Which settings affect privacy in Windows Media Player?

The following table shows settings in Windows Media Player that may affect the privacy of your media information and Player usage. For more information about Player features that affect your privacy, go to the Windows Media Player Privacy statement. Except where noted, the settings in the table are located on the Privacy tab of the Options dialog box.

To access the Privacy tab, click the arrow below the Now Playing tab, click More Options, and then click the Privacy tab.

This setting Does this
This setting

Display media information from the Internet check box

Does this

Specifies whether the Player will try to obtain media information for CDs and DVDs that you play. To obtain the information, the Player sends the CD or DVD identifier to a database operated by the online store you are using. The online store then sends the information back to your computer, where it is stored and displayed in the Player. When your computer is offline, the Player stores the request for media information so it can try to obtain it the next time you connect to the Internet. If no online stores are available in your area, the media information is provided by a Windows Media database.

This setting

Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet check box

Does this

Specifies whether the Player will automatically obtain and update missing media information for music files that are in your library, if the information is available. If this check box is selected, the Player tries to update any missing media information in the files by sending data about them to a Windows Media database. The update occurs when you go to the library for the first time after updating the Player or when you add files to your library. For example, if you have music files that contain the artist name but not the album name, the Player adds the album name to the file after retrieving the information. The Player also adds album art to files and music folders in your music folder. When you display the Info Center View, the Player retrieves related media information but does not update the information in your files.

This setting

Download usage rights automatically when I play or sync a file check box

Does this

Specifies whether the Player will automatically try to download media usage rights from a server on the Internet if the rights on your computer are missing or out-of-date when you play or sync a protected file. Downloading media usage rights automatically can provide a more seamless playback and sync experience for protected files because the Player obtains the rights without prompting you first. When requesting media usage rights, the Player will provide the rights server with standard computer information, an ID for the music or video file, the action you have requested (such as play or burn), information about the digital rights management (DRM) components on your computer such as their revision and security levels, and a unique identifier for your computer. The unique identifier is used only to generate media usage rights for your computer and, because it is enclosed in an encrypted request, is not available to the rights server in a way that uniquely identifies you or your computer. For more information about media usage rights, see Windows Media Player DRM: frequently asked questions.

This setting

Automatically check if protected files need to be refreshed check box

Does this

Specifies whether the Player will automatically scan your library for purchased and subscription files that are missing media usage rights, files that have expired rights, or files that have rights that are about to expire. When this check box is selected and the Player finds files that need to be renewed, the Player will try to download the rights from the Internet. If you are signed in with your online store, you will not be prompted before the Player tries to download the rights. This option helps ensure you have a seamless playback experience on your computer and also alerts you when synchronized files on your portable device are about to expire. When requesting media usage rights, the Player will provide the rights server with standard computer information, an ID for the music or video file, the action you have requested (such as play or sync), information about the digital rights management (DRM) components on your computer such as their revision and security levels, and a unique identifier for your computer. The unique identifier is used only to generate media usage rights for your computer and, because it is enclosed in an encrypted request, is not available to the rights server in a way that uniquely identifies you or your computer. For more information about media usage rights, see Windows Media Player DRM: frequently asked questions.

This setting

Set clock on devices automatically check box

Does this

Specifies whether the Player can verify that the secure, internal clock in a portable device to be synchronized is set to the correct time and date. The Player cannot sync subscription files to a device unless the device has a clock and the clock is set correctly. If this check box is selected, the Player automatically sets the clock on your device when you connect it to your computer. To set the clock, the Player first sends a time inquiry to a Microsoft server. This inquiry contains standard computer information, standard troubleshooting data, and a request for the current time. For more information about your device's capabilities, see your device documentation.

