Windows Media Player: Wikis


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Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player 12 Logo on Windows 7.png
A component of Microsoft Windows
Windows Media Player 12 on Windows 7.png
Included with Windows Me
Windows 2000
Windows XP[1]
Windows Server 2003
Windows Vista[1]
Windows Server 2008
Windows 7[2]
Replaces Media Player

Windows Media Player (abbreviated WMP) is a proprietary digital media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices. Editions of Windows Media Player were also released for Mac OS, Mac OS X and Solaris but development of these has since been discontinued.

In addition to being a media player, Windows Media Player includes the ability to rip music from and copy music to compact discs, build Audio CDs in recordable discs and synchronize content with a digital audio player (MP3 player) or other mobile devices, and enables users to purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores.

Windows Media Player replaced an earlier piece of software called Media Player, adding features beyond simple video or audio playback.

Windows Media Player 12 is the most recent version of Windows Media Player as of October 2009. It was released on October 22, 2009 along with Windows 7 and has not been released for previous versions of Windows.[3]

Windows Media Player 11 is available for Windows XP and included in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The default file formats are Windows Media Video (WMV), Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Advanced Systems Format (ASF), and supports its own XML based playlist format called Windows Playlist (WPL). The player is also able to utilize a digital rights management service in the form of Windows Media DRM.



ActiveMovie was the immediate ancestor of Windows Media Player.

Microsoft Windows has had a media player since 1991, when Windows 3.0 with MultiMedia Extensions was released.[4] This version of Windows, which was included with "Multimedia PC"-compatible machines but not available for retail sale, included the Media Player application, was capable of playing .mmm animation files, and could be extended to support other formats.[5] It used MCI to handle media files. In November of the following year, Video for Windows was introduced with the ability to play digital video files in an AVI container format,[6] with codec support for RLE and Video1, and support for playing uncompressed files. Indeo 3.2 was added in a later release. Video for Windows was first available as a free add-on to Windows 3.1, and later integrated into Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0.

In 1996 Microsoft released ActiveMovie, a replacement for Video for Windows that incorporates a new way of dealing with media files, and adds support for streaming media (which the original Media Player couldn't handle).[7]

ActiveMovie was renamed to DirectShow in 1996,[8] and a new Media Player was created, known internally as Media Player 2.[citation needed]

Version 6.4 was included with Windows Me, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, but was dropped in Windows Vista.

There was another large revamp in Windows Media Player version 7, with the release of Windows Me, with a new user interface, visualizations and increased functionality. WMP7 came with the WMA and WMV codecs.


Windows Media Player 11 running in mini mode(in Windows XP MCE) showing a visualization.
  • Allows the user to connect, share and sync data with portable handheld devices and game consoles. Media can be optionally transcoded to a format better suited for the target device, automatically, when synchronizing.
  • Playback of audio, video and pictures, along with fast forward, reverse, seek and time compression and dilation.
  • Supports local playback, streaming playback and progressive downloads.
  • Support for any media codec and container format using specific DirectShow filters.
  • Full media management, via the integrated media library, which offers cataloguing and searching of media. Media can be arranged according to album, artist, genre, date et al..
  • Video Smoothing which upscales frame-rate by interpolating added frames, in effect giving a smoother playback on low-framerate videos.
  • Includes a 10-band graphic equalizer and SRS WOW audio post-processing system. Windows Media Player can also have attached plug-ins which process the output audio or video data.
Windows Media Player 11 running in mini mode in Windows Vista and Windows XP.
  • Features a taskbar-mounted Mini mode in which the most common media control buttons are presented as a toolbar on the Windows taskbar. Flyout windows can display media information, the active visualization or the video being played back.
  • Can use video overlays or VMR surfaces, if the video card supports them. In Windows XP, it uses VMR7 by default, but can also be made to use the more advanced YUV mixing mode by enabling the "Use high quality mode" option in Advanced Performance settings. This turns on deinterlacing, scaling and improved color accuracy.[9]
  • Version 11 introduced improved support for DirectX accelerated decoding of WMV video (DXVA decoding)
  • Features integrated CD-burning support for audio as well as data CDs. Data CDs can have any of the media formats supported by the player. While burning Data CDs, the media can, optionally, be transcoded into WMA format.
  • Audio CDs can be ripped as WMA or WMA 10 Pro at 48, 64, 96, 128, 160 and 192 kbit/s, WMA lossless (470 to 940 kbit/s), WMA variable bitrate (from 40-75 kbit/s up to 240-355 kbit/s), MP3 at 128, 192, 256 and 320 kbit/s, or uncompressed WAV. 24 bit high-resolution CDs are also supported, if capable audio hardware is present.
  • Information on CDs such as album name, artist and track listings can optionally be automatically downloaded from the Microsoft Windows Media Database when the CD is inserted.
  • Includes intrinsic support for Windows Media codecs which support multichannel audio at up to 24-bit 192 kHz resolution.
  • Can play files in WMA, WAV or MP3 media formats. However, it will not play MP3 files that contain compressed ID3 headers ("tags"); trying to do so results in a "The input media file is invalid" error message.
  • Supports subtitles and closed-captioning, if present in the media.
  • Features "Synchronized Lyrics", by which different lines of lyrics can be time-stamped, so that they display only at those times.
  • Windows Explorer shell integration to add files and playlist to the Now Playing and other playlists can be controlled from the Windows Explorer shell itself, via right-click menu.
  • Provides an embeddedable ActiveX control for Internet Explorer so that developers can play Windows Media on web pages.
  • A fully featured tag editor was featured in versions 8-11 of WMP, called the Advanced Tag Editor. However, the feature was not present in the latest preview version of Windows Media Player 12.

