How to Set Up Your Windows 8 DLNA Media Server

Windows 8 DLNA Media Server

The quickest way to set up a Windows 8 DLNA Media Server is to use the one that comes with Windows 8. By default, all the music that you load in the “My Music”, “My Pictures”, and “My Videos” folders gets added to your PC’s media library. In order to share media over your home network, you should put the media you want to share in the “Shared Music”, “Shared Pictures” and “Shared Videos” folders. They will still be part of your local library and fully accessible from your PC but will also be available to anyone on your network. If you want to see how its done read this TopNetTricks How-To article.

How It’s Done

Putting media in the correct folders is simply a matter of using Windows Explorer and moving the files to those folders. You can see from the screen below that each of the media libraries contains a “My” folder and a “Shared” folder. When you set up Media sharing the entire library (both “My” and “Shared” folders) will become visible to media players.


1 Enabling DLNA Media Server Function in Windows Media Player

It is not necessary to have a Homegroup configured to use the Windows 8 DLNA Media Server. But you must have Windows Media Player correctly set up.

From the “Stream” menu.


Select  “Turn on media streaming”, and press the “Turn on media streaming button”.


You will then be prompted with a list of DLNA devices that Windows has found on your network. Select the one you want to share with and then “OK”

2 Allowing DLNA Media Players to Access Your Media

You want to be a bit careful here about selecting “Allow All”. This will allow people at the office or at the local coffee shop to browse your library, including personal photos you may have. Likewise, the Windows Media Player has an option under “Stream” to “Automatically allow devices to play my media…” which has the same effect. Be careful if you decide to use this option on a laptop computer that you use outside the home.

3 Setting Up the DLNA Media Client in Windows Media Player

First you need to make sure that the player PC is on the same network as the media server. Now if you go to another windows PC and call up Windows Media Player, you should be able to see, in the left column, under “Other Libraries”, the shared Library that you just set up. You may have to right click “Other Libraries” and select “Refresh” if you don’t see the content right away.

Notice that the shared content that you can see from the Windows 8 DLNA Media Server is the combination of “My Music” and “Public Music”. As well, both “My Pictures” and “Public Pictures” are shared by default. This may not be what you want. You can control what gets shared in Windows Media Player under “Organize”, “Manage Libraries”, and “Pictures”. You can remove the “My Pictures” Folder from the list, or specify a different folder.

DLNA Media Server Security (or lack of it)

Keep in mind that Windows 8 DLNA Media Server does not have any access control (fancy word meaning security). It has no logins and no permissions. So whatever you make available through your DLNA server is visible to everyone. a Windows 8 DLNA Media Server is great around the house but you should be wary if you use it on shared or public networks. It is best to use the Media Streaming Options screen to control who you want to share with if you plan on using that computer outside the home.

Free DLNA Media Server Downloads

For a complete list of free media server software for Windows and reviews see Top Free Windows DLNA Media Server Downloads.

To know if your home network is media ready read these posts: How to build a high-speed media network and How to test the speed of your home network.

Article Name
How to Set Up Your Windows 8 DLNA Media Server
Built-in media server comes with Windows 8. How to configure Windows Media Player as a DLNA media server. No software to download. Your PC is ready in minutes.
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  1. Brad Ashforth says

    I found a problem that you may want to add to this page. Admittedly I misread some of the text, but the part that mentions putting the videos you want the DLNA server to share into the PUBLIC VIDEOS folder caused a problem because it assumes that everything you want to share can fit on the C: drive. Those of us who have chosen to use an SSD for the OS and major apps have/will find that there won’t be enough room. It is only further down do you read that it can be in either folder. Even then, it should also mention that you can add media from other drives to the library too. Thanks!

    • Axel says

      It is possible to “change” from where the public library from by right clicking the tab select Properties then select public videos and set save location then you pick any folder you want it to be even on a different hard disk

  2. Andre Roberge says

    You’re right, thanks for pointing that out. Any folder can be included in the shared library.

