Playing music in Windows Media Center: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about playing music and other audio files in Windows Media Center. For more information, including how to control playback of audio files, see Listen to music in Windows Media Center.

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How do I make my music appear in Media Center?

By default, music files that are stored in either the My Music folder or the Public Music folder will appear in Media Center. You can also add more folders for Media Center to monitor, such as folders on an external hard drive or on a network. For more information, see Add media files to Windows Media Center.

If you're not seeing your music or other audio files in Media Center, it might be for one of the following reasons:

  • The folders that are monitored by your Music library have changed. You can add or remove folders from your Music library within Media Center, or outside of Media Center in Windows Explorer. When you customize a library in Windows Explorer, the content that appears in Media Center is automatically updated. For information about changing a library outside of Media Center, see Working with libraries.

  • The folder that contains music is in a location that's not currently available. If your music is stored on a network folder, make sure your computer is connected to the network. If your music is stored on an external hard drive, make sure the drive is plugged in.

Why doesn't album information (such as cover art) display?

It might be because the album information wasn't available when you ripped—or copied—the album to your computer. Make sure the computer is connected to the Internet when ripping albums to your computer. If you've already ripped the album to your computer, try to download album information in Windows Media Player. Once you do this, it will appear in Media Center as well. For more information, see Add or edit media information in Windows Media Player.

Why isn't there sound?

There are several reasons why this might be happening. Try the following:

  • Make sure that the volume is not turned down too low or muted. To turn up (or unmute) the volume in Media Center, click the Volume Increase button Picture of the Volume Increase button repeatedly until the volume is at the desired level. (When you change the volume in Media Center, the main sound level in Windows is changed as well. For more information, see Adjust the sound level on your computer.)
  • Make sure your speakers are plugged in and are working correctly. Most computer speakers should be connected to the line-in jack on your computer.

    Picture of microphone jack, line-in jack, and line-out jack
    The microphone, line-in, and line-out jacks on a typical desktop computer

    For more information, see Connect a microphone, music player, or other audio device to your computer.

  • Try configuring your speakers in Media Center:

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click General, click Windows Media Center Setup, and then click Set Up Your Speakers.

    2. Follow the instructions to configure and test your speakers in Media Center.

  • Make sure your sound card is recognized and that you have the latest driver installed. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.

Why doesn't a music file play?

It might be for one of the following reasons:

How do I play an audio CD or DVD in Media Center?

Start Media Center, and then insert the CD or DVD into the appropriate drive on your computer—the disc should start playing automatically. For more information, see Play a CD or DVD in Windows Media Center.

If your CD or DVD drive isn't reading the disc at all, it might be because you don't have the latest driver installed on your computer. For information about installing drivers, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.

Is there a graphic equalizer in Media Center so I can fine-tune the way my music sounds?

No, but there's one in Windows Media Player. If you change the graphic equalizer settings in Windows Media Player, they'll apply to Media Center audio playback, as well. For more information, see Change bass, stereo, and other audio effects in Windows Media Player.