (usually you'd just need to select the region in question and press CTRL-C ). Then go back to MusicMatch and use the Edit:Playlist Track Tags menu dialog's "Paste from Clipboard" option. Exit MusicMatch - voila - album art in the WMA/MP3. Note that Folder.jpg (and AlbumArtSmall.jpg) will override individual album art when using WMP9 - either use the relevant Folder.jpg to show individual album art or upgrade to the 9 Series player.

    Q: Are there any nifty cool apps for editing MP3 and WMA track data?
    A: Yes - check out eMusic Tag Editor for one.

    Q: Why am I getting a crash in mcicda.dll / mcicda.drv?
    A: I don't know. One person disabled DMA for the CD-ROM (go to My Computer, choose Properties, go to the Device Manager tab, select the applicable drive under "Disk Drives", double-click to bring up properties, and the checkbox is under Settings according to the wise Tess) and it cleared itself up. Also, it seems the IMSI CD Copier Pro and Windows Media Player don't get along. I personally found that it (CD Copier Pro) makes W2K with or without WMP unstable, but your mileage may vary. Virtual CD has a WMP compatibility update that might help. Generally Virtual CD programs don't seem to get along well with WMP. Paragon CD Emulator is reported to conflict with WMP as well.

    Q: I get the error "MMSystem296" when trying to play back AVI files.
    A: See this page for details on how to fix this. The installer for Windows Media Player 9 Series will automatically fix this problem if it detects it.

    Q: My system hangs when I start WMP...
    Q: I have a SoundBlaster Live audio card...
    A: If you've got a Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live audio card, go update the driver for it. You may also want to turn down video hardware acceleration.

    Q: Why does WMP freeze when I try to use it or not start at all?
    A: One report came in that this was due to "SurfinGuard Pro". "Norton's Auto Protect" has also caused one person to not be able to use WMP.

    Q: Why does WMP play too fast or too slow?
    A: We use the audio clock from your sound card to time things, and it's not working correctly. Per Patrick:
    This sounds like a problem I've seen on some sound cards. Please try reducing your audio hardware acceleration level in the 'Sounds and Audio Devices' control panel. After opening the panel, click 'Advanced' under speaker settings, then 'Performance' and try moving the hardware acceleration down to different levels. I'm looking at my XP machine, so the buttons may be a little different in other versions of the OS. [Note that you can also access the audio hardware acceleration slider in the app "dxdiag.exe" (already on your system) on the "Sound" tab.]

    Please note that by reducing hardware acceleration to none, you will lose any 5.1 audio support your sound card has (if any).

    If that doesn't help, see "I'm having sound problems" for how to fix this.

    Q: How do I get WMP to use less memory/CPU?
    A: WM Player 9 Series should have very good performance. If you're not using WM Player 9 Series or want even better performance, you can further reduce processor usage by:
    * Go to View:Now Playing Tools and unselect "Show Visualizations".
    * Go to the Now Playing View and make sure that the Graphic Equalizer and SRS Wow Effects are turned off.

    Also, WMP9 has a couple optional features that you can turn on that can use the CPU. Turn off "Update my music files" and decrease the number of monitored folders in "Monitor Folders" in WMP's Tools:Options:Media Library if you want to further decrease CPU usage (if you ever turned those on in the first place, that is).

    Q: How do I as a user force WMP7 (or newer) to download content instead of playing it immediately?
    A: Right-click on the content's link within your browser and choose "Save As". Save the file locally and then open it with WMP. WMP6 still has the "Save" option under the File menu, and Media Player for XP brings it back. [It'll be in future revisions as well.]
    For files you've already played back with WMP but not saved locally, you can probably find it in your browser's cache. Note that streamed files by design are not cached locally nor savable locally, so you'd have to contact the content provider about whether or not they would allow you to download their streamed files.

    Q: How do I as a content provider force WMP to download my ASF instead of streaming it?
    A: There's various ways of doing this. You can add "?mswmext=.com" to your URL (taking advantage of an undocumented/unsupported Feature of WMP's progressive download code which is not supported past WMP7.1), use ASFCopy (from the Windows Media Rights Manager package) to add Content-Disposition headers (this would also be very for you to do in ASP or CGI), or use a Borders (.WMD) file (documented sparsely in the Windows Media Player SDK, documented better here) to install a package containing the ASF file(s).

    Q: How do I clear the player's Most Recently Used/History list/Location bar under the File Menu, as well as the AutoComplete list?
    A: In WMP9 or newer, go to WMP's Tools:Options:Privacy menu option and click "Clear History". You can also turn off the MRU here.
    For previous versions, see the article on this here.

    If you're STILL seeing files in the "Open File..." dialog on Win2k+ or WinMe, it's coming from an additional user-specific system-wide MRU list. This is *not* specific to WMP. You would need to delete the following keys:
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ComDlg32\OpenSaveMRU]
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU]
    to clear these settings. However, that at least clears ALL MRUs on the system if not more (my system is still running...), so do this at your own risk.

    You may also want to go to WMP's Tools:Options and clear the "Add items to Media Library when played" checkbox, if you're worried about other users on that box seeing your files. [Available on WMP8 and subsequent releases.]

    Q: How do I turn off the Most Recently Used list within WMP?
    A: Go to WMP's Tools:Options:Privacy and check "Do not save file or URL history in the Player."

    Q: I have a question about WMP's privacy policy...
    A: If you have WMP7 (or newer), you should be able to review it under WMP's Help menu dialog. I urge the paranoid to sniff WMP's network traffic if you're hyper-concerned and don't trust the published policy: nobody on the WMP team would tolerate abuse of people's privacy. MS just can't do that kind of stuff - someone would sue MS's pants off. A sniff and analysis of network traffic should easily confirm that for those who have doubts.