  3. Sia says


    I think putting folders in the existing default library and making a new library are two separate things. So I can´t understand from your procedure which method you used.
    Did you put the folder movie in your default library or you made a new library and you call it movie?
    I tried both methods. But the folder movie (or library movie) does not appear in the WMP!
    I tried that many times and I refreshed it and rearranged the navigator window several times but nothing helps!


    • Andre Roberge says

      If you create “Movies” inside the default folder then WMP will find it automatically. If, on the other hand, you create a new folder elsewhere then you need to tell WMP where to find it. Organize, Manage Libraries, Video, Add, and navigate to the new folder.
      You also have to realize that WMP doesn’t show “folders”, instead it treats all folders as a collection. Then it separates the collection into type: pictures, music, or video and presents the library by media type, not by folders. So you can’t navigate the library the same way you would navigate through folders.
      If, after all this, WMP still can’t see the media in the folder it’s either because the folder is empty or because the files in it are of a format that’s not supported by WMP. WMP is very limited in its supported file formats. According to Microsoft ( WMP12 doesn’t support .avi, .mkv, or .vob. Earlier versions are much more limited. You can see the list of what it does support at the link mentioned above. If you have an unsupported format you need to transcode it to one of the supported formats before playing it WMP can find it. There are open source (free) transcoders available for windows such as: Handbrake, WinFF, and MediaCoder.

      • Sia says

        Thanks for your response. I managed to make the movies folder in the default library and add the media files in it. I activated the streaming.
        My Smart TV is on the list of the WMP but the Smart TV doesn’t detect de media server !?

        • Andre Roberge says

          Things to check: 1) What type of SmartTV?, is it UPnP/DLNA compliant?, and 2) is UPnP enabled in your router? Also check: if you plug another media player or PC in the same connector as the SmartTV, does it see the server? Are you doing this over WiFi? It could be that the WiFi signal from the TV is too weak or there is some interference in the area.

      • olds97_lss says

        I’m using WMP currently with my vizio M701d-A3 TV. This is my first attempt at streaming to anything and it’s been a rough few days.

        I ripped a lot of my DVD’s so I could play them on my mobile devices, so the container was mp4 (and quality was low), which WMP can’t deal with, or at least my TV can’t deal with over DLNA.

        I’ve used an app to convert them all to an avi container using DivX for video codec and mp3 for audio. I am using WMP 12 to host them. It seems this is one of the few formats that the vizio can handle over dlna, which is odd, because it can handle the mp4’s directly if I use a usb. I have found it very difficult to find info out about this.

        I tried serviio which worked, but regardless of the container, it transcoded everything to mpeg2. For all I know, WMP12 is doing that as well, but I don’t know how to tell what it’s doing. I just know it’s laboring my PC much less than serviio did.

        • says

          The DLNA standard specifies which media formats must supported by all media players and servers to be DLNA certified. H.264/AVC/MPEG4 is on that list so neither WMP nor Serviio should be transcoding it and your TV should have no problem with it. DivX could be a problem because there are actually two DivX codecs. If you think that Serviio is transcoding, you can change its transcoding options. You should also look at the audio codecs, maybe that’s the problem. See here if you want to see a list of DLNA supported codecs.

          • olds97_lss says

            Thanks for the info. I did try shutting off transcoding of these mp4 files, but then my TV says the audio and vidio codecs are unknown.

            When I turned transcoding on, it was fairly slow and I was unable to fast forward or rewind.

            I uninstalled serviio and went back to manually converting all my files and using WMP12. Once I get my entire library recoded, I’ll try and encode one of the files in many codec/container combo’s and see what I can and can’t play on my TV via DLNA using WMP12. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find one that compresses better than what I’m using.

          • Andre Roberge says

            Before going ahead and recoding all your DVDs why don’t you try different media server software. You don’t want to stick with WMP, eventually the limitations will start to bother you (like lack of support for .mkv files). See here for the most complete list of downloadable media server software on the web.

