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Learning Windows 7: Manage Your Music with Windows Media Player

If you’re moving from XP to Windows 7, you’ll notice that Windows Media Player 12 is a different than previous versions. Today we will take you through the process of managing your music collection in Windows 7 with Windows Media Player, and look at some of the new features.

Windows Media Player

If you want to keep music management simple, and not having to install extra software, using Window Media Player (WMP) will work just fine. In windows 7 it’s version 12 which is laid out differently, and has more options than previous versions you might be used to. It is a full-featured media player that will let you play music, rip and burn CD’s, copy, tag, rate, organize, and manage most of your media files. The first time you launch WMP, the easiest way to get it rolling is to go with the Recommended Settings. This will make it your default program for all of your music and video. If you’re more experienced, you can certainly use custom settings, but Recommended Settings is easy, and you can change settings at a later time.

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After choosing Recommended Settings and clicking Finish, the player opens up showing a list of a few sample music selections.

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Play and Rip a Music CD

There are several ways to accomplish the same task in WMP, but here we will take a look at a series of steps that will allow you to listen to a CD and Rip it to your library as well. To play a CD just pop it in the drive and WMP will read the data, present the songs, and provide cover art. You can control the playback and volume from the controls on the bottom.

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Hover over the WMP app launcher on the Taskbar and you can easily control playback.

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Click on the Now Playing icon in the corner of WMP to switch to switch to see the album or song playing.

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You can resize it and still control playback and access other options. From the Now Playing mode you can click on the icon to Rip the CD into your library.

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This is a cool option because you can continue to listen to the CD while the ripping process completes. If you want to stop it for any reason just click on the Stop rip icon.

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If you want to see the progress of the ripping process, click on Switch to Library.

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The Library View opens and you can monitor the ripping process and manage other functions and features in the player.

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After the ripping process is complete, you will see the album and artwork in the Library and start rating songs.

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After ripping songs from CD you can find them in the My Music folder.

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Burn CD’s

Burning CD’s is a simple and straightforward process…just click on the Burn tab on the upper right side in Library view. Pop in a blank CD and drag the songs or album over that you want to burn.

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After you have the tracks you want to burn listed, click on the Start burn button.

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Burning progress is shown during the process and you can cancel the burn if you need to.

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Listen to Internet Radio

You can also listen to online radio stations with WMP. Just click on the Media Guide button to pull it up.

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Then at the top click on the Internet Radio Link.

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Then browse through different genres of music or search for specific stations that broadcast over the net.

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Sync your Portable Music Player

To put music on your portable music player, click on the Sync tab and plug in your mp3 player. Drag the tunes over that you want to add, then click on Start Sync. In this example we’re putting some music we just ripped onto a Creative Zen.

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Purchase Music

Through the Media Guide you can access different online stores to purchase your music from the Digital Media Mall.

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Stream Music

Another neat feature is being able to stream your music to other computers on your home network. Rather than get into the details here, head over to our article on how to Stream Media to Other Computers on a Home Network with Windows 7.

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Conclusion

This guide should get you started using Windows Media Player to handle your music needs. Again, there are many ways you can go about performing different tasks in WMP, and you’ll need to play around with it until you find what works for you. You can also use WMP to watch DVD’s and video files and we’ll take a look at that in a future post. If you want a quick and easy way to listen to music, Burn and Rip CD’s, and sync your portable media player, Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7 lets you get the job done without having to install any additional software.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/12/10

Comments (18)

  1. Bren

    I love this site even more. Clutch…..friggin’ awesome! ^_^

  2. jpmays

    Can one sync an iPod using WMP 12, or are we still tied to the friggin’ iTunes piece of crap bloatware? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Please out!

    /jp/

  3. toastisgood

    WMP i still highly consider as the best tool for managing a large music library. (and i mean huge!)
    For one the search performs miles faster than any other i have ever come across, which is invaluable.

  4. BigB

    There is 1 very simple, but intensely annoying thing about WMP12 (and previous versions) that not only keeps me from using it, but makes me uninstall it. It resizes all of your album art to 200×200 a flags it (folder.jpg) as h without asking, and with no apparent way to stop this behavior. The first time I saw thousands of my hi-res cover art images mangled… I was infuriated, since I had every Internet option or ‘fetch album art’ explicitly set to OFF. So I lost thousands of high quality cover images thanks to this junk. Besides, 200×200? What is this, 1990? Now I always make a copy of my art with an alt. name and set it as r, lest this thing ever go on a self-authorized rampage again. Does anyone here know how to *prevent*WMP from doing this, or touching my tags in general? I heard it won’t/can’t read id3v2.4, so that solves half… But what is the fix to *do NOT touch my folder.jpg files? Otherwise I will forever shun this program (regardless of positive features — this is a deal-kiler).

