Here are answers to some common questions about sync in Windows Media Player. If you don't see your question listed here, go to the Windows Media Player FAQ website.

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What is sync?

In the Player, sync is the process by which digital media files are copied from your Player library to a portable device, after which you can play the files on the device.

What devices can I sync to?

You can sync to a wide choice of devices, including portable media players, storage cards, and Portable Media Centers. To find portable devices that are compatible with the Player, go to the Find devices webpage.

What kinds of files can I sync?

The Player can sync most audio and video files, and pictures in .jpg format that are stored on your computer. Not all devices support all file types, however, so you should refer to the documentation that comes with your device for information about the file types it supports. Note that you can't sync streamed files.

How do I know which files will sync to my device with automatic sync?

The Player syncs your entire library by default. If your library grows over time, eventually it may no longer fit on your device, after which the Player prioritizes the playlists in your library to sync your favorites first. Then, during sync, lower priority files are removed from the device to make room for higher priority files. (The files remain in your library.) The Player prioritizes your playlists in the following order (some playlists may not apply if your device does not support playing or viewing the file types in the playlist):

  1. Playlists you have created

  2. Music auto-rated at 5 stars

  3. Music added in the last month

  4. Music that you rated at 4 or 5 stars

  5. Music played in the last month

  6. Pictures taken in the last month

  7. Pictures rated at 4 or 5 stars

  8. TV added in the last week

  9. Video rated at 4 or 5 stars

  10. Music played the most

  11. All music

  12. All pictures

  13. All video

To check which files are included in a playlist, do the following:

  1. Click the arrow below the Sync tab, point to the device, and then click Set Up Sync.

  2. In the Selected playlists list, click a playlist to see which files will sync as part of the playlist.

I downloaded a file to my device. Can I copy the file to the Player library?

Yes, you must have a device that supports copying from the device to the Player library. If the device recognizes the files as new, and you have an automatic sync relationship then the content will be automatically copied to your computer. To manually copy files from your device, connect the device to your computer, click the Sync tab, find the files in your device you would like to copy, and then do one of the following:

  • Right-click the file, click Add to "Sync List", and then click Start Sync.

  • Drag files from the list of items on the device to the List pane, and then click Start Sync.

Note that a file you copy from your device will also be added to the sync playlist Copied from Device. If you subsequently delete the file from your computer, it will be removed from the playlist the next time you sync.

Will changes I made to a file on my device appear in the Player library?

If your device supports it, changes you make on a device to media information for a file will typically appear in your Player library the next time you sync. However, if you also changed the same attribute in your library since the last sync, the version that is in the library is what is retained.

How many devices can I sync to?

Each Player library can sync with up to 16 devices. If you reach this limit and try to add another device , you will encounter an error message that instructs you to remove an existing sync partnership. To do so, you must remove a device from the library.

What happens if I delete files from my library or from the device?

If you delete a file that is in a sync playlist from your library or computer, the file will also be deleted from your device and the sync playlist the next time you sync. If you delete files from your device, the files will not sync again. For more information about deleting files from your device, see How do I stop a file from synchronizing?

Can I stop the Player from starting sync when I connect my device?

Yes. If your device syncs automatically, the Player starts sync every time you connect the device to a computer. You can turn this option off if you want to choose when sync starts by doing the following:

  1. Click the arrow below the Sync tab, point to the device, and then click Advanced Options.

  2. The properties dialog box for your device is displayed. In the Sync tab, clear the Start sync when device connects check box.

    The next time you want to sync, connect the device to your computer, click the Sync tab, and then click Start Sync.

Can I stop the Player from filling up my device entirely?

Yes. If you have a device that accommodates different types of files, you can control how much of the device you fill with digital media files by doing the following:

  1. Click the arrow below the Sync tab, point to the device, and then click Advanced Options.

  2. The properties dialog box for your device is displayed. In the Sync tab, move the slider to select the amount of space you want to reserve for other files.

Why are some files converted before sync?

Some devices require files to be converted to a quality level and/or format that is optimized for playback on the device. For more information about conversion, see the Conversion FAQ.