  4. Kiran says

    Hello Andre, I have tried Windows 8 DLNA media server and found the subtitles of the movie is not streaming across to the TV. Is the any fix for the same ?

    • Andre Roberge says

      I can’t find any documentation at Microsoft’s site but I tried it and you seem to be right. WMP is missing a lot of features as a media server, it doesn’t even play .mkv files. It’s not much more than a toy. Go to this link if you want to download some free media servers for Windows: here.

  5. Alexz says

    Thanks for the article!..although I’m still having problems. I feel like there should be a really easy fix that I’m just not seeing.

    I’m new to all this so I hope this question isn’t really stupid.

    I’ve set everything up as described and am seeing my device under one of the DLNA slots on my smart TV, although navigating through the folders, none of my media is present.

    I’m still a little confused as to where in explorer my files need to be, in order to show up on the TV. The folders on the TV don’t match up with any of my folders in explorer (Network, HomeGroup, Libraries)..

    • Andre Roberge says

      You can put your media files anywhere as long as you remember to, in Media Player, “Organize”, “Manage Libraries”, select the media type, and the folder containing it. The othe problem you might have is with media types. Note that the library structure has nothing to do with the folder structure in Explorer. Also, WMP only supports a limited number of formats. See “Information about the Multimedia file types that Windows Media Player supports” for more information.

  6. Allen says

    I don’t know anything about WMP12, but in earlier versions of Media Player the library has to be refreshed to update. I have 2 separate drives with media on them and add new files to them daily. In order for the files to be recognized on my media players the library has to be updated. To update all you have to do is open Windows Media Player and it will start to update your library. If you haven’t opened it in a while then it may take awhile. It will show up down at the bottom on the right that it is updating and when it is complete it will indicate Update Complete. If you don’t look for it you may not see it, as when it is complete it will only indicate that for a few seconds then disappear.

  7. Farhan Iqbal says

    neeeeeed yoour help.
    Im screwed up and this is really frustrating. I have been trying to resolve this issue from online research, blogs etc. but still my problem exist. You seems to be the perfect expereinced guy for this solution.
    I bought sony bluray home theatre system. Model is Sony Blu – Ray Disc / DVD home theatre system BDV – E690.
    I have connected my bluray player with my DSL routher through ethernet cable. Internet is working fine on bluray player. I can watch videos on youtube.

    I want to access media files which are on my laptop which is connected to the same home network through wirelss connection.

    In manual they said you connect blueray with router and connect laptop with same network. You should see DLNA icon in sony bluray player’s home menu under picture, audio or video. but i cant see DLNA icon.

    Please help. How can I play my laptop movies on my bluray player.
    I turned on Media sharing in windows media players. turned on files sharing, network discovery in laptop., copied few files in public video folder.
    I can see my bluray player in list of devices in windows, laptop with which you can share files. allow access etc.
    When I check bluray play menu, in network diagonoses, tried registering remote media device but msg appeared there is not other remote media device on this network.
    Do i need to to install some DLNA media sharing software in laptop ? I am using windows 7 in laptop.
    Sumsung LED which is connected with Bluray player through HDMI cable.
    I googled it further, found out that firewall might be the possible reason for this. so I turned off my windows 7 firewall as well for home network. Still cant see my laptop in bluray network server list :(. I am using D link router. I checked the setup page of router. There is one firewall button on the page with some tick marks. but i really dont know which options to tick and which options not.

    Please please please…help me.
    I think my laptop and my sony bluray player cant see or detect each other on the same network.
    Thank in advance

    • André Roberge says

      First, make sure that you are using Windows Media Player 11 or above and make sure that WMP is reading the right folders (Organize/Manage Libraries/Music). Make sure that you have turned on media streaming: Control Panel\Network and Internet/Network and Sharing Center/Mediastreaming options. And make sure that WMP is allowed to connect to this player (which should be default) by selecting the player from the list on the next screen.
      It’s very unlikely that your problem is with the router, network or firewall since your PC sees the player. It still is a good idea to keep the PC firewall off while troubleshooting.


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