Features new to Windows Media Player 11

Windows Media Player 11 features many changes. The Media Library no longer presents the media items (such as albums and artists) in a tree-based listing. Rather, on selecting the category in the left panel, the contents will appear on the right, in a graphical manner with thumbnails featuring album art or other art depicting the item—a departure from textual presentation of information. Missing album art can be added directly to the placeholders in the Library itself (though the program re-renders all album art imported this way into 1x1 pixel ratio, 200x200 resolution jpegs). Views for Music, Pictures, Video and Recorded TV are separate and can be chosen individually from the navigation bar. Entries for Pictures and Video show their thumbnails. Windows Media Player 11 also includes the Windows Media Format 11 runtime which adds low bitrate support (below 128 kbit/s for WMA Pro), support for ripping music to WMA Pro 10 and updates the original WMA to version 9.2. Other features:

  • Stacking - Stacking allows graphical representations of how many albums there are in a specific category or folder. The more items there are, the larger the pile or stack is.
  • Instant Search - Searches and displays results as characters are being entered, without waiting for Enter key to be hit. Results are refined based on further characters that are typed.
  • CD Burning - CD Burning now shows a graphical bar showing how much space will be used on the disc.
  • Global Status - Global status shows a broad overview of what the player is doing. The information presented includes status information regarding buffering, ripping, burning and synchronization.
  • Improved synchronization features for loading content onto PlaysForSure-compatible portable players. WMP 11 supports reverse-synchronization, by which media present on the portable device can be replicated back to the PC.
  • Support for ripping audio CDs to WAV format.
  • Integrated web-browsing support to browse online music stores.
  • Disc spanning splits a burn list onto multiple discs in case the content does not fit on one disc.

Removed features and bugs

  • On Windows XP by default, Windows Media Connect 2.0 does not work after Windows Media Player 11 has been installed. Windows Media Player 11 includes the UPnP AV server for sharing media across the network which replaces similar functionality in Windows Media Connect, however it does not include the client, unlike Windows Media Connect.[10]
  • On Windows Vista the ability to remove or reinstall Windows Media Player 11 has been removed, as it is integrated with the operating system. This forces users with bugs to either reinstall Vista or find help.
  • The License Management tool available in prior versions of Windows Media Player has been removed since version 11. This prevents users of music download services from directly using Windows Media Player to back up their licenses and restore them to another computer. The user now must depend on the download service being able to assist with re-acquiring that license. Not all services support this so in some circumstances the user could lose the ability to play media which they've purchased for use with Windows Media Player 11. e.g. Walmart states: "Important Note: In many cases, we cannot replace song and license files if they are lost. We strongly suggest you back up your music by creating an audio CD or CDs using Windows Media Player 11" [11][12]
  • It is not possible to change the media player's background to black. Instead, the background is a near-white shade of the color chosen in the color chooser.
  • The Quick Access Menu, which enabled browsing the library via a pop-up menu, has been removed. As a result of this, the library cannot be browsed when the player is in toolbar mode.
  • In previous versions of Windows Media Player, the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl + I" could be used to capture the frame of video being displayed at the time the shortcut was initiated. This feature was removed for Windows Media Player 11.
  • On Windows XP unlike previous Windows Media Player installers, Windows Media Player 11 tries to validate the copy of Windows as genuine. It will not install if the copy of Windows XP is not.
  • The HighMAT burning capability integrated into Windows Media Player 10 is not available in Windows Media Player 11.

