Privacy and security when streaming your media: frequently asked questions

If you have a private network, you can use Windows Media Player to stream the contents of your Player Library to other computers and devices in your home. Here are answers to some common questions about privacy and security when streaming your media on a network.

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If I turn on streaming, will everyone in my home have access to the contents of my Player Library?

It's up to you. Your streaming settings determine what you stream from your Player Library and also which devices receive your streams. When you first turn on streaming, you will automatically stream any file in your Player Library to any media device or computer detected on your network. However, you can adjust your settings to filter streamed content and block devices and computers on your network from receiving streams. For more information about choosing streaming settings, see Change settings for streaming media in Windows Media Player.

If I turn on streaming, can other people in my home modify the contents of my Player Library?

No. The streaming feature only permits people to use their computers and devices to play the items in your Player Library. It doesn't permit them to add, remove, or modify items.

If I turn on media streaming, can people in my home access items on my computer that aren't in my Player library, such as my documents?

No. The streaming feature only streams the items in your Player Library. If the item isn't a media file used by your Player, it can't be streamed.

If I turn on streaming, can people outside my home access the contents of my Player Library?

That depends on the security of your home network. Regardless of whether you turn on streaming, you should take steps to help secure your home network from intruders. For example:

  • If you use a cable modem or DSL modem to connect to the Internet, consider installing a router that isolates your area of the network from that of your neighbors.

  • If you use a wireless network in your home, you should turn on a secure authentication service, such as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Wi‑Fi Protected Access (WPA).

Why shouldn't I stream media on a public network?

For your protection, media streaming shouldn't be used when you're connected to a public network (such as a wireless network in an airport, coffee shop, or library).

When you stream on a public network, you run the risk of making your media available to everyone else on the public network. You also run the risk of making your computer more vulnerable to unauthorized access by other people on the network.