How To Use Windows Media Player To Categorize, Organize, and Playback Your Favorite Music and Video Files

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Windows Media Player is often overlooked as a decent media player. It’s a free software program available to any user who is looking to play back and manage their music and video collections. This blog will provide an overview of how Windows Media Player works and how you can start using Microsoft’s free media player application normally installed by default with the version of Windows being used.


Overview

The following illustration shows what Windows media Player looks like on my machine. I tweaked the image to add reference arrows so that each section can be described in greater detail within the following sections.

Figure 1.1 - Windows Media Player Main Program Window
Figure 1.1 – Windows Media Player Main Program Window
1 Now playing view in Windows Media Player The Now Playing sections provides tools for playing back your favorite music and video files. You can also create new playlists, or add to exisiting playlists through this interface.
2 Library view in Windows Media Player The library view provides an interface for managing and playing back your favorite music and video files. Organize, categorize, and rate all your favorite songs and movies. Easily create playlists containing your favorite music.
3 Rip view in Windows Media Player The Rip interface allows you to rip an audio CD into WMA format or MP3 format (pending you have the right software codec installed). Ripping is restricted to the WMA format only and you will need to purchase a separate MP3 encoder to record directly into Mp3 format.
4 Burn view in Windows Media Player The Burn interface allows you to burn audio cds containing your favorite music files.
5 Sync view in Windows Media Player The Sync tab provides options for syncing music and video files to portable devices such as MP3 Players, Portable Video Players, and iPods.
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The Now Playing Interface In Windows Media Player

This is the main interface in Windows Media Player in which you control how your music is played back. You can create new playlists that contain your favorite tracks, and you can pause, rewind, skip between tracks, and adjust the volume levels on your PC.

Figure 1.2 - The Windows Media Player Now Playing Interface
Figure 1.2 – The Windows Media Player Now Playing Interface

To Add Files To The Now Playing List you will need to drag and drop files from within Windows Explorer or another file manager.

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Explanation Of Toolbar Commands

Figure 1.3 - The Toolbar in Windows Media Player Now Playing Interface.
Figure 1.3 – The Toolbar in Windows Media Player Now Playing Interface.

Turn Shuffle On

Turns shuffle mode on. Shuffle is a play mode where tracks are played in random order.

Turn Repeat On

Turns repeat mode on. Repeat mode is a play mode where a track is played repeatedly.

Stop Playback

Stops the current playback.

Previous Track

Starts playing back the previous file. Holding down the button causes the toolbar to rewind the current track.

Next Track

Starts playing the next track in the playlist. Holding down the button causes the toolbar to fast forward the current track.

Volume Control

Controls the volume level of the playback. Drag the slider left to decrease the volume level; drag the slider right to increase the volume level.

Expand To Full Mode

Expands the interface into Full Mode.

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Library Editor View In Windows Media Player

The following illustration shows what Windows media Player looks like on my machine in Library Editor view.

Figure 1.3 - Windows Media Player Library Editor View
Figure 1.3 – Windows Media Player Library Editor View

To play a file in your library:

  1. Click the Library tab, and then browse or search for the item that you want to play.If the library doesn’t display the media type you are looking for (for example, it shows your music but you want to see your videos instead), on the address bar, click the Select a category button , and then click a different category.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Drag an item to the List pane.You can drag individual items (such as one or more songs) or collections of items (such as one or more albums, artists, genres, years, or ratings) to the List pane.If the List pane is not visible, click the Show List pane button near the search box.If the List pane already contains other items, you can clear the contents by clicking the Clear List pane button .
    • Double-click the item to begin playing it.Depending upon what you double-click, several items might be played. To play a single item, drag the item to List pane instead.
      • If the Player can’t play a particular file, the issue may be related to media usage rights.
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Play a CD or DVD

Using Windows Media Player, you can play audio CDs or data CDs that contain music or video files (also known as media CDs) and video CDs (VCDs). VCDs are similar to DVDs, although the video quality is not as high.

To play DVDs, you must have a DVD drive and a compatible DVD decoder installed on your computer. If you encounter an error that indicates that you are missing a DVD decoder, click Web Help on the error message dialog box to determine how to obtain one.

To play a CD or DVD

  1. Start the Player and insert the CD or DVD you want to play into the drive. Typically, the disc will start playing. If it doesn’t, or if you want to select a disc that is already inserted, click the arrow below the Now Playing tab, and then click the drive that contains the disc.
  2. For a DVD or VCD, do the following, if appropriate:
  3. In the List pane, click a DVD title or chapter name.
  4. In the List pane, double-click a VCD segment.To skip songs when playing a CD
  5. You can skip songs that you do not like when playing a CD. To skip a song, do the following:

Click the Now Playing tab.

  • Click the Next button while the song is playing. The song will be skipped and become dimmed in the playlist. If repeat is turned on, the song will not be played during that playback session. If you accidentally skip a song you’d like to hear, double-click the song in the playlist. It will be played immediately and won’t be skipped anymore.

Congratulations! You now have a basic understanding of how the Windows Media Player program interface looks and operates.

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