Other versions

Microsoft has also released versions of Windows Media Player for other platforms including Windows Mobile, Mac OS, Mac OS X, Palm-size PC, Handheld PC, and Solaris. Of these, only the Windows Mobile edition continues to be actively developed and supported by Microsoft. Version 1 of the Zune software was also based on Windows Media Player, later versions are not.

Windows Mobile

Windows Media Player 10.3 Mobile on a Windows Mobile Professional device

Windows Media Player for Pocket PC was first announced on January 6, 2000, and has been revised on a schedule roughly similar to that of the Windows version.[13] Currently known as "Media Player 10 Mobile", this edition (released in October 2004) closely resembles the capabilities of the Windows version of WMP 10, including playlist capabilities, a media library, album art, WMA Lossless playback, support for DRM-protected media, video playback at 640x480 with stereo sound, and the same Energy Blue interface aesthetics also seen in recent versions of Windows XP Media Center Edition. It also supports synchronization with the desktop version of WMP 10, and additionally supports synchronizing and transcoding of recorded television shows from Media Center. Media Player 10 Mobile is not available as a download from Microsoft; distribution is done solely through OEM partners, and is typically included on devices based on Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile 6 includes a copy of Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, but with a similar (but not quite identical) theme as Windows Media Player 11.

Mac OS X

Windows Media Player 9 for Mac OS X

Version 9 was the final version of Windows Media Player to be released for Mac OS X before development was cancelled by Microsoft. WMP for Mac OS X received widespread criticism from Mac users due to poor performance and features. Developed by the Windows Media team at Microsoft instead of the Macintosh Business Unit and released in 2003, on release the application lacked many basic features that were found in other media players such as Apple's iTunes and QuickTime.[citation needed] It also lacked support for many media formats that version 9 of the Windows counterpart supported on release 10 months earlier.

The Mac version supported only Windows Media encoded media (up to version 9) enclosed in the ASF format, lacking support for all other formats such as MP4, MPEG, and Microsoft's own AVI format. On the user interface front, it did not prevent screensavers from running during playback, it did not support file drag-and-drop, nor did it support playlists. While Windows Media Player 9 had added support for some files that use the WMV9 codec (also known as the WMV3 codec by the FourCC), in other aspects it was seen as having degraded in features from previous versions.

On January 12, 2006 Microsoft announced it had ceased development of Windows Media Player for Mac.[14] Microsoft now distributes a third-party plugin called WMV Player (produced and maintained by Flip4Mac) which allows some forms of Windows Media to be played within Apple's QuickTime player and other QuickTime-aware applications.[15]

