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 device, and shop for digital media content from online stores.
Windows Media Player allows you to toggle between two modes: the Player Library, which gives you comprehensive control over the Player's many features; and Now Playing mode, which gives you a simplified view of your media that's ideal for playback.
In the Player Library, you can access and organize your digital media collection. Within the navigation pane, you can choose a category, such as Music, Pictures, or Videos, to view in the details pane. For example, to see all of your music organized by genre, double-click Music, and then click Genre. Then, drag items from the details pane to the list pane to create playlists, burn CDs or DVDs, or sync to devices, such as portable music players.
As you move between the various views in the Player Library, you can use the Back and Forward buttons in the upper-left corner of the Player to retrace your steps.
In Now Playing mode, you can view DVDs and videos or see what music is currently playing. You can decide to view only the currently playing item, or you can right-click the Player, and then click Show list to view a selection of available items.
To find out more about the tasks you can perform in the Player Library and in Now Playing mode, click the links under the following sections:
Use the Player Library to do any of the following:
Use Now Playing mode to do any of the following:
You can also control the Player when it's minimized. You can play or pause the current item, advance to the next item, and go back to the previous item using the controls in the thumbnail preview. The thumbnail preview appears when you point to the Windows Media Player icon on the taskbar.
Windows Media Player looks for files in specific Windows libraries on your computer to add to the Player Library: Music, Videos, Pictures, and Recorded TV.
To build your media library, you can include folders in the libraries from other locations on your computer or external devices, such as a portable hard drive. For more information about adding files to the Player Library, see Add items to the Windows Media Player Library.
You can add music to the Player Library by using your computer's CD drive to copy CDs and store them on your computer as digital files. This process is known as ripping.
For more about ripping CDs, see Rip music from a CD.
The tabs at the top right of the Player open the list pane in the Player Library, making it easier for you to focus on specific tasks, such as creating playlists of your favorite songs, burning custom song lists to a recordable CD, or syncing playlists in your media library to a portable media player.
To get started, click the tab that corresponds to the task you want to perform in the Player Library. To hide the list pane, click the tab that is currently open.
To find out what you can do on each tab, click the links under the following sections:
The list below the Play tab reflects the items currently playing and the items you've selected to play in the Player Library. For example, if you selected a specific album to play, the entire album will appear in the Play tab.
You can also use the Play tab to create and save custom playlists. For more information about creating playlists, see Create or change a regular playlist in Windows Media Player.
If you want to listen to a mix of music while you're away from your computer, you can burn CDs containing any combination of music. For example, 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:
You can use the Player to sync music, videos, and pictures to a wide range of portable devices, including portable media players, storage cards, and some mobile phones. To do this, just 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 Player Library to your device. Use this tab to do any of the following:
If you’re having trouble using Windows Media Player, you can try using the Windows Media Player Settings troubleshooter to automatically find and fix some common problems.
Open the Windows Media Player Settings troubleshooter by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting. Click View all, and then click Windows Media Player Settings.
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.
The tabs on the Player taskbar make it easier for you to focus on a specific task.
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.
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.
Click the following links to find out about the tasks you can perform on each tab.
The Now Playing tab is where you can watch digital media content. Use this tab to do any of the following:
Play a CD or DVD
Watch visualizations while playing music
Shuffle and repeat the items you are playing
Change volume and other audio settings
Switch to full-screen mode
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.
Use this tab to do any of the following:
Play an audio or video file
Find items in the library
Add items to the library
Remove items from the library
Create and play playlists
Add or edit media information
Add or change album art
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:
Rip music from a CD
Change settings, including the format or bit rate, for how music is ripped
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:
Burn music to a CD
Change settings for how digital media files are burned
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:
Set up a device to sync
Select items to sync manually
Use the Online Stores tab to Shop online stores on the Internet.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
See all support pages for music, photos & videos.
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