This setting

Send unique Player ID to content providers check box

Does this

Specifies whether the Player can be uniquely identified by web servers, using an identifier created by the Player when you stream content from the Internet. The identifier uniquely identifies the Player connection to a server only. The server typically uses this unique identifier to perform tasks such as monitoring your connections, gathering statistics, and providing access to content. By monitoring your connection, the server administrator can often make adjustments to improve the playback quality and to provide additional services. This option is off by default. Note that you may encounter content providers that require you to send a unique identifier to receive content. If so, you can select this check box to provide that identifier. For more information about how a content provider uses the Player ID, see the content provider's privacy statement. If you do not want a server to be able to uniquely identify your computer when you are receiving streaming media, do not select this check box.

This setting

Cookies button

Does this

Enables the Player to use the cookie settings in Internet Explorer to communicate with other computers when playing streaming content and to communicate with the websites that display content in the stores areas of the Player. Cookies also enable content providers to provide personalized services from their websites. For more information about cookies, see Internet Explorer Help.

This setting

I want to help make Microsoft software and services even better by sending Player usage data to Microsoft check box

Does this

Specifies whether you want to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program, which helps to improve the quality, reliability, and performance of Microsoft software and services. By selecting this check box, you can help to improve the Player and related services by sending anonymous Player usage information to Microsoft. We will collect anonymous information about your hardware configuration and how you use the software and services to identify trends and usage patterns. The information that you send us is completely anonymous. Your name, address, or any other personal information will not be collected. There are no surveys to complete, no salesperson will call, and you can continue working without interruption. For more information, read about the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

This setting

Save file and URL history in the Player check box and Clear History button

Does this

Lists of your most recently played files are displayed on the File menu and in the Open and Open URL dialog boxes. (If the File menu is not visible, show the Classic Menus.) If this check box is selected, anyone who uses the Player with your user account can see the list of the content that you have played recently. For information about clearing the list, see Remove information about what you have played.

This setting

Clear caches button

Does this

Removes all stored media information about CDs and DVDs and devices that you have connected to your computer. This includes information about CDs and DVDs you have played, devices that have been connected to your computer, folders that the Player is monitoring, files on which you have performed a search through the Player, and files that you have deleted from your library. If you click this button, you will need to be connected to the Internet when you play CDs and DVDs to view album art, track names, and so on. In addition, information about any sync relationships you have with portable devices will be deleted. You must disconnect the device from the computer before clicking the button.

This setting

Work Offline command

Does this

Specifies whether you want to prevent the collection of standard computer information along with information needed for specific features and send it to Microsoft or to an online store operated by a non-Microsoft company/organization. This includes information such as your IP address, operating system version, Player version, a code that identifies the manufacturer of your computer, and your regional and language settings. If you want to prevent this from occurring, you can click the Work Offline command, located on the File menu of the Player. (If the File menu is not visible, show the Classic Menus.) Note that a number of Player features use the connection to the Internet and will not be available if you enable this setting. In addition, this command affects Internet Explorer and will therefore affect other software that may be using Internet Explorer to access the Internet, such as Microsoft Office Outlook and other non-Microsoft programs. For information about the Player features that require an Internet connection and may not work properly if you work offline, see Which settings affect security?

This setting

Delete Files button

Does this

Empties the cache of synchronized files. If you use the Player to sync to portable devices, it is possible that copies of files that you sync are stored in a cache for performance reasons. You can empty this cache by clicking this button. The button is located on the File Conversion Options dialog box, which you can access by clicking Advanced on the Devices tab of the Options dialog box.

This setting

Download codecs automatically check box

Does this

Specifies that if a codec required for playback of a piece of content is not on your computer, the Player will silently request that the codec be downloaded from a Microsoft server if you are connected to the Internet and the codec is available. The request contains standard computer information and an ID that identifies the required codec. This check box, located on the Player tab of the Options dialog box, is selected by default; you can clear it if you do not want codecs to download automatically.

Note

  • Some settings are controlled by Group Policy. If a setting is unavailable, contact your system administrator. For more information about Group Policy, see Windows Help and Support.