Share your media in Windows Media Player with other people or devices

If you have a private network, you can use Windows Media Player to share the media in your library with other people, computers, and devices in your home. For example, if you have a networked digital media player, such as an Xbox 360, you can use Windows Media Player to stream music, pictures, and videos from your computer to that device. This allows you to enjoy the contents of your Player library remotely from anywhere in your home—even from rooms that don't have a computer.

If you have more than one computer connected to your home network and the other computers are also running this version of Windows Vista, you can share your Player library on each of the computers so that you can access all of your digital media files from any computer in your home.

The following procedures explain how to get started. For an overview about sharing media in the Player, including information about the device and network requirements, see Sharing media on a network. For information about customizing media sharing, see Change settings for sharing media.

Show all

To connect a device or another computer to your network

The first step is to connect your digital media player devices or other computers to your home network.

  1. Connect your digital media player device, such as an Xbox 360, or your other computer to your home network.

    This may involve connecting an Ethernet cable from your device or other computer to your wired network or it may involve configuring your device or other computer to use a wireless network adapter to connect to your wireless network. If you need assistance connecting a device to your network, check the documentation that came with your device. For more information about adding a computer to your network, see Windows Help and Support.

  2. If you are connecting a device, turn it on, and then follow any configuration instructions that appear on the device's screen. If you are connecting another computer, turn it on. Note that the other computer must be running this version of Windows Vista, too.

To turn on media sharing in Windows Media Player

If media sharing is not already turned on, you need to turn it on by doing the following:

  1. Click the arrow below the Library tab, and then click Media Sharing.

  2. In the Media Sharing dialog box, select the Share my media check box.

    If you cannot select the Share my media check box, you might not be connected to a private network. For your protection, media sharing is automatically turned off when you are connected to a public network. In addition, if you are connected to a domain network, your network administrator can prevent you from turning on media sharing.

    If you think Windows is misidentifying your private network as a public network, you can manually change your network settings. For more information about changing your network settings or about how to turn off media sharing for all users of your computer, see Change settings for sharing media.

To choose which devices to share your media with

After you turn on media sharing, you need to select the computers and devices you want to share your media with. You do this by allowing specific computers or devices to access your Player library.

  1. In the list of devices below the Share my media to check box, select a device.

    If you don't see this list of devices, see the procedure in this topic about how to turn on media sharing.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • If you want to share your media with the computer or device you have selected, click Allow.

    • If you don't want to share your media with the computer or device you have selected, click Deny.

    For information about how to customize what media you share with the device, see Change settings for sharing media.

    Note that you can also allow or deny devices by clicking the notification that appears when the Player detects a new device on your network.

To use your device or other computer to play shared media

After you have allowed your computers and devices to access your Player library, you are ready to use your device or other computer to select content to play.

  • Do one of the following:

    • If you are using a device, use the device's remote control to select the name of the computer that is sharing your content. Then use the remote control to browse for content that you want to play.

      If you need assistance using your device to select content to play, check the documentation that came with your device.

    • If you are using another computer that is running this version of Windows Vista, do the following:

      1. Start Windows Media Player on the other computer.

      2. Click the arrow below the Library tab, and then click Media Sharing.

      3. Select the Find media that others are sharing check box, and then click OK.

        This allows you to see any media that others might share with you. Once you select this check box, you don't need to repeat this step in the future.

      4. Click the Library tab, and in the Navigation pane, click the name of the remote library that you want to use.

        You can play items in the remote library just as you would play them if they were in your local library.