Windows Media Player provides an intuitive, easy-to-use interface to play digital media files, organize your digital media collection, burn CDs of your favorite music, rip music from CDs, sync digital media files to a portable music player, and shop for digital media content from online stores.

Start Windows Media Player

To start Windows Media Player, click the Start button Picture of the Start button , click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Player.

Use tabs to make tasks easier

The tabs on the Player taskbar make it easier for you to focus on a specific task.

Picture of the tabs on the Player taskbar
The Player taskbar

To get started, click the tab that corresponds to the task you want to complete. The arrow that appears below each tab provides quick access to options and settings related to that task. For example, it's easy to change the format for files you are ripping by clicking the arrow below the Rip tab.

Picture of the Rip Options menu
The Rip Options menu

As you switch between various tabs and views in the Player, you can use the Back and Forward buttons on the left side of the taskbar to retrace your steps.

Picture of the Back and Forward buttons
Back and Forward buttons

Click the following links to find out about the tasks you can perform on each tab.

Show all


The Library tab is where you can access and organize your digital media collection. Use the address bar to switch to a category, such as music, pictures, or video, and then select a view of that category in the Navigation pane. For example, switch to the Music category and then, in the Navigation pane, click Genre to see all of your music organized by genre. You can drag items from the Details pane to the List pane to create a playlist that you want to play, burn, or sync.

Picture of library areas
Library areas

Use this tab to do any of the following:


Use the Rip tab when you want to rip, or copy, music from your CDs. Ripping is a great way to add files to your Player library. Use this tab to do any of the following:

Picture of ripping in progress
Ripping a music CD


If you like more flexibility in what you listen to, or you want to listen to a mix of music while away from your computer, you can burn CDs containing any combination of music. You can burn audio CDs with the Player and play them in any standard CD player. Use the Burn tab to do any of the following:

Picture of burning in progress
Burning a CD


You can use the Player to sync music, video, and pictures to a wide choice of portable devices, including portable media players, storage cards, and Portable Media Centers. Simply connect a supported device to your computer and the Player will select the sync method (automatic or manual) that is best for your device. Then you can sync files and playlists in your library to your device. Use this tab to do any of the following:


Use the Online Stores tab to Shop online stores on the Internet.

Create lists with the List pane

Many of the tasks you perform in the Player, such as burning music to a CD, require that you set up a list. This release of the Player makes it easier to create lists by using the List pane on the right side of the Player.

Picture of the List pane
The List pane
If the List pane is not visible in the library, click the Show List pane button Picture of the Show List pane button near the search box. (If the List pane is not visible in Now Playing, click the arrow below the Now Playing tab, and then click Show List Pane.) You have several options for moving items to the List pane:
  • Drag items such as songs or albums to the List pane from the Details pane of the Player library or from a folder on your computer

  • Right-click an item in the Details pane and then click Add to "Untitled Playlist"

  • Right-click a file on your computer and then click Add to Windows Media Player list

Use Media Guide to search for music and videos

The rightmost tab on the Player taskbar allows you to shop for a variety of media services in online stores. The tab is also home to the Media Guide: a helpful website that you can access through the Player. The Media Guide provides links to media files and offers suggestions if you are browsing for content. To switch to the Media Guide, click the arrow below the Online Stores tab (the name of this tab changes depending on which online store or service is currently active), and then click Media Guide.

Picture of the Media Guide tab
The Media Guide tab

Listen to Internet radio from around the world

Many radio stations offer online, streaming audio versions of their broadcasts. There are also Internet-only stations that offer a wide range of content, from music to news. To listen to Internet radio, go to the Media Guide and click the Internet Radio link.

Picture of Internet radio search feature
The Internet radio search feature

Keep it simple with the mini Player

If you want to listen to music or watch a video, but you don't want to clutter up your desktop with another window, you can use the Windows Media Player mini Player feature. Mini Player mode allows you to minimize the Player to the Windows taskbar, while still giving you access to playback controls and the ability to view visualizations and information about the currently playing item.

Picture of the mini Player
The Windows Media Player mini Player

To enable mini Player mode

  • Right-click the taskbar, point to Toolbars, and then click Windows Media Player.

    This action turns on the feature and only needs to be performed once. A check mark appears next to Windows Media Player to indicate that it is turned on. To switch to mini Player mode in the future, simply click the Minimize button in the Player.