Microsoft KB Archive/314804

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Article ID: 314804

Article Last Modified on 8/28/2007


  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 7.0

This article was previously published under Q314804


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

This article is part 4 of a series of four articles. Part 4 shows you how to find files on the Internet, copy music from CDs, and use playlists. 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.


Finding files on the Internet

Now that you know how to use the Windows Media Player, you can go out on the Web and find more music. You can use a browser to do this of course, but Windows Media Player gives you a special window to the world of music and video. This window is called the Media Guide.

The Player will start up with the Media Guide view. You can always get to it by using the full mode of the Player and clicking Media Guide on the Task Bar on the left side of the Player. If you don't want Media Guide to be the default view, go to the Tools menu and click Options; then click the Player tab and clear the Start Player in Media Guide check box.

The Media Guide is a window to the Web site. The Media Guide has hundreds of links to new audio and video files to play and download, and gives you lots of information about what's new in the world of audio and video. You can spend hours and hours exploring the Media Guide.

Copying music from CDs

If you want to listen to music from different CDs without inserting and removing your CDs all the time, Windows Media Player can save you a lot of time. All you have to do is copy the CD (or just the tracks you want) onto your computer, then assemble the tracks into playlists and create your own customized musical experience.

Also, you can have the Player compress the files so they won't take up as much room on your hard disk. You can control the amount of compression you need. Choosing high compression will create files that won't sound as good but will take up less space.

Copying tracks

Copying CD tracks is extremely easy. All you need to do is load a CD into your CD-ROM drive and start Windows Media Player. When the Player starts, it loads the CD tracks into a playlist and displays the CD Audio pane of the full mode Player. Figure 2.15 shows a typical CD Audio pane, which you can always get to from the full mode view of the Player by clicking the CD Audio tab of the Task Bar on the left side of the Player.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of audio CD pane]
Figure 2.15: Audio CD pane.

If you are connected to the Internet, the Player will go out to a database and get information about each track on the CD, showing you not only track names and lengths, but artist, genre, style, and so on. On many CDs, you can even click the Album Details and go to a Web site that contains more information about the CD.

After you've loaded your CD, all you have to do is decide which tracks you want to copy to your computer. After you've decided, select the check box at the left of each track to select the tracks you want to copy.

When you're ready to copy, just click the red Copy Music button. You'll see that the Player starts copying because there is a Copy Status column in the CD Audio playlist, and the status will be displayed. Files that are being copied will have a percent-copied display; files that will be copied are labeled "Pending" and when a file is finished copying, it will be labeled "Copied to Library" in the status column.

Selecting copy options

There are several options you can select that will allow you to change the way that the Player copies files from a CD to your computer. Click Options on the Tools menu, and then click the CD Audio tab. You'll see the following choices:

Digital playback (under Playback Settings)
This setting only applies to playback, not to copying CDs. If your computer supports digital playback, select this check box and see how digital playback sounds. If you don't select this option, you will not be able to see visualizations.

Use error correction (under Playback Settings)
This setting only applies to playback, not to copying CDs. If you are experiencing a lot of errors, selecting this check box may help correct them during playback. You'll know you're getting errors if the audio sounds as if parts are missing or the video starts jumping around and missing frames. You can only select this if you have also selected the Digital playback check box.

Copy music at this quality (under Copying Settings)
Windows Media Player can compress the digital information in the files it creates so that the files will be smaller. It does this using a variety of techniques. Depending on the type of music you're copying, you may or may not notice the difference. You can choose the amount of compression with a slider bar. An average music CD can be compressed from as small as 28 MB to as large as 70 MB. The larger the file, the better the sound quality.

Digital copying (under Copying Settings)
Select this check box to copy CD tracks to audio files that enable digital playback. Not all computers and sound cards have digital playback. If yours do, this is a good option to use, and the sound doesn't need to be converted to analog and back to digital. If you're not sure, try a track both ways and see what you like.

Use error correction (under Copying Settings)
You can only select this check box if you've also selected the Digital copying option. Use this if your tracks are producing errors. Once again, if you're not sure whether to use this, try a track both ways and listen to the results.