    Q: Why don't MPEG Layer III .wav files work within Themes?
    A: You need an ACM MP3 codec. Install WMP7 or any later version of WMP.

    Q: What happened to the RealAudio support?
    A: Read. Supposedly you can use RealOne's SuperPass Premium version or MediaCleaner or EO Video or DBPowerAMP (audio-only) to convert RealAudio files to MP3 files, which would be more generally useful.
    Supposedly, the program "RealAlternative" (or from here, but avoid the K-Lite Codec Pack, though!!!) lets RA/RM work in WMP and thus gives people an option to not be forced to use RealNetwork's player... but mileage appear to vary pretty greatly here, so if that doesn't work for you, you would have to contact the makers for RealAlternative (and possibly provide them an incentive to help you...) if you wanted to make this work. It really does appear to either randomly work or randomly fail for people. :\

    Q: What about .mov / QuickTime support?
    A: Read. WMP12 will play MPEG4 QuickTime files.

    You can use QuickTime Pro to convert MOV to AVI, and then convert that AVI to WMV. Or you can use Adobe Premiere for that conversion. Or you can use use Discreet's Cleaner XL. Or you can use Artech365's MPEG4 Direct Maker, which does MOV to MP4 conversion. Or this website covers conversion too.
    Supposedly, the program QuickTime Alternative may work for you, since it includes a DirectShow filter, but your mileage may vary greatly. If you have a problem with it... contact the makers of QuickTime Alternative. It really does appear to either randomly work or randomly fail for people. :\

    Q: MKV?
    A: There's a guide for adding MKV/MKV support to WMP here
    Q: Can I play the MPEG4 file format (.mp4) within WMP?
    A: Windows 7 adds this support to Windows Media Player.
    For older systems, I believe the options here are this, this, or the Envivio plug-in enables this . Supposedly the best plan is to use Haali Media Splitter combined with FFDShow Tryouts, but YMMV. Or you can install Nero 7, which will install an MP4 / M4A plug-in that WMP can use. This lets you play AAC Lossless in WMP.

    

    Q: How do I play OGG Vorbis audio files (.ogg) in WMP?
    A: Check the Vorbis site for what they list. ) Or this page covers how to play FLAC and AAC in WMP too.

    Note that the WMP Tag Support Extender adds APE, FLAC, OGG, and MPEG4 metadata support to the Media Library.

    Q: How do I play .SHN audio files in WMP?
    A: This should work. :)

    Q: How do I play .MOD, .S3M, .XM, .IT, .MTM, and .UXM files in WMP?
    A: The DSP-Worx plug-in should work.

    Q: How do I play .3gp files in WMP?
    A: This will work with WMP in Windows 7. However, WMP does not support AMR nor QCELP audio in 3GP. If your clip uses that, one possible option would be to use QuickTime Alternative in conjunction with the QuickTime WMP DirectShow filter.
    For older versions of WMP, use 3ivx's package

    Q: How do I use .SRT caption files in WMP?
    Q: How do I use .SUB/VOBSUB caption files in WMP?
    A: Use DirectVobSub.

    Q: How do I play .MPC (Muse) audio files in WMP?
    A: This should work.

    Q: How do I play Shoutcast .pls files within WMP?
    A: This should work. Note that this is a known feature request for Windows Media Player.

    Q: What are the WMP command line options?
    A: The full set of v9 options are here. For older versions, see here. Or I've summarized them here, with some other stuff that isn't covered in that article:
    • /embedding: ?
    • /open: just open the file, don't automatically start playing
    • /play: start playing the file as soon as possible
    • /close: close the file after playback (*only works when used with WMP6 (mplayer2.exe) and only when used with /play!*)
    • /fullscreen: start file in fullscreen mode
    • /new: use a new instance of the player
    ** Note that "/fullscreen" and "/new" are not supported in V7. For WMP7 and newer, you would have to use a skin like this in a command line such as:
         wmplayer.exe /layout:fscls.wmz %file.file% if you wanted the player to be in full-screen mode. Or you could embed the player in a web page and script the player into full-screen mode.

    For WMP7 and later, WMP also supports:
         wmplayer.exe /layout:"%skinpath%" for WMZ (skin) files.

    Additional command lines are "Task" and "Device".
         wmplayer.exe /device:AudioCD "%L"
    launchs WMP and plays the CD in question. (WMP7+)
         wmplayer.exe /device:DVD "%L"
    launchs WMP and plays the DVD in question. (WMP8+)
         wmplayer.exe /Task:MediaLibrary
         wmplayer.exe /Task:RadioTuner (not supported in WMP10 or newer)
         wmplayer.exe /Task:SkinViewer
         wmplayer.exe /Task:NowPlaying
    are all really straight-forward.

         wmplayer.exe /Task:PortableDevice
    launches WMP into the Portable Devices (Copy to CD/Device) pane. (WMP8+)
         wmplayer.exe /Task:CDAudio "%L"
    launches WMP into the CDAudio (Audio CD/Copy From CD) pane. (WMP8+)

    To start WMP8 directly into a playlist, use:
         wmplayer.exe /playlist "%playlistname%"
    if it's a user playlist within the Media Library, or export the playlist to file and select "wmplayer.exe /play %playlist.file%" or so.

    Note that there is no possible way to open the player with a specific command line from a web page. That would be a security risk, so your browser disallows it. If you wanted to start the player repeating a clip from a web page link, you can use the Repeat element of an ASX. If you want to launch the player full screen on someone else's system and can't use the command line, you would have to embed the player in a web page and use the full screen parameter that the embedded player supports.

