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What are wmpnscfg.exe and wmpnetwk.exe and Why Are They Running?

So you’ve been going through Task Manager trying to figure out why so many services are running when you notice there’s two items for Windows Media Player in the list… but you don’t even use Media Player. What’s up with that?

It’s not like the processes take a lot of memory… I just get irritated when there’s a process that restarts for no good reason. You disable it, and then somehow it’s back. Annoying!

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What Is This Service Anyway?

Windows Media Player 11 can share media between different computers on the same network, and can even share media with the XBox 360 as well. For this to work, there’s a network sharing service that shares the library even if Media Player isn’t open. It’s really a great system if you use it.

Both of these processes are part of the Windows Media Player Sharing system, so if you use those features you should not disable it.

Disabling Media Sharing in Media Player

The best way to remove these services is to just use the configuration panel… that way they don’t come back the next time Media Player gets opened, accidentally or otherwise.

Open up Windows Media Player, and then click on the little arrow under “Library” and choose the “Media Sharing” option from the menu.

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If you are using a custom theme, or otherwise can’t get to that menu, you can also open the Options panel, choose the Library tab, and then click on “Configure Sharing”

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Either one of the above will bring you to the Media Sharing dialog. Uncheck both of the boxes that you see here.

Note: If they are unchecked, you should check them, click apply, and then uncheck them and click OK… basically to reset the settings.

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Once you hit the OK button, you’ll be prompted with an extremely important dialog… do you want to turn sharing off for everybody? Yes!

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This will actually turn off the service, and remove the startup entry for wmpnscfg.exe. (Note that you’ll have to kill that process manually the first time, or log off and back on)

At this point you should be able to use your computer without either of those two processes running. If you continue to have problems getting rid of them, you can read down further for more troubleshooting steps.

Disabling Media Player Network Sharing Service in Services

You shouldn’t actually need to do this part, as using the configuration instructions above should work… but if you are having problems getting rid of it, here’s where you need to go.

Open up Services from Control Panel, or type services.msc into the start menu search/run box. Find the service in the list:

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Open it up by double-clicking on it, and then change the service to Disabled.

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One note here… If you try to re-enable Media Sharing in Media Player, it will ignore the fact that it’s disabled. This is why you need to make the configuration change there as well.

Alternative Methods using Regedit

If you are still having issues, you can do some further checking to make sure that the two services won’t be re-enabled again. Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences\HME

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There should be a DWORD value on the right-hand side named DisableDiscovery which you can set to a value of 2 (setting it to 1 also worked for me). Just make sure that it’s not set to 0.

To make sure that the wmpnscfg.exe is turned off, you can browse down to the following key in the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

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This is where Windows turns that application on… if there’s an item for it in this list, then delete it.

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 03/12/08

Comments (40)

  1. Benman

    Once again, an excellent article.

    The media sharing features on XP are limited – I dont think you can see other people’s collections unless you are on Vista.

  2. rothgar

    It can also share videos/pictures/music with the PS3 :)

  3. echoniner

    Benman, I was just wondering that.. I’m in a debate as to whether I can’t see shared libraries because I’m on xp or because both the sharing desktops are on a domain.. I’ve been fiddling with this for some time with no conclusive solution.

  4. boe

    I’ve been playing with Vista for a year now and still wouldn’t want it on a production box. I just hope someone finds a way of disabling the runslow.exe and slug.dll without having to install it on an 8 core 4ghz OC unit with 16 GB of RAM and a memory HD.

  5. The Geek

    @echoniner

    Accessing shared libraries is a feature only available on the Vista version. I remember researching that a while back, but I can’t seem to find the link to the official MS document on the subject.

  6. Kenneth

    Thank you for providing such a helpful website, it’s very nice of you!

  7. Paul

    I actually want to run Media Sharing on my WindowsXP machine so I can access my media through my Xbox360 but the wmpnetwk.exe process consumes 100% CPU, any ideas on solving that?

  8. Kirk

    Paul,
    Use TVersity. I share all my .avi videos and mp3’s with it.

  9. HitmanUKR

    thanks man

  10. DownTheShore

    Thanks for the clear and concise instructions. I’ve got only one computer, no Xbox or anything else, and the program was always trying to get rights to connect to MS through my firewall.

  11. CS

    Thanks! Very useful and easy to follow :)

  12. Jeremiah

    Thanks for the How TO. I dont network and dont share any files on my computer (security risk and all) and got sick and tired of those two processes popping up. Honestly those two settings should defualt OFF in the first place =( Does anyone in Bill’s employment bother to consider security anymore?

  13. Chris

    Great advice. Well organized and clearly illustrated. I am now wondering how it go turned on *shifty eyes*

  14. Carl

    Good site. Got here via Processor Explorer|Right Click Ap|Google!

    Greatest thing since peanut butter!!

    Keep up the good work!!!

  15. john

    What do you use to make your screenshots?