Enable Personal Rights Management (under Copying Settings)
If this check box is selected, the files you create will have information attached to them indicating that they were created on your computer. You will definitely want to keep this option checked if you want to copy your files to a portable device such as a Pocket PC; many portable devices will not play music if you have not licensed the appropriate rights for a particular file. However, if you keep this option checked, you cannot play files you have copied on another computer. So if you want to copy files from your CD and then transfer them to another computer, you should not select this option. Of course, before copying and transferring, be sure you have the legal right to do so.

Using Playlists

A playlist is a convenient way to organize groups of audio and video files. The term comes from the radio industry and refers to the list of songs that a disc jockey plays on a particular radio program.

You might want to make up playlists for different performers or different kinds of music or videos. You can shuffle playlists or repeat them endlessly. This way, you can create a media experience that is continuously entertaining.

You can see which playlist is playing by looking in the upper right corner of the full mode Player. You will see a drop-down list box, which shows the current playlist.

Using the Media Library

The Media Library is the key to understanding playlists. The Media Library is where you create your playlists. You can get to the Media Library by choosing the Media Library tab on the Task Bar of the full mode Windows Media Player. Figure 2.16 shows a typical view of the Media Library.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of Media Library]
Figure 2.16: Media Library.

On the left side of the Media Library you'll see a tree-like list of all the audio and video that the Player has information about, as well as all playlists and radio presets. This is set up similar to Microsoft Windows Explorer in that you click an item on the left and the contents of that item appear on the right.

The Media Library is divided into the following sections:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • My Playlists
  • Radio Tuner Presets
  • Deleted Items

Each section is a node in the tree. Figure 2.17 shows the five nodes of the Media Library.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of five nodes of the Media Library]
Figure 2.17: Five nodes of the Media Library.

Figure 2.18 shows the nodes expanded by one level for each node. You can expand a node to show the items inside it by clicking the plus sign to the left of the node name.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of Media Library nodes expanded by one level]
Figure 2.18: Media Library nodes expanded by one level.

You can explore the contents of the Media Library by expanding the nodes. Any time you click one of the node item names, the contents of that node, if it is a folder, will be displayed in the right pane of the Media Library.

Understanding the audio collection

The audio collection is the part of the library that keeps track of audio files on your computer and other audio files that the Player has information about (for example, files on the Internet).

Adding Audio Files

You can add to the audio collection in several ways:

  • Click the File menu, click Open, and then choose an audio file.
  • Click the File menu, click Open URL, and then choose an audio file.
  • Click the File menu, click Add to Library, and then choose an audio file.
  • Click the File menu, and click Import Playlist to Library (if the playlist has links to audio files in it).
  • From the CD Audio task pane, copy a CD track to your computer.
  • Start an audio file playing by double-clicking it.
  • Start an audio file playing by right-clicking it and selecting the Play option.

Sorting audio files

You can find a file by clicking the Search button at the top of the Media Library pane.

The Audio collection is a database of audio files, and like other databases, it stores not only the file name and location of audio files, but additional information such as artist, album, and genre. This additional information is used to sort the Audio collection into at least four categories. You can see the categories by clicking the nodes to the left of the Audio label. Figure 2.19 shows the four nodes inside the Audio collection.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of the four nodes of the audio collection]
Figure 2.19: The four nodes of the audio collection.

Here is an explanation of each category:

All Audio
This includes a list of all audio that Windows Media Player has information about.

This shows a list of all music that is associated with albums. The album information can come from a CD, from a playlist, or can be embedded in the file itself. The Player can get album information about CDs from Internet databases.

You can see a list of all the artists that are associated with the audio files in the Audio collection.

If you want to find audio files that have a genre associated with them, this is the place to look.

Understanding the video collection
The video collection uses the same concepts as the audio collection except that it keeps track of video files. Instead of All Audio, the video collection will refer to All Clips, Artist becomes Author, and there is no album or genre equivalent for videos.

Understanding My Playlists
This is a collection of all playlists that the Player has information about. Playlists are lists that you create of audio and video content.