    Q: Why doesn't WMP7 or later support the Space bar for Play/Pause?
    A: Get WMP11 - if the active focus is set to the pertinent playlist, pressing spacebar will then play/pause.

    Beyond that: If you open up WMP6 (mplayer2), where space bar *did* act as a pause button everywhere, you'll note that you can't use the TAB button to move between any UI elements. Note that in WMP7 and onwards, there's all sorts of fun stuff to tab to. The "problem" is that for accessibility reasons (which is required), the SPACE button is used to activate a TABbed to item.

    So ... the Space bar in WMP7 and later is remapped (and thus cannot be reused for Play/Pause), and our mouseless/sightless friends are probably ecstatic that the space bar does the right thing for them. Note that in WMP11 if you are in the library, if the focus is set to an item, pressing Space will toggle Play/Pause.
    You would thus want to either acquire a multimedia keyboard (which has that handy Play/Pause button) or move on...
    Rumor has it that there was at one point an external application called "WMP SpaceBar 1.0" that would front-end WMP and reenable this, but it's disappeared from the Internet near as I can tell.

    Q: The font used by WMP7 (or newer) for the left options list has become corrupted after I installed (blank) - what font do I need to fix?
    A: The "Microsoft Sans Serif" font ("sserife.fon" on Win9x, "micross.ttf" on NT, in the hidden "%windir%\fonts" directory) has become corrupted on your system. You'll need to reload or restore this font. [Also: Don't remove the Tahoma font. This is used by WMP for the Status Bar text.]
    If you're still having font problems, the easiest way to diagnose which font is broken is, sadly, right-clicking on the Desktop, selecting Properties, and then selecting Appearance. On Windows XP you will need to click "Advanced" also. Then, click on the "Message Text" picture in the picture. Then change the "Font" option to be each of your fonts, one by one, until you see which font is corrupted.

    Q: Why does the player keep positioning itself higher vertically each time I reopen it? It disappears off the screen at times...
    A: You have a full screen-width menu bar at the top of the screen. This is a bug in the WMP7 layout code. For WMP7, move the menu bar elsewhere or resize it to less than full screen-width. This has been fixed in Media Player for XP and later releases.

    Q: How do I use WMP6.4 instead of WMP7 (or newer) for (blank) file type?
    A: Launch "mplayer2.exe" from the Start:Run menu. Go to WMP's View:Options:Formats menu dialog and reassociate the type(s) in question. (If you're fairly old school and want to run ActiveMovie, you can do this if amovie.ocx is on your system by running "rundll32 amovie.ocx,RunDll".)

    Q: Where can I find the Windows Media Resource Kit?
    A: It's on the general Windows Media Download site under the top drop-down list box, about the sixth option.
    It's out of date, so has been removed from the general Microsoft download servers. If you still want/need it, you'll need to find at on a 3rd party site. Looking in Google.com or similar for "windows media resource kit" should help you find it.

    Q: How do I make quick simple playlists for my web site?
    A: I use either:
         dir /s /a:-d > my.playlist
    or:
         dir /s /a:-d *.wma *.mp3 > my.playlist
    and then use "Replace" with notepad/wordpad to replace "d:\my music" with the appropriate path.

    A sample M3U playlist looks like this:

    my.mp3 myother.mp3 while a sample ASX (or WAX or WVX) file looks like this: <ASX version="3.0"> <ENTRY><REF href="File1.mp3" /></ENTRY> <ENTRY><REF href="File2.wma" /></ENTRY> <ENTRY><REF href="File3.asf" /></ENTRY> </ASX> There's some helpful basic tips here, and full documentation here.

    Q: Why won't my HTTP-based (web-based) ASX playlist expand when I right click on it?
    A: This is a Feature, allowing content providers a little flexibility and pseudo-security. Use ".m3u" playlists if you find this annoying (and note that WMP supports ASF/WMA files from .m3u playlists...).

    Q: Why does WMP say my ASX is invalid?
    A: The ASX 3 syntax is XML-based, which means that when you open a tag: <repeat>, you must close it with </repeat> later in the ASX. WMP7 (or newer) will be okay with this error, but the WMP6 XML parser won't. In general, loading any problem ASXs into IExplore (rename them to ".xml" first) should show you where the problem lies.

    Q: How do I specify an offset for playback to begin at within my ASF file?
    A: Check out the WMPSDK - you want to use an ASX file, using StartTime and Duration, like so: <asx version="3.0"> <title>Playlist</title> <entry> <starttime value="00:00:35.0" /> <duration value="00:00:10.0" /> <ref href = "asf.asf"/> </entry> </asx>

    Q: How do I make the player Better, More Usable?
    A: For me, I did the following...
    • turned "Start Player in Media Guide" off
    • turned "When in compact mode, display anchor window" off
    • turned "Enable Personal Rights Management" off
    • increased Copy music quality to 160kbps
    • turned the graphic equalizer and visualizations off
    • turned CD Audio "Error Correction" on (I have a flaky CD-ROM drive)
    • WM Player 9 Series: turned on folder watching for the My Music folder
    Plus I wrote some skins, but that's because I have specific tastes. <grin>.

    Q: Why won't WMP stop playback when I close it?
    A: This means that either:
  • An application or service is still using WMP; or
  • A device driver will not shut down properly; or
  • A device is attached to the system and is using WMP still.
    In the first case, you would want to check what else is running. In the second case, you would want to update your device drivers (video and audio card drivers are the most suspect).
    In some cases you may need to open Windows Media Player again, press Stop, and then shut it down.

