Organize and search your digital media collection

The library is the central location in Windows Media Player 11 where you can organize, find, and play all of your music, videos, pictures, and other digital media content. As you add items to the library, your content is automatically grouped by categories such as Artist, Album, and Genre.

Add items to the library

By default, the Player automatically searches certain folders on your computer for digital media files and adds them to the library. If you start the Player and there are no items in the library or some items appear to be missing (perhaps because you store your files in folders that the Player doesn't search by default), you can specify where the Player should search instead.

For information about another way to add items to your library, see Rip (copy) songs from CDs to your computer.

To add content to your library

  1. Click the arrow below the Library tab, and then click Add to Library, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Add to Library command
  2. In the Add to Library dialog box, click one of the following options, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Add to Library dialog box
    • My personal folders. Use this option to search for the digital media files stored in your personal Music, Pictures, and Videos folders, as well as any files stored in the public Music, Pictures, and Videos folders that everyone who uses your computer has access to.

      Personal folders are typically located at C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents; whereas, public folders are typically located at C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents.

      Whenever a file is added or deleted from one of these folders, your library is automatically updated through a process called folder monitoring.

    • My folders and those of others that I can access. Use this option to monitor the digital media files stored in your personal Music, Pictures, and Videos folders, the files stored in the public Music, Pictures, and Videos folders, as well as the files stored in the personal Music, Pictures, and Videos folders that belong to other users on your computer.

      Note that you can only monitor the files stored in another user's personal folder if that person has chosen to share the folder with you. For information about how to share a folder with another person on your computer, see Windows Help and Support.

  3. (Optional) Click Advanced Options, and then do any of the following, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Advanced Options in the Add to Library dialog box
    • To monitor additional folders, click Add, and then specify the location of the folder.

    • To stop monitoring a folder that you previously added, click the folder that you want to remove from the list, and then click Remove. To stop monitoring a folder that has been automatically added, click the folder, and then click Ignore.

    • To specify whether the Player should add files previously deleted from the library, select or clear the Add files previously deleted from library check box.

    • To prevent files that are smaller than a certain size from being added to the library, enter the file size limits in the Audio files and Video files boxes.

Find items in the library

There are two ways to find content in the library—by browsing and by searching.

Browse the library

If you're not sure what you're looking for, you can browse the contents of your library by switching between media types, library categories, and library views.

To browse the library

  1. Click the Library tab.

  2. On the address bar, click the Select a category button, and then select the media type you want to view (for example, Music, Pictures, or Video), as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Select a category button
  3. In the Navigation pane, expand the Library category, and then click a view such as Artist, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Artist view

    By default, only a limited number of category views are displayed. If you want to show additional views, right-click Library, and then click Show More Views, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the Show More Views command

    Items in the view you have chosen are displayed in the Details pane, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of items in the Details pane
  4. Depending upon what view you've chosen and the contents of your library, double-click an item in the Details pane to explore that view or to begin playing that item.

To switch between library views

You can control how the items in the Details pane are displayed. For example, you can choose whether they should be displayed with large icons or detailed text.

  1. Click the Library tab.

  2. Click the View Options button, and then select the display option you want, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the View Options button

    Some library views are not available for certain media types or category views.

Search the library

The search capabilities of the Player have been greatly improved in this release. Even if you have thousands of items in your library, searching for a particular song, artist, or album is surprisingly fast.

To search for an item

  1. Click the Library tab.

  2. On the address bar, click the Select a category button, and then select the media type you want to view (for example, Music, Pictures, or Video).

  3. In the search box, type the text you want to find, as shown in the following screen shot.

    Screen shot of the search box

    Items that match your search criteria are displayed in the Details pane.