Creating playlists
Creating playlists couldn't be simpler. Click the New Playlist button at the top left of the Media Library and enter the new playlist name.

Adding to playlists
You can add to playlists by doing the following:

  1. Create your playlist.
  2. Find the audio or video file you want to add. You must open an Audio or Video collection and select a file from the collection. For example, open the Audio collection, then open the Artist collection, choose an artist you like, displaying all the songs by that artist in the right pane.
  3. Select the audio or video file, and add it to the playlist. You can do this in one of two ways. The easy way is to right-click the file and choose the Add to Playlist option. You'll be provided with a list of playlists. Pick one and you're done. There's also an Add to Playlist button at the top of the Media Library pane if you prefer to click a button.
  4. You can also select the audio or video file and drag it to the playlist in the left pane. This requires a bit of opening and closing of nodes in the collection, but after you get used to it, you'll find that this is a useful way to work with complicated playlists.

Deleting and renaming playlists
You can also delete and rename playlists by right-clicking a playlist and choosing the Delete or Rename option. Deleted playlists aren't really deleted, they are transferred to the Deleted Items part of the Media Library.

Deleting media items and playlists
If you delete an item in the audio or video collection, the item is transferred to the Deleted Items part of the Media Library. The same is true for deleted playlists. This is similar to the Recycle Bin in Windows.

Restoring media items and playlists
You can get the file or playlist back by right-clicking it and selecting the Restore option. The file or playlist will return to the place you deleted it from.

Permanently deleting media items and playlists
If you want to permanently erase the media items and playlists you deleted, you can reclaim their disk space by right-clicking the Deleted Items node and choosing the Empty Deleted Items option. Be careful! After you do this, you can't go back! But at least you're given an option to change your mind before the media files and playlists are gone forever.

Using the Radio Tuner

The Radio Tuner feature lets you use the Player to listen to Internet radio stations from around the world. Thousands of stations broadcast audio programs of music, news, and commentary.

Figure 2.20 shows the Radio Tuner view, which you can get to by clicking Radio Tuner in the task bar on the left side of the full mode of Windows Media Player.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of the Radio Tuner view in the full mode Player]
Figure 2.20: Radio Tuner view in the full mode Player.

The Radio Tuner view has two panes: Station Finder and Presets.

Using Station Finder

The Station Finder can help you tune in to Internet Radio stations. Even though there are thousands of stations around the globe, you can easily find one you like with only a few clicks. The contents of the Station Finder are updated frequently by so that as new stations go on the air, you can tune in to them right away.

All the stations are listed in a table that sorts them by station name, speed, frequency, and format, or city. You can sort the table rows by clicking the column heading you want to sort on. Double-click a station listing to start it playing.

Above the table of radio stations is one or more list boxes. The box on the left has several categories that you can use to find particular radio stations, including the following:

This gives you a set of predefined radio station formats ranging from Alternative Rock to Classical to News Radio.

You can choose to search through the AM band or FM band, or choose Internet-only.

There are several spoken languages to choose from, including Chinese, English, Latvian, and 20 others.

Countries such as the United States, Finland, Korea, and 30 others are represented in the table listings with radio stations. If you choose the United States, you can search by state.

If you know the call letters of a radio station, you can find the station by typing the call letters in the search box. For example, if you type "CKWW", you'll listen to station CKWW in Detroit, Michigan, that specializes in big band music.

You can tune in to a station by typing the frequency; for example, 88.5 on the FM dial would give you radio station KPLU in the Seattle, Washington, area.

If a station has a slogan, you can find it with a keyword. For example, searching for "oldies" will give you several stations to choose from.

Using station presets

There are two default presets that you can use to sort radio stations that you will want to use often. One is called Featured and has stations that are currently featured by Windows Media Player. You can't add stations to Featured. But you can add radio stations that you want to use frequently to My Presets.

You can create your own preset categories by clicking the Edit button above the Presets list.

Working with radio stations in the Media Library

All presets created in the Radio Tuner are automatically copied to the Media Library in the Radio Tuner Presets category.



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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