Release history

Version Original release Latest build Operating system compatibility Codename
Microsoft Windows
Windows Media Player 12 October 22, 2009 12.0.7600.16415 Windows 7
Windows Media Player 11 October 30, 2006 11.0.6002.18111 (Vista)
11.0.5721.5268 (XP)
Windows Server 2008
Windows Vista
Windows XP SP2 & SP3
Aurora (Vista)
Polaris (XP)
Windows Media Player 10 October 12, 2004 Windows Server 2003 SP2
Windows XP
Crescent [16]
Windows Media Player 9 Series January 27, 2003 (XP) (2000)
Windows XP
Windows Me
Windows 2000
Windows 98 SE
Windows Media Player for Windows XP
(Version 8)
October 25, 2001 Windows XP
Windows Media Player 7.1 May 16, 2001 7.1 Windows Me
Windows 2000
Windows 98
Windows Media Player 7.0 July 17, 2000 (2000, 98 and 95)[17]
September 14, 2000 (Me)
7.0 Windows Me
Windows 2000
Windows 98
Windows 95
Windows Media Player 6.4
(mplayer2 for XP and 2000)
November 22, 1999 (XP) (2000)
Windows XP
Windows 2000
Windows 98
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 95
Windows Media Player 6.1 June 25, 1998 Windows 98
Windows 95
Windows CE/Windows Mobile
Windows Media Player 10.3 Mobile February 12, 2007 (6) Windows Mobile 6.1
Windows Mobile 6
Windows Mobile 5
Windows Media Player 10.2 Mobile Windows Mobile 5.0
Windows Media Player 10.1 Mobile May 10, 2005 Windows Mobile 5.0
Windows Media Player 10 Mobile October 12, 2004 Windows Mobile 2003 SE
Windows Media Player 9.0.1 March 24, 2004 Windows Mobile 2003 SE
Windows Media Player 9 Series June 23, 2003 Windows Mobile 2003 Corona
Windows Media Player 8.5 October 11, 2002 Pocket PC 2002
Windows Media Player 8.01 July 2002 Pocket PC 2002
Windows Media Player 8 October 4, 2001 (Pocket PC)
December 5, 2001 (Smartphone)
Pocket PC 2002
Smartphone 2002
Windows Media Player 7.1 May 21, 2001 Pocket PC 2000
Windows Media Player 7 December 12, 2000 Pocket PC 2000
Windows Media Player 1.2 September 7, 2000 Handheld PC 2000
Windows Media Player 1.1 Palm-size PC CE 2.11
Windows Media Player April 19, 2000 Pocket PC 2000
Mac OS
Windows Media Player 9 Series November 7, 2003 Mac OS X Corona
Windows Media Player 7 July 24, 2001 7.0.1 Mac OS 9
Mac OS 8
Windows Media Player 6.3 July 17, 2000 Mac OS 8
Mac OS 7
Windows Media Player 6.3 July 17, 2000 Solaris

European Commission case

In March 2004, the European Commission in the European Union Microsoft antitrust case fined Microsoft €497 million and ordered the company to provide a version of Windows without Windows Media Player, claiming Microsoft "broke European Union competition law by leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems onto the markets for work group server operating systems and for media players". The company has made available a compliant version of its flagship operating system under the negotiated name "Windows XP N", though the product has not been very successful.[18] Windows Vista and Windows 7 are also available in "N" editions. Still, with these editions it is possible to either install Windows Media Player (XP/Vista)[19] or the Media Restore Pack through Windows Update (Vista) to gain the media player functionality back and forth.

See also


  1. ^ a b Except for "N" and "KN" editions of Windows XP and Windows Vista.
  2. ^ Except for "N" editions of Windows 7.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Windows Version History (MSKB32905)". Knowledge Base. Microsoft. July 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  5. ^ "Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions". Toasty Tech. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  6. ^ "Video for Windows". PC Tech Guide. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "DirectShow: Core Media Technology in Windows XP Empowers You to Create Custom Audio/Video Processing Components". MSDN Magazine. Microsoft. July 2002. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  9. ^ Windows Media Player 10 additional documentation
  10. ^ Windows Media Connect Practical Overview
  11. ^ " - Music Downloads". Walmart. January 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  12. ^ "Backing up and restoring licenses". Microsoft. November 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Microsoft Unveils Windows Media Player for Palm-Size and Pocket PCs". Microsoft PressPass. Microsoft. January 6, 2000. Retrieved 2006-05-14. 
  14. ^ Fried, Ina (2006-01-12). "Music stops for Mac Windows Media Player". CNET. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  15. ^ "Windows Media Components for QuickTime". Microsoft. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  16. ^ Media Transfer Protocol presentation
  17. ^
  18. ^ Marson, Ingrid (2005-11-18). "Still 'no demand' for media-player-free Windows". CNET. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  19. ^ Microsoft. Download Center. "be used to restore Windows Media Player and related technologies to N and KN editions of Windows Vista." Retrieved 2008-07-26

External links

Simple English

Windows Media Player is a digital media player made by Microsoft. It is already installed on Microsoft Windows operating systems, and an older version is available for some Apple Macintosh operating systems. The program allows people to watch certain video files and play music files that are in a compatible format. How the program looks can also be changed with skins, and it can be made small enough to fit on the taskbar.

Other websites


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