Here are answers to some common questions about converting files before sync in Windows Media Player. If you don't see your question listed here, see Windows Media Player FAQ.
No. Conversion occurs only if your device requires files to be converted to a quality level and/or format that is optimized for playback on the device. Conversion does not affect the original file.
For some older devices, it is possible to turn conversion off. However, it is not possible to do so for a device that supports the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), because an MTP device accurately reports to the Player whether conversion is required to ensure that you can play files on the device. If you do have a device for which you can turn conversion off, keep in mind that doing so may prevent the device from being able to play files or may cause the device to behave unexpectedly if you sync files that exceed the device's capabilities. For these reasons, you should typically allow files to be converted before sync. If you do want to turn conversion off for a device that supports it, do the following:
Click the arrow below the Sync tab, point to the device, and then click Advanced Options.
The properties dialog box for your device is displayed. Click the Quality tab, and then clear the Convert music, pictures, videos, and TV shows as required check box.
Typically, you should allow the Player to select the quality level automatically, to ensure that your device can play the files. If you want to sync files to your device at a higher quality level, check your device's documentation first to verify what quality level the device supports. Also, note that if you sync a file that is below the quality level you have specified, the file will sync at its existing quality level (its quality level will not increase). To adjust the quality level for converted files, do the following:
The properties dialog box for your device is displayed. Click the Quality tab, and then select the quality settings you want for music and video. (It is not possible to specify a quality setting for converting pictures.) The actual bit rate of the file might be slightly different than the bit rate you select.
You can also choose to have the Player use additional computing power to increase the quality of converted video files by doing the following:
Click the arrow below the Sync tab, and then click More Options.
In the File Conversion Options dialog box, select the Choose quality over speed when converting video (increases the conversion time) check box.
Yes. If you have set up your device to sync automatically, you can turn on background conversion. When you do so, any files that require conversion before they can sync will be converted in the background, which reduces the time it takes to sync. By default, background conversion is turned on for video files. To turn on background conversion for audio files, do the following:
In the File Conversion Options dialog box, select the Allow audio files to convert in the background check box.
Once you have turned it on, background conversion will start when all of the following occur:
Player is running and your computer has been idle (no mouse or keyboard input) for 10 minutes.
Your device is disconnected from the computer. (If the device is connected, the Player will convert and sync the files.)
Your computer is plugged in (rather than running on battery power).
Once conversion starts, you can use your computer again. The Player must continue to run while conversion takes place, but you can minimize it to the Windows taskbar. The conversion process runs at idle priority, which means that conversion uses all of your computer's unused processor capacity, but should not affect your use of the computer. Conversion will stop when any of the following occur:
All files have been converted.
You exit the Player.
The folder that stores converted files reaches the specified disk space.
The computer switches to battery power (conversion will resume when you plug the computer in again).