    Q: I have a licensing question/redistribution question about...
    A: This page is chockfull of info about Windows Media licensing policies. This page is the old starting point for licensing questions. If none of that answers your question, you'd want to send mail to wmla@microsoft.com with your question.

    Q: How do I license WMP?
    A: Again, see this page for the answer.

    Q: Why doesn't the Radio Tuner or Media Guide work for me? I just get a black screen...
    A: This is usually because you would have turned off Active Scripting within IE's Tools:Options:Internet Options:Security Settings dialog. If you reenable this, the guide and tuner should work again. Also, supposedly Proximatron and AdSubtract will also break/block the Radio Tuner.
    You may also want to check your Internet connection settings (and possibly check here as well, as well as verifying that you can directly access the Radio Tuner here.

    Q: Why do I lose my Radio Station favorites sometimes?
    A: Radio Station favorites are stored as Internet Explorer cookies. If you clear your cookie cache, the favorites will go away too.
    If you're losing your Radio Station favorites, that definitely means that something is clearing your cookies out.

    Q: Can I do frame by frame advance in Windows Media Player?
    A: In WM Player 9 Series yes - go to WMP's View:Settings:Play Speed Settings and then use the little buttons in that frame to walk frames in the video.

    If you're not using WM Player 9 Series: No. You can use "mplayer.exe" (on Win9x) or "mplay32.exe" (on WinNT) to do this for AVI and MPEG files, though. (Go to the Scale menu in that app and select "Frames".)

    Q: When I go to a MIDI site, I can bring up the page with no trouble but when I click on a midi or wav file the Media Player doesn't open and I get the message that this page cannot be displayed. If I right click on the MIDI link and "save target as" to my desktop I can play it from there.
    A: Go to WMP's Tools:Formats:Options. Uncheck "MIDI File", click apply, then check "MIDI file" and click Apply.

    Q: How do I trouble-shoot MIDI?
    A: I don't know. WMP has nothing to do with MIDI, we just take advantage of the system's support for it. Wise Tess says:
    * Make sure your volume slider for "Midi" (and/or SW Synth) is up and not muted.
    * Make sure "Midi Sequencer Device" is loaded in Control Panel, Sound and Audio Devices, Hardware, Media Controls Devices, Properties. (This is under Control Panel, Multimedia, Devices, Media Control Devices on old systems.) You can add it from Add New Hardware, Next, Next, No, Sound/Video/Games, Microsoft MCI. If it is loaded, go ahead and remove it and reinstall it.
    Also, this may help some XP users having troubles with MIDI.

    Q: I want to use WMP in my VC project...
    A:Get the WMP SDK, which has the object model reference and other key information.

    Q: I want to embed WMP in my Front Page web page...
    A: Go here.

    Q: How come I can't get the HTTP_REFERER in my server side script?
    A: It's a browser architectural issue... that data is only available if you embed the player. This should be better addressed in v11, or via this v10 QFE

    Q: How should I embed the player in a web page?
    A: Use the source from this page as a starting point. Refer to the WMPSDK with any questions. Note that once the v9 player is installed, that provides all further v6 embedding support.

    Q: What about scripting the plug-in?
    A: Per Jeff, the complete WMP object model is here, and the object model for WMP 6.4 is here.
    This MSDN page is a the official reference point for the Netscape plug-in.The old WMP6 SDK will help more on the older WMP6 plug-in embedding.

    Q: Why can't I embed the WMP6 Win32 plug-in within Netscape Navigator 6?
    A: WM Player 9 Series adds a new plug-in that works with Netscape 6. Use that instead, since Netscape dropped their older architecture here.
    If you're not using WM Player 9 Series: Because Nav 6 is buggy and not backwards compatible with LiveConnect-supporting scriptable plug-ins, as documented here in the Netscape docs, and this Mozilla bug among a bunch of others.

    Please note: WMP7.1 (latest release) includes an updated Netscape plug-in which works around some of their bugs. The plug-in will still not be scriptable, but it will be embeddable. Windows Media Player for Windows XP also includes this updated plug-in. Going to WMP's Tools:Options:Formats dialog and reselecting "Windows Media file" and clicking "Apply" will reinstall the plug-in to Netscape for you.

    Also, REALLY note that Netscape 7.1 works hard to be compatible with WMP, so if you want to use WMP and Netscape together, use Netscape 7.1. :)

    Q: Why does my file show up as text within the browser rather than be played by the player?
    A: Your web server is misconfigured for the Windows Media MIME types. See the next question for how to fix this.

    Q: Can I serve an ASF/WMA/WMV from my (fill-in-the-blank) web server?
    A: Yes. You don't need any special server software, an HTTP server will do fine for non-MBR content. MultiBitRate content will work okay on an HTTP server too, just not nearly as well as if it was on a Windows Media Server. All the content provider has to do is set these MIME types:
    ExtensionMIME type
    .asf .asx video/x-ms-asf
    .wma audio/x-ms-wma
    .wax audio/x-ms-wax
    .wmv video/x-ms-wmv
    .wvx video/x-ms-wvx
    .wm video/x-ms-wm
    .wmx video/x-ms-wmx
    .wmz application/x-ms-wmz
    .wmd application/x-ms-wmd
    .wpl application/vnd.ms-wpl
    and every user is good to go on that server. This web page has some helpful information on how to do this. This page has a description of the various file types, MIME types, and what should be in each file type. If the file is showing up as weird text or gibberish within the browser, or Saving As as an HTML or TXT file, then the MIME type is not set on the server, and you need to ask your web server administrator to fix this. =)

    Q: When using Morpheus shared folders, I get errors trying to access those files...
    A: According to Dan: go to Properties and click "Share this folder on the network".

