How to Fix Window Media Player Problems in Windows 8
WMP can be used as a streaming DLNA media server or as a media player for MP3 audio or video files. But sometimes its media library can get messed up. This post shows you how to rebuild the WMP media database to fix media library problems. WMP version 12 that comes with Windows 8 has an option from the menus to fix some problems. But sometimes you have to rebuild the media library from scratch. We’ll cover both these methods of repairing WMP.
How WMP Builds Media Libraries
Each media file has “tags”. This is information is inside the file and is called meta-information or meta-tags. In the case of MP3 files, for example, this can contain info on the artist, album, song title, track name, track number, or a bunch of other things. When you put a media file in one of the folders that WMP knows contains media, it scans the files for these meta-tags and copies them to its database. It also adds information it gets from the Internet. The database is then used to build the libraries that are displayed. When WMP is used as a DLNA media server, it shares the library (not the database) with media players.
It’s important to remember that when you change information, such as “artist” for an MP3 file, WMP updates its library but it does not change the meta-information in the actual MP3 file itself. So if you need to rebuild the WMP database you will lose all the meta information you entered through WMP. (If you want to avoid that you need to use an MP3 tag editor and change the tags in the actual file.)
When WMP starts to misbehave, such as if the media library doesn’t get updated, or it plays the wrong media, the best thing to do is to rebuild the database. There are 2 ways to do this:
- From the menus, you can ask WMP to “Apply media information changes” which doesn’t usually help.
- You can delete the whole database and rebuild it from scratch.
Option 1: Apply Media Changes
This option is simple but usually doesn’t work: in the WMP window, click on Organize, Apply media information changes. Then see if things are any better.
Option 2: Rebuild the WMP Database and Library
You need administrator privileges on Windows to do this. These steps let you close WMP, make sure that it stops using the database, deleting the database, restarting WMP, and rebuilding the database.
- Make sure WMP is closed.
- Start Control Panel and click on System and Security, then Administrative Tools.
- Click on Services.
- Find the “Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service” click on it
- Make sure the service is down by clicking on the Stop button.
- Press the Windows Start button and type %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Media Player. File Explorer will take you to the folder
- Delete all the files in the folder. (Don’t delete the sub-folders.)
- Restart the WMP sharing service (see step 5)