Add digital media files to Windows Media Center

The first time you start Windows Media Center, it will look for digital media files in the Music, Pictures, and Videos folders. But you are not limited to these folders for storing your digital media.

You can identify other folders on your computer—or even on your local network—that you want Windows Media Center to watch for digital media. When you identify folders to be watched, the digital media in those folders will appear in the picture library, video library, or music library.

Picture of the Windows Media Center picture library
The picture library in Windows Media Center

Each time you start Windows Media Center, it will look for digital media in those folders. And if you add or remove a file from any of those folders, Windows Media Center will automatically update the contents of the corresponding picture, video, or music library so they remain in sync.

For information about the file types that can be added to Windows Media Center libraries, see File types supported by Windows Media Center.

To add a folder to watch

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, and then click settings.

  2. Click Library Setup.

  3. Click Add folder to watch, and then click Next.

  4. Depending on where your digital media files are stored, click one of the options under Which folders do you want to add?, and then click Next.

  5. Navigate to the folders you want to add by clicking the - and + buttons, and then select the check box next to each folder. (Files in subfolders will be included with your selection.)

  6. When you have selected all the folders that you want Windows Media Center to watch, click Next, and then click Finish.

    After you have finished adding files, it might take several minutes for the files to appear in the libraries.


  • To add folders that Windows Media Center searches when it looks for recorded TV, see Record TV.

  • An analog or digital TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center. If your computer did not come with a TV tuner card, you might be able to add one. For more information about obtaining a TV tuner card, see Get help for your TV tuner card or contact your computer manufacturer.

  • If you want to add digital media files that are stored on another computer, and that computer has Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) or earlier installed, both computers must be part of the same workgroup.


  • If you select Add shared folders from another computer to add a shared folder from a network, and Windows Media Center does not detect the folder, try mapping the folder as a network drive. To learn how, see Create a shortcut to (map) a network drive. After you do this, you might be able to access the folder in Windows Media Center by clicking Add folders on this computer in Library Setup.