    Q: Why is seeking disabled / greyed out during ASF playback?
    A: If you're playing back from a Windows Media Server, probably because the file was not indexed. Run the Windows Media File Editor (from the Windows Media Encoder package) on the file - use File:Save and Index there.
    If you're playing back from a web server... because this isn't really supported.
    If you're playing back locally... probably because you're using WMP6. Use the position slider to adjust your position.
    (Note that some people refer to this as fast-forwarding or rewinding, even though that's not quite what it is.)
    It is critical that the file is indexed, though, so make sure it is. Do this using a utility that ships with the Windows Media 9 Encoder called the "Windows Media File Editor". Just fire it up, and open your WMV file. File -> Save and Index, and the index should be applied. Note that almost all files produced with current tools are indexed by default - only older files or oddly produced files would need to have indexing set.

    Q: Windows Media doesn't seem to be NetMeeting - how can I reduce latency?
    A: It definitely is not NetMeeting and isn't really meant for perfectly live broadcasts. This article and this article address latency and how to reduce it.
    Rob's additional Steps to Reduce Latency are:
    1. On the server publishing point, go into the Properties tab and select Networking. Disable the buffering.
    2. On the player, you can reduce the buffering time from the default. This setting is in Tools->Options->Performance->Network buffering for the 9 series player. Try setting this to a lower value.
    3. On the encoder, make sure that your "preroll" setting (sometimes referred to as the "Buffer window") is set as low as you can. Regardless of how low you set the networking buffer in the player it will always buffer at least the "preroll" amount + 2 seconds (or the buffer setting, whichever is greater).
    Per Rob, "Note that making these adjustments, while lowering the end to end latency can also greatly lower playback quality and performance."
    In general, you will get the smallest latency using a completely Windows Media 9 Series solution, since the networking in 9 Series is optimized throughout the encoder, server, and player.
    Research has a new Windows Media-based low latency conferencing solution here if you want to check that out.

    Q: How do I do use a screen projecter with WMP?
    A: If a normal video output doesn't work (produces only a black screen for WMP's video), go to WMP's Options and temporarily *completely* turn down video hardware acceleration. Project the video, and when done turn video hardware acceleration back up to normal.

    If you're using the projected display as your secondary monitor, you may find better results by using the projected display as your primary monitor.

    Q: How do I do a screen capture of a file playing in WMP?
    A: If a normal alt-shift-printscreen doesn't work, go to WMP's Options and temporarily *completely* turn down video hardware acceleration. Take the screenshot, then turn video hardware acceleration back up to normal. (Note that in WMP9 and newer, you can use the View:DVD Features:Capture Image option to take a screenshot of the DVD (and a few other file formats) during playback.)
    If this does not work, you will need to turn down hardware acceleration on your video card driver directly within your system's Display control panel.

    Q: How do I substitute a different buffering animation within WMP6?
    A: For the stand-alone player, you must customize the player with the WMP Custom Player Kit (CPK). For an embedded player, you must turn off AnimationAtStart, turn on TransparentAtStart, and in the background have a separate animation layered under the player.

    Q: Why can't I use <a href="javascript:blah();"> to script the player?
    A: Because IE treats this as a navigation event and sends us OLE_CMDIDSTOP, to which we are obliged to stop (so IE can quickly swap pages). If you don't like the behavior, yell at the IE team that this is wacky. I have. You can use: <a href="#" onclick="blah(); return false;"> , instead.

    Q: How do I copy my vinyl records (LPs), cassettes, or mini-discs to WMA files?
    A: The player cannot do this. The Windows Media Encoder has some basic ability to do this (via recording from line-in), or you can use a tool like Audacity.

    Q: How do I convert (file type) to ASF?
    A: Depends on what file type...
    Windows Media Player 7+ will help you convert CD Audio to WMA (ASF).
    Windows Media Encoder 7+ will convert AVI, WAV, MP3, MPEG1, and line-in to WMV (ASF).
    Windows Media Encoder 3 and 4.x will convert AVI, WAV, MP3, and line-in to ASF.
    Adobe Premiere comes with an WMV plug-in (there's a plug-in for the old Premiere 6.5 here) .
    Terran Media Cleaner will convert the file types they support to ASF. They have a Mac version too.
    Sonic Foundry Stream Anywhere will convert the file types they support to ASF, I believe.
    By selecting WinAMP's WMA output plug-in, I believe you can convert most of the file types that WinAMP supports to WMA.
    dBpowerAMP Music Converter supposedly does: AIFF, MP3, MP2, RA, VOC, WAV, VQF, OGG, etc. to WMA (and vice versa) [My best friend strongly endorses this, and points out it has great Rio support].
    This does WMA Lossless to WAV conversion, if you're interested.
    RealOne's SuperPass premium supposedly lets you convert RealOne files to MP3 files and such.

    PowerPoint has built-in support to publish your slides to WMV. For older versions, the Power Point Producer Add-On is probably what you want.

    There's lots of other apps: search online to figure out what's currently available.

    Q: What's the difference between ASF, WMV, and WMA?
    A: There is no difference internally between ASF (Advanced Streaming Format), WMA (Windows Media Audio), and WMV (Windows Media Video). The reason for the difference is so that an application such as Winamp can take over the .wma extension and play audio and leave the .wmv extension for Windows Media Player which can render the video. .asf files can contain additional non-audio non-video data that may or may not be playable by a WMA or WMV capable player. If an app can handle ASF, it must be able to handle WMV and WMA. If an app can handle WMV, it should be able to handle WMA. An app that can handle WMA can likely only handle WMA.

    To "convert" a .wmv to .asf, for example, just rename the file. A .wma file with video in it is invalid and would be rejected by a strict parser.

