Microsoft KB Archive/314572

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Article ID: 314572

Article Last Modified on 8/28/2007


  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 7.0

This article was previously published under Q314572


The information covered in this article is provided by: Microsoft Press.

This article is part 3 of a series of four articles. Part 3 discusses the commands available on the menus and show you how to switch to different modes. To view the other articles in this series, please see the "Additional Resources" section later in this article.

This information is an excerpt from the Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 Handbook book, "Chapter 2: How Does the Player Work". Learn More About Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 Handbook.


Using menus

Many of the operations you can perform with buttons can also be done through menus. The File menu is always available in the full mode view but is also available in skins that provide menus. Here is a brief listing of each menu item and what it does.

File menu

The File menu helps you work with files. The following commands are available on the File menu:

Use this to load a file, using the standard Windows Open dialog box. The file you select will be loaded into a new playlist, and the file will start playing.

Open URL
Use this to load a file from a Web site or over a network. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a path to a file; for example, http://internalsite/laure.wma is a URL. You must type a URL that links to an audio or video file. If you type a URL to a Web page, you will get an error.

This doesn't close the Player; it closes the media file that is playing. It stops the Player and deselects the current item in the current playlist.

Add to Library
Use this to add a track to the media library. The media library is the collection of all audio and video that the Player has information about. When you select this option, you are given three choices: Add Currently Playing Track, Add File, and Add URL. The first choice is useful when you want to add the content that is currently playing to the media library. The second and third choices are similar to the Open and Open URL commands on the File menu except that instead of playing the file, the Player just adds it to the media library.

Import Playlist to Library
Use this to import a playlist into the media library. Playlists are Windows Media metafiles that have an extension of .asx, .wax, .wvx. You can also import a .m3u file which will automatically be converted to a playlist.

Export Playlist to File
Use this to save a selected playlist in a text file. If you don't have any playlists selected (or any playlists at all), the media library will be saved as a playlist.

Copy to CD
Use this to copy files to a CD. You must have a CD-ROM that is recordable and a CD drive capable of recording. You may not see this menu item if you do not have a recordable CD drive installed on your computer.

Selecting this will display information about the audio or video that is currently playing.

Work Offline
Use this option if you don't want the Player to go out to the Internet to gather information about CDs.

This will shut down Windows Media Player.

View menu

The View menu helps you see all the different parts of Windows Media Player and work with visual elements. The following commands are available through the View menu:

Full Mode
This option returns you to the full mode view.

Compact Mode
Use this to change from full mode to a skin. Whatever skin you used last will be the default skin.

Now Playing Tools
Select this to change how the Now Playing area looks. You can choose to hide or display the playlist, title, and visualization portions of the pane. You can also show or hide the following settings: SRS WOW Effects, Graphic Equalizer, Video, Windows Media Information, and Captions. Finally, you can also hide or show the resize bars, which are the bars that separate the sub-panes of the Now Playing area.

Task Bar
The Task Bar menu command provides access to the same features found on the Task Bar tabs at the left side of the full mode Player. The following features are provided: Now Playing, Media Guide, CD Audio, Media Library, Radio Tuner, Portable Device, and Skin Chooser. For more information about the Task Bar, see the "Changing views in full mode" section later in this article.

Selecting this option provides a list of the currently loaded visualizations. Selecting a visualization shows you the presets that are available for each visualization.

File Markers
Use this to go to a specific position in a file that has markers. If a file doesn't have markers, you can't select this option.

Selecting this option can show you how well the file is playing. This can be particularly useful if you want to report problems with files that you are receiving in real time through the Internet (called streaming). If there are problems, you usually will know, but this option can give you exact answers, such as how many packets are being lost during transmission.

Full Screen
If you are playing a visualization that supports it, use this option to have the visualization display over the full screen of your computer. Once in full screen, you can return to normal mode by pressing the ALT and ENTER keys simultaneously.

Use this to refresh the page when you are using the Media Guide, Portable Device, or Radio Tuner panes. If you think you're looking at yesterday's Web page, you may be right. Some information in these task panes is cached, that is, stored on your hard disk, depending on the settings in Internet Explorer or your portable device.

This allows you to change the size of a video that is playing. You can choose to make it fit the screen, or pick a specific percentage of the original. The percentages are 50%, 100%, and 200%.