  16. Casuallyquality

    The real fix for getting this to never start is to takeown the file then icacls and grant administrators rights. Then find the file at “your drive:\programfiles\windowsmediaplayer\wmpnscfg” . Right click the file then go to properties then go to security then modify the user account to full control then hit OK.After you get the dialog boxes to close right click the file again and rename the file with .bak at the end. It will not bother you again :) I actually had to acquire this tool to get the command prompt to find the file as it was ?mysteriously? hidden. The tool is at http://www.randyrants.com/2007/02/vista_tip_eleva.html . After you’ve downloaded the thing restart then go to “your drive:\programfiles\windowsmediaplayer” and right click windows media player and open elevated command prompt. Type “takeown /f wmpnscfg.exe” then hit enter. Type “icacls wmpnscfg.exe /grant administrators:F” then hit enter. After this you can rename the file so it won’t start. The same fix works for mfpmp.exe if you don’t have wmp files or purchased music.

  17. Jack

    I have been dealing with the 100% cpu usage from wmpnetwk.exe. I disabled the ‘windows media player sharing service’. This of course solved the problem. Except that I use this computer to stream media to a DLink media box. Restored computer to month old backup. wmpnetwk.exe still ran at 100%. Reinstalling WMP11 did not help. I knew that my computer worked good at the time of the backup a month ago. Heres what I found. I have Roxio Media Creator. Roxio also has software that scans for new media on the computer. After uninstalling Roxio I am back to watching movies served up by the WMP11 media sharing service.

  18. Cazimir

    thanks, that helped!

  19. Kent

    This one works for me. Thanks.

  20. George

    I have very little experience using PC’s, especially when it comes to configurations and tweaks to speed the machine up.
    So comming across Howtogeek on a random Google search has been a godsend.
    The owner / main contributor to this site is marvelous.
    I just wish I had half the knowledge you guy’s share.

    Thanks for the online assitance.

    George East Ham.

  21. Tyler

    Thanks for the info.

  22. Emily

    You will have a special place in heaven for helping the pc idiots like me

  23. Chris

    Perfect! Just what I was needing. Thanks very much. I’ll return & refer

  24. JimJohnson

    Love this site! Thanks!

  25. JC

    I came across your website while doing a search on customizing Safari Browser. I appreciate the valuable tips to curtail Windows XP from going haywire.

  26. Ricard0k

    Thanks this helped a lot…i disabled it and now my computer is working smoothly!

  27. Kees

    Finally!!

    I tackled my problem thanks to your site. I really happy and pc runs smoothly!

    (Vista Ultimate 64x)

  28. Tony Patriarche

    I don’t know about Vista, but on my XP this service was eating up huge amounts of resources. I don’t _want_ my music shared acroos the network; I put items on different computers for a reason. I’ll check my Vista computers … WMP just generally is as friendly as a Great Dane that thinks it’s a lapdog.

  29. Izzy

    I see the most recent entry is over a year old, but here’s my two-cents worth. First, I had to laugh at Boe’s comment about Vista: ” I just hope someone finds a way of disabling the runslow.exe and slug.dll ” Amen!

    I have Windows Vista Home Basic 32-bit, 1G RAM, 8G HardDrive. I am one of the rare ones who actually likes it (yes, I used XP for a few years).

    Since the latest WMP upgrade, wmpnscfg.exe kept forcing itself into my Startup menu, and even after deleting it from there, it kept coming back in Processes in Task Manager.

    Anyway, on some of the other sites that came up when I Googled wmpnscfg.exe, many people complained that wmpnscfg.exe was making their CPU run 100%. I was having that problem, too, so I followed your advice above (THANK YOU!!!), but still had the high CPU usage problem. On one of the other sites about wmpnscfg.exe, which I can’t find now, one commenter noted the same problem and said that it was resolved by uninstalling the Roxio CD/DVD suite (something to do with Roxio constantly seeking new media). BINGO! I uninstalled all the Roxio components and my Vista has been purring along beautifully ever since. Thanks again, HTG!

  30. Izzy

    RE: MY PREVIOUS COMMENT –

    Oh! It was Jack who made the comment about Roxio, on THIS page, on Oct. 7, 2008. So THANK YOU, JACK!

  31. dinesh

    Hi Geek, how to disable media sharing option in WMP12? I tried to follow the tutorial in my Win 7 pc but as it has WMP12, the options are not similar.

  32. Pierrot

    Very very helpful ! Thank you ^^

  33. SuperFreak

    Please! We need WMP12 instructions!

  34. Rick

    Guys, just use the Services that “TheGeek” used to disable WMP12. It works find for me. The snap shot is one way, the services is another and finally the registry. Just go in Services, disable Windows Media Player Network Sharing Services.

  35. Aljris

    Thank you very much for the helpfully informations, i was suffering from pc performance and now it’s solved, thanks and best regards,

  36. Fred

    Thanks a lot for the guide, I was wondering where this annoyance was coming from. I completely overlooked trying the configuration panel in Media Player – but lo and behold the solution was right under my nose! Thanks again and keep up the excellent work :-)

  37. helmer naylor

    HOLA

  38. Justin

    You should update this article, Windows 7 is now calling this annoying thing “Media Streaming”; I accidentally activated it trying to network Windows 7 notebook with Ubuntu 10.10 desktop.

  39. idaintme

    nice

  40. rayang

    hey, what a great job, i try to remove these in a lot of ways and nothing helps but this works perfect, many many thx :)

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