    Q: How can I join / combine / concatenate two Windows Media (ASF, WMA, WMV) files?
    A: Windows Movie Maker and Sound Forge allow you to do this, and the "wmvappend" utility in the WM Format SDK also offers this functionality.
    Windows Movie Maker (in Windows Me and Windows XP) is also a really easy way to join clips - just File:Import the files you want to join, then toss them onto the timeline, and choose File:Save Movie. (You can validate any ASF files you think are corrupt using ASFView.)

    Q: How can I join/combine two MPEG files?
    A: See this page for info. Alessandro recommends TMPGEnc (Tsunami MPEG Encoder) for joining, so that might be the better choice. Supposedly anything OTHER than TMPGEnc will badly merge the files, leading to random skipping and invalid indexes (so time will display incorrectly). This is also good joining/editing reference.

    Q: How do I rotate a video?
    A: Obviously, the player can't do this. You have to do this on the tools side. Windows Movie Maker (Tools:Video Effects:Rotate video), VirtualDub, and BlazeMedia Pro are among other tools that will allow you to rotate videos.

    Q: How do I index, shorten, trim, separate, split, or truncate my WMV/WMA/ASF files?
    A: You can use Windows Movie Maker for this.
    In Windows Media 9 Series, the "Windows Media File Editor" that's part of the Windows Media Encoder install will do this, TMK. Or you can losslessly join WMA/WMV/ASF files using WMVAppend, which is part of the Format SDK.
    The Windows Media Resource Kit includes the Advanced Script Indexer (asi.exe), which will index them, or you can temporarily rename them to ".asf" so that the old ASF Indexer (asfchop.exe or asfindxr.exe) will recognize them.

    Q: How do I edit Script Commands in a file that was encoded as part of a live stream?
    A: The Windows Media File Editor, an element of the Windows Media 9 Series Encoder, supports this.
    There's an older article here, which will point you to the Advanced Script Indexer, which is part of the Windows Media Resource Kit, but the Resource Kit (and thus the ASI) are generally no longer available, at least from Microsoft.

    Q: How do I turn off URL flip script commands in the evil file I'm trying to play?
    A: Using Windows Media Player 9 Series, go to WMP's Tools:Options:Security dialog and uncheck "Run Script Commands When Present".
    For older players, this should cover you. This fix contains this feature. Also, this support article addresses the issue in more depth. If you have any problems with turning these off (for example, if the patch doesn't work for you), contact product support as it says to on this page.

    Q: How do you target a frame with an URL flip?
    A: Use the form "http://URL&&FRAME".

    Q: Windows Media Player 9 Series will not execute my relative URL flip script commands that I need for my presentation. What should I do?
    A: Relative URL flips will be strictly rejected for security reasons. You will absolutely have to implement a browser-side event handler for the ScriptCommand event and handle the URL flips yourself.

    Q: How do I edit my ASF file?
    A: Use the Windows Movie Maker, which is part of Windows Me and Windows XP. Or Pinnacle 9 Video Editing Suite. Or you can do simple cut and paste style editing with ASFIndexer (or Advanced Script Indexer) and WMVAppend (these come in the Windows Media Resource Kit). Also VirtualDub 1.3x has limited ASF editing support (this was removed in later versions).

    Q: Why does the encoder encode my content upside down/inverted/flipped?
    A: I don't recall the specifics, but if you change the pixel format used during encoding this should go away. Per Al Darby, "In the session properties, select CHANGE for your file source and then set the pixel format to RGB24. All is well then." There's also a KB article here which may be helpful.

    Q: Why does my content play upside down?
    A: In some cases, go to WMP's Tools:Options menu dialog, go to Performance, Advanced, and uncheck use video mixing renderer (per Willboy).

    If that isn't helpful, go here for more ideas.

    Q: Why does the encoder say I need DirectX 6 when I already have DirectX 6 installed?
    A: That's not what the error message says: it says you need DirectX *Media* 6 or later. This is distinct from DirectX 6. DirctX 8 installs DirectX Media 8 as well, so get that and you should be happy.

    Q: Why should I use a media server instead of a web server?
    A: There's a discussion on that issue here.

    Q: How do I run IIS and Windows Media Server on the same box?
    A: See the article here for Windows Media Server 4.x, and this page for Windows Media Server 9 Series.

    Q: Why does the browser close when I click on a content file?
    A: It's a bug in IE 5.5. Go get IE 5.5 SP1 for the fix.

    -->Getting Further Help

    Q: I can't find what I want on your page.
    A: It has a lot of information. It is hard to search through, and the indexing is a little shoddy. What can be helpful is if you use your browser's Search ability to search this page for the keywords you're concerned about. That may not show up anything, but then again it might. Also: pay attention to what you're pointed to. Some people tend to gloss over the tips found here, which seems like they're wasting time visiting here in the first place. :)

    If this FAQ does not have what you want... read on.

    Q: Where do I find information about how to get actual support on WMP?
    A: I do not track this area and cannot presume to speak upon it. The options I know about are the Microsoft support site, the Do It Yourself options, and then actual player support options. But my investigation here should be deemed amateur at best. You may find other/better support options - these are simply the ones I know about offhand.

    One important thing to note is that product support helps let the product teams know what needs to be fixed - they have more say than someone like me does. So while alerting me to your problem seems productive, it's actually quite not. If you really care about the issue, take it to product support.

    Q: I don't want to go through support for some reason.
    A: Your other options are:
    1. The actual Microsoft support site. Search for more information on your issue.
    2. The "Contact MS" page.
    3. Deja's UseNet archives (now known as Google Groups), where you can look for previous answers to your questions. This is hugely useful - don't underestimate or overlook this vital Internet resource.
    4. Official WMP9 and WMP10 FAQ
    5. WMP information (FAQ, troubleshooting, etc)
    6. Win98 WMP FAQ
    7. The WMPSDK on-line.
    8. All official Windows Media FAQs.