Play menu

The Play menu gives you most of the same options that the transport buttons offer. The following commands are available through the Play menu:

This starts the music or video program playing, or if it is already playing, pauses it. The Player must have at least one item in the media library in order to play. Playing a paused file starts the file playing at the same position it was paused at.

This stops the currently playing program. If you click Play after stopping the program, the song or video will start over at the beginning.

Skip Back
This stops the currently playing item in the playlist and plays the previous item in the same playlist. This corresponds to the Previous button in the Player buttons at the bottom of the full mode Player. If you are at the first item in a playlist and you select Skip Back, the last item in the playlist will be played.

Skip Forward
This stops the currently playing item in the playlist and plays the next item in the same playlist. This corresponds to the Next button in the Player buttons at the bottom of the full mode Player. If you are at the last item in a playlist and you select Skip Forward, the first item in the playlist will be played.

This rewinds a video in short intervals. You can only rewind videos that are encoded in Windows Media Format. This corresponds to the Fast Reverse button in the Player buttons at the bottom of the full mode Player.

Fast Forward
This fast forwards a video in short intervals. You can only fast forward videos that are encoded in Windows Media Format. This corresponds to the Fast Forward button in the Player buttons at the bottom of the full mode Player.

This plays the items in the current playlist in a random order. It does not change the order of the items in the playlist, only the order in which they are played while the shuffle option is selected.

This repeats the playing of the entire current playlist, not specific items in a playlist. If you want to repeat only one item, create a new playlist, put only that item in it, and repeat that playlist.

This lets you nudge the volume up or down by a small amount. It also allows you to mute the volume.

Tools menu

The Tools menu is for advanced features of Windows Media Player. The following commands are available through the Tools menu:

Download Visualizations
Select this to go to a Web page that will let you download new visualizations.

Search Computer for Media
Use this to search your computer for all audio and video files. The Player will add the files it finds to your media library and divide them between the audio and video collections. If you choose the option to search for WAV and MIDI files, you will add a lot of Windows sound effects that you may not want to play with the Player; on the other hand, you may discover some interesting MIDI files that are hidden away inside your Windows folder. You can choose to load from local drives, network drives, all drives, or a specific drive, and even a specific directory. If you have mapped a network drive to your computer, you can search that drive as well. For example, if drive X: is mapped to a network drive, you can search that drive, or directories on that drive.

License Management
If you download music that requires a license, or make copies of CD tracks, this option specifies where you want to store the licenses on your computer. You might want to pick a folder that you can find easily so you can conveniently back up your licenses to another drive or storage medium. If you pay for a song and the song needs a license to play, you'll want to take good care of your licenses.

This is the option for everything else not covered in other menu items. The following section, "Options dialog box," provides more information about this menu item.

Options dialog box
If you go to the Tools menu and click Options, the Options dialog box is displayed. It covers various options you may want to change. The following tabs are included in the Options dialog box:

This tab lets you set how often you want Windows Media Player to check for software upgrades (daily, weekly, monthly), whether you want the Player to automatically download codecs it needs, whether you want the Player to identify itself to Web sites and download licenses automatically, whether you want the Player to start up in Media Guide (instead of whatever mode you used last time), and whether you want skins to be on top of other windows. You can also decide whether you want the anchor to be displayed when using skins. The anchor window is a small window that appears in the lower right corner of the screen when Windows Media Player is in compact mode. You can click the anchor window, and then click Return to Full Mode to return to the full mode of the Player. Most of the time you'll want to leave these options the way they were initially set.

If you are an advanced networking user, you can use this tab to set proxies, ports, and protocols.

CD Audio
Use this to set up how you will play or record CDs. For playing CDs, you can choose whether to use digital playback, if your computer supports it, and whether to use error correction. Change these options if you are having problems playing CDs. For copying music from CDs, you can select how much compression to use when converting music from CD format to music file formats. You'll have to choose between smaller file sizes and better quality. You can also choose whether to use digital copying or error correction, and whether to use personal rights management. Finally, you can choose what folder you want the copied audio files to be created in.

Portable Device
If you have a portable device, you can use this pane to decide whether to let the Player convert the music automatically or let you pick a tradeoff between file size and audio quality. You can also click a button and find out what devices are supported by Windows Media Player.