  5. cyndy

    I have an iPod 5th Generation with Video and I have no problems with getting the music to transfer, the only problem is you have to have iTunes with a card on-file, in order to get the Track Title info. and the art work. Yes it still sucks. I wish I had gotten a Creative Zen which Windows Media Player syncs automatically. Have a great day everyone.

  6. Andrea

    Why WMP don’t copy the music in a my preferite folder like Itunes?I hate have my music in one folder.

  7. Duke999R

    I’m with you BigB, the Album Art “feature” sux big time. As far as I know, there is no way to stop it.

  8. Jive Turkey

    +1 on the album art lameness.
    Also what’s up with the dumbed-down interface? Why did they disable being able to see the current playlist while viewing the library? And you can no longer navigate through your library by typing the name of the song/artist/album you’re looking for? I want the old WMP back D:

  9. warinpiece

    I’m quietly happy with WMP, but there are two things that bug me. The first problem (which has been in the past few versions of media player) is in Options, regarding the default option for deleting items from the library, which happens to be “Delete Items From Library And Computer”. I have lost music from my computer because of this setting, so everytime I upgrade Media Player, I have to make sure that option is not allowed.
    2nd problem: Win7 WMP12, when it starts up, it shows up as not responding and also takes a few seconds to show the library. After this happens, it otherwise plays as normal.

  10. Sparky W

    I have MP3 CD’s of old time radio shows that I want to download to my MP3 player. I put them in WMP and dragged and dropped. All went ok for the first few then everything locked up. Now I have a file that I can’t delete from WMP. I have tried everything even took it to a computer repair place and they said they couldn’t delete it either. I was told that the WMP was possibly corrupted now and I may need to remove WMP and reinstall. It is stopping me from transferring anything. My search has led me here. Help? How do I delete this file from WMP?

  11. james

    1. Why did Microsoft abandoned the tab interface from WMP11?
    Its really annoying to use the Library icon(upper left) and Now Playing Icon (lower left) just to switch Views.

    2. The skin in WMP11 is also very sleek (piano black). Now they turn it into dull green.

    Why not just improve on these very basic features? They have to turn everything around and call it “new”.

  12. Chrisie

    Im not getting this new WMP thinking of changing to itunes, the reason Im having problems is when i upgraded my vista to W7 I backed up all my music, then when W7 was loaded I added it all to “my Music” and set up so the default player is WMP.. None is showing in my WMP and there is a F5/F3 (cant remember which) to search and add files.. If anyone knows how please let me know before I give up..

  13. Alison

    My biggest complaint is the same as a previous poster – I don’t understand why the “Now Playing” selection doesn’t allow me to rate my songs, I have to be looking at the Library. But… if I’m looking at the Library it doesn’t automatically scroll to whichever song is playing currently, so I have to look through it in order to rate my songs. FAIL. I thought 12 was supposed to be *better* than previous versions but I just feel dumber after using it. Don’t even get me started on Media Center…

  14. Rove

    Hi there
    Hoping you can assist. I have just purchased a new HP laptop with Windows7 installed and wmp. I am trying to get my music collection onto the laptop (which in itself isn’t an issue) – because I am not using the original CD as a source, whenever I try to play something it is sending me to the online licensing page. Is there any way around this or do I have to painstakingly rebuild the collection on my laptop CD by CD and download by download?
    Anything you can offer to help would be greatly appreciated!!

    PS: I’m with Alison and feeling rather dumber….

    Cheers

  15. me

    I am still thinking you are so lamers DO NOT CALL YOURSELVES GEEK it is so important concept that you can not fit

  16. Samantha

    How can I organize and edit my music on my USB in window media

  17. the dudee

    wmp sux.. when you import more than .. like 200 gb it totally **** ‘s up (: Winamp ftw

  18. Marcus

    Only thing that bugs me is the media search isn’t there anymore so you have to manually put the music in the folder, and at the people that are bitching and moaning about the 200×200 cover art. I mean what the hell I’m pretty sure you don’t use wmp for art. If your so concerned about the art then stop downloading music and buy the album so you can stare at the cover because that’s what you seem to care about so much.

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