    Q: How do I submit my bug with any assurance that the reported bug will get before any decision maker in the Windows Media Player team?
    A: Actual product support is your best option, as they would raise relevant bugs up the chain as needed according to their interpretation. Yours and my personal ideas of Important Bugs aren't definitive. The first "decision maker" in the process is that product support person at this time: if you don't get the feedback in before beta lockdown, then you don't have an ability to bypass product support channels any longer. "Releasing" software generally presumes that any bugs that are there are construed to be livable and therefore Probably Not Critical: that judgement override is done via product support channels. As far as you or any external party is concerned, what you have is all there is, and there are no further versions planned. That's a pretty standard setting of expectations: we all get spoiled in the Internet age. If you want to have an impact on product design, get involved in the beta stage if possible. I might not like Return of the Jedi, but it's not really possible for Lucas to go back and add more dance numbers without some large level of investment that takes away from some other project.

    Q: I don't like this aspect of WMP Version Whatever...
    A: Get in line - no one piece of software is ever perfect. :) It's certainly hard to make a perfect player (the good of MPC or WinAMP or WMP or VLC or iTunes comes with corresponding really annoying omissions/defects), and reams of experts in pertinent fields design what they think best. If you really feel your ideas are superior, you really should step off the sidelines: apply for a job at Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks, or etc. If you're just idly unhappy... it all gets generally rereviewed each release, so you may get lucky. But if you really do have feedback: either take it to actual product support or get a job in the industry. That's meant lovingly: it's a wonderful challenge, and every failure is personal and painful, but ... it takes time to get everything right, and that's brutally hard in this rapidly changing industry. =(

    Q: I'm looking for general information about how to use Windows Media...
    A: The Inside Windows Media book may be generally helpful. The various SDKs help, MSDN has a a Windows Media section, there's a mailing list, there's a bunch of docs (with the products and available on the web), and this guy has another How to Use Windows Media book...

    Q: Where can I make suggestions on how to improve Windows Media?
    A: The wish list is here, or you can use this list of resources.

    Q: How do I get help in the Microsoft newsgroups on my question?
    A: Do not expect an answer - this is a peer-supported forum, not a Microsoft supported forum. It's important that you refer to the Rules of Conduct - the newsgroups are for peer support, not for receiving official MS support. If you really want customer support, you should call PSS. The details on calling support can be found here. Most users also typically will not respond to posts or e-mails that:
    • ask a Frequently Asked Question (search DejaNews (now known as Google Groups) for possible answers to your problem first)
    • do not contain a valid e-mail address (spam-trapped is okay)
    • are posted to irrelevant newsgroups (questions about the player in the server newsgroup are a good way to get ignored)
    • are cross-posted heavily (1-2 newgroups is usually all you should post to many people ignore anything cross-posted to 3+ groups even if it was a valid cross-post)
    • are velveeta-ed across multiple newsgroups (crosspost: don't keep posting again and again in different newsgroups - many people ignore items that are posted individually to multiple newsgroups)
    • are addressed to a specific user (it's a community forum, and there are plenty of other people who can help out. Posts addressed to specific users mean that the forum is becoming unfairly dominated by certain members.)
    • are posted multiple times to the same newsgroup within a week - that's a good way to get killfiled
    You will want to:
    • SUPPLY A USEFUL CONTEXT. It's such a waste of time to say "This bad things happen. How to fix?" Explain what's going on on your system. This should also help you provide good info.
    • Form complete sentences and describe the problem meaningfully. If you don't care enough about the problem to explain yourself well, most people won't care enough to bother to help. :\
    • Be calm. Yeah, anything sucks when its wrong, but it is not personal, it is not part of some Government Master Plan or other paranoid conspiracy, and the people who write the software work their butts off to write great software. If somehow it doesn't work on your system, the people who created the software are usually as pissed off (or more so) than you, so don't harsh on them.

    Also, Sean Alexander wrote a good post on how to provide Good Technical Information in your posts.


    If you need help understanding Internet acronyms and slang, this should help.