You might want to use this tab if you are having trouble with viewing live files (streaming). You can tell the Player what network connection you have, how much buffering to do, whether you want to use hardware acceleration with video, and how to adjust digital video settings.

Media Library
Use this tab to set access rights to your media library. You can specify what levels of access you want to grant outside Web sites to read or modify the media in your library. This involves both security and privacy issues. This also specifies whether you want Internet music purchases to be added to your library automatically.

If you have installed a visualization that has properties you can change, go to this tab to change them. For example, the Ambience visualization will let you set the full-screen size and off-screen buffer size. You can also use this tab to load a visualization that is stored on your computer but that is not registered with the Player. Be sure you know the source of any visualization before loading, and load them from only trusted sites, so that you can avoid viruses.

Use this tab to make sure the Player plays the file formats you want it to play. If another brand of player starts playing a file that you want Windows Media Player to play, change the file association here, if it is a file format the Player can play.

Help menu

The Help menu gives you help and information. This menu has the following three commands:

Help Topics
This command launches the Help file that comes with Windows Media Player. The Help file covers all the features you need to know about to use the Player. You can also get the Help file by pressing the F1 key on your computer at any time while Window Media Player is the active Window.

Check For Player Upgrades
Use this command any time you're curious about upgrades to Windows Media Player. The Player will do this automatically for you, but you may want to do it yourself if you've heard news of a new version.

About Windows Media Player
This will display the name, copyright, version number, and product ID of Windows Media Player.

Compact mode shortcut menu

When Windows Media Player is in compact mode, you can right-click the skin and get a menu. Each of the commands on the menu corresponds to a similarly named command on one of the menus of the full mode Player. Table 2.1 shows the commands on the menu of the compact mode along with their corresponding full mode menu commands.

Table 2.1: Menu commands of the compact mode Player.

Compact mode menu command          Full mode menu command
Open                               File menu Open option
Open URL                           File menu Open URL option
Shuffle                            Play menu Shuffle option 
Repeat                             Play menu Repeat option 
Volume                             Play menu Volume option 
Play/pause                         Play menu Play/pause option 
Stop                               Play menu Stop option
Skip Back                          Play menu Skip Back option 
Skip Forward                       Play menu Skip Back option 
Return to Full Mode                Play menu Skip Forward option 
Full Screen                        View menu Full Screen option 
Properties                         File menu Properties option
Statistics                         View menu Statistics option 
Options                            Tools menu Options option
Help                               Help menu Help Topics option
About                              Help menu Windows Media Player option
Exit                               File menu Exit option

Changing views in full mode

The full mode of Windows Media Player has seven views that are accessed by clicking tabs on the Task Bar, which is on the left side of the window. Each view gives you a different way to interact with audio and video. Here is a list of the views:

Now Playing
This view shows a visualization or video on the left pane and a playlist on the right. You can also display a hidden settings pane to make various adjustments or see additional information. You'll spend most of your time in this view.

Media Guide
This is the default view of the Player and opens up a world of audio and video through the Internet. You can get daily news of new audio and video releases, tune in to Internet radio stations, and download tons of things to see and hear, most of it free! For more help with downloading, see the "Finding files on the Internet" section in Part 4 of this series. CD Audio
If you have a CD player in your computer, you can play your CD tracks using Windows Media Player. For more information about using CDs, see the "Copying music from CDs" section in Part 4 of this series. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

314804 How to Operate Windows Media Player 7 (Part 4 of 4)

Media Library
This is where you can organize all your audio and video. You can search for audio and video files on your computer, create playlists, and change your Internet radio presets here. For more information about working with playlists, see the "Using playlists" section in Part 4 of this series. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

314804 How to Operate Windows Media Player 7 (Part 4 of 4)

Radio Tuner
Use this feature to search out and sort Internet radio stations. From around the world or around the block, you can listen to music every hour of every day and never hear the same thing twice!

Portable Devices
Use this pane to download music to your Pocket PC or other portable device. Skin Chooser
Use this to apply skins that came with your installation. You can also use this feature to download new skins from the Windows Media Skins Gallery Web site. Once you try one skin, you'll never want to stop! New skins will be appearing frequently, so check this site often.



The information in this article is an excerpt from the Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 Handbook book, published by Microsoft Press.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of Windows Media Player Handbook][1]

Learn More About Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 Handbook

For more information about this publication and other Microsoft Press titles, see

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