    Q: How do I ask questions in way that helps people provide me with the information I need?
    A: Often - and I'm as guilty of this as anyone - people don't provide enough information for others to help them. It's the same thing as if you were going to a doctor: you need to help others help you. And since the people helping you here are doing so voluntary in their free time, you really need to help them help you. For example, if even I'm pointing you here, that means that you should really look at this list and provide answers, as based upon what is known so far there's not enough information to provide help to you yet. Here's some critical basic information that you should provide in your descriptions:
    1. Does the file mmswitch.ax exist on your system? If you do, that's your problem. That's a horrible file and gets installed by horrible codec packs assembled by pretty stupid people that you shouldn't trust with your system.
    2. What operating system are you using?
    3. What exact version of Windows Media Player are you using? [Only WMP's Help:About menu will provide this exact information.]
    4. What type of issue are you having? A bug, a feature request, or something else?
    5. Does this happen in other players? Which ones? [Different players access the same parts of the system different ways, so a particular bug may be isolated to a specific interface of a piece of the system, as opposed to that player.] You will want to try different players in most cases so that you can help people understand the scope of the problem that you're facing.
    6. Does it happen in/with both "mplayer2.exe" and "wmplayer.exe", if applicable? This is a critical question. "mplayer2.exe" (WMP6) is already on your system in the C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player directory.
    7. Does this happen for files saved locally, files played back from the Internet, or both?
    8. Does this happen only if the file has video, or does it happen for all files?
    9. What type of file are you trying to play? Is it an MPEG, ASF, AVI, MIDI, WAV, or what?
    10. Does this happen for all files of that type, or just certain ones? There's a sample page here if you need to see what files you can successfully still play.
    11. What are the steps that you follow in order to produce the error?
    12. What are you doing when you get the error?
    13. How could someone else cause the error to happen their computer?
    14. If the problem occurs with content on the Internet, what URL do you use to encounter the problem?
    15. What video card do you have?
    16. What sound card do you have?
    17. Does this same error occur on any other computer?
    18. If this is a networking problem, what is your networking configuration? (And note this addresses most networking issues.)
    19. If there's an error code, what is it? What exactly does the error text say? Most critically, what is the error code number if present?
    20. If you hit a crash and get the opportunity to send an error report, do so! Then:
      On Windows 7: Open the Reliability Monitor, then click "View all problem reports" on that dialog. Look for the crash/error in question. Double-click the report in question. What is that data? (You can use "Copy to Clipboard" to easily include this data in your message.)
      On Vista: open the Start menu. Click All Programs. Select "Maintenance". Select "Problems Reports and Solutions". Click "View Problem History". Look for the crash/error in question. Double-click the report in question. What is that data? (You can use "Copy to Clipboard" to easily include this data in your message.)
      On XP and earlier: go to the Event Viewer in Administrative Tools (you can manually run this with the commandline "%windir%\system32\mmc.exe" "%windir%\SYSTEM32\eventvwr.msc" /s' if you need to). Go to the Application log in Event Viewer. Look for the "Error" in that list - there should be two for your latest crash. The most recent one should have a "Fault bucket" number. What is that number? (If these steps are confusing to you, Step #6 here is another/easier write-up.) There will be another Error Event in that list that will have the Faulting Application - all of that information is *also* helpful. Please note that if you do not have a Crash Bucket number (which you can only get by sending up the crash report), it will be much harder to assess your issue. HungApp crash buckets are also generally useless. (A developer might find WinDbG helpful to debug this crash, but that requires pretty high skill. DebugDiag may be easier for the average user.)
    21. If you hit a blue screen, that's not good. This page can help you figure out more information about that blue screen. Typically this is only going to come from driver issues or other significant problems. This tool attempts to determine what caused the bluescreen and might be quite helpful.
    22. What WMP6 version does this page detect?
    23. What WMP7+ version does this page detect?
    Note that supplying this information *in full* (if you half-ass it, you're NOT helping) is not a guaranteed way to get help in the newsgroups - it only helps your chances. If you're having some weird issue that you can't figure out and you have *access* to the computer, realize that it is that much harder for someone who does *not* have access to your system to help out. If you're not getting help in the newsgroups, you'd pretty much have to take your problem to actual product support. Also, calm down until you really know what caused the problem. :)

    Q: What are the most common causes of crashes in WMP?
    A: Surprisingly, bad third party code. WMP allows third parties to plug in, and not all play well/healthily. If you have "mmswitch.ax" or "neroburnplugin.dll" on your system, you should remove those- those don't work with WMP. If you have "ffdshow.ax", "divxdec.ax", "xvidcore.dll", "igdumd32.dll", or "sockspy.dll" (BitDefender Anti-Virus) on your system, you should make sure you have the latest versions of those, as earlier versions may causes crashes. These files alone account for most crashing problems with WMP.

    Q: Can you give me the e-mail address of someone who can help me with (blank)?
    A: Sorry, this is not possible.

    Q: I found a bug. What do I do?
    A: Take it to Product Support. That's really about the best and perhaps only effective(?) conduit I know of for handling bugs. Sorry: there's big scale issues here that come into play. Remember that your bug would get mixed in with another's persons confusion and so forth.

    Q: Hey, who are you?
    A: I've been a developer on the Windows Media team for over ten years (started full-time back in August 96). I think the product rocks, so I like to a: help people have an easier time in a very complex field, and b: learn what we can work on to make the product better.

    Q: What's your e-mail address?
    A: For support questions, click here.
    Please do not ever e-mail me questions on Windows Media: I will not respond to them, nor will I be able to provide you further resources. I have NO time to help you with, so please don't make me feel bad about trying to be a nice guy by asking for yet more out of me.

    Supporting Windows Media is not my life. It's not even my job: my job is to write code, and it's some other team's job to do support. As any friend of mine can tell you, I am extremely busy. I am hard pressed to do everything I try to do at work as it is, and I'm certainly woefully behind in my personal life. People asking for more out of me are asking me to sacrifice my life to them, and that just sucks. Don't do that. Don't be that guy.

    For issues or concerns with Microsoft, you'll want to consult PSS or other official support channels. I will not point you to further resources: other people have their own jobs. When I get e-mail help requests from people, it's really saddening: I can only do so much. Please don't make me feel bad that I'm not sacrificing more of myself and my life. :\

    For what it's worth, Microsoft employees can not speak to product releases, marketing, licensing, legal issues, strategy, competitive issues, future product features, nor whether or not something will get fixed, so don't ask.

    Q: I'd like to link to your page but not include your site's Table of Contents.
    A: I have no problem with anyone linking to my site, and in fact would encourage this. If you don't want to show the site TOC - which at this point is turned off - , add "?noshowtoc" to the URL - as in http://zachd.com/pss/pss.html?noshowtoc. The global script my site uses recognizes that and turns the TOC off. Please do not excerpt from this FAQ without really making sure you want to do so: I update the data here regularly, which is why linking to the FAQ may be your best option. Almost all common problems have Name shortcuts so you can index into the FAQ easily (view the source to see these).
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