Using Media Player

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated August 29, 2016)


Windows Media Player is a fairly sophisticated program with a lot of functionality. For example, you can manage various types of media, stream media with other systems on your network, use it to sync music with an MP3 player, burn audio CDs, change skins, create and manage playlists, etc. Most of these features are covered under other tips, so this tip will explain how to use Media Player to listen to music.

The easiest way to launch Media Player is to simply use the search capabilities of Windows to look for the program. (Search for "media player", without the quote marks.) Click and run the program, and you should shortly see the familiar Windows Media Player screen. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Windows Media Player main screen.

This screen is divided into three vertical panes. The left pane is the navigation pane. The center pane provides details of what's selected in the navigation pane. The right pane contains three tabs: Play, Burn, and Sync. When the Play tab is selected you can create playlists by dragging and dropping files into the right pane.

When you want to play music, you can choose it by navigating to "Music" or by selecting a playlist. If I expand the Music are, I can choose to view my music by Artist, Album, or Genre. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Selecting an artist to play.

Once the available music is visible, I can click the icon for artist, album, or genre I want and then click the play button (the large circle at the bottom center of the screen). A song starts playing immediately. If I'm playing music by a particular artist, from an album, or by genre, all the songs in my library that fit within that artist, album, or genre designation are queued for playing in random order.

When a song is playing, the controls at the very bottom center of the screen are active. In particular, the Stop button (it looks like a square) can be clicked to stop play. To the left of the Stop button are buttons that toggle whether random play (shuffle) is enabled and whether the songs are to be repeated after they've all been played.

To the right of the Stop button are buttons that: (1) take you to the previous song, (2) pause the current play, (3) take you to the next song, and (4) change the volume.

Instead of selecting what to play by navigating through the Music item, you can also choose a playlist that you've previously created. To do this, double-click the playlist in the navigation pane. A song from the selected playlist begins playing and the right pane reflects what all songs are in the playlist. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Media Player screen while playing music from a playlist.

Note that like most other Windows applications, Windows Media Player has Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons at the upper right corner of the screen. This means you can continue to listen to your music with the screen minimized. When you are finished, just click the Close button.

 This tip (12730) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...


Starting Programs Automatically at Startup

If you have programs that you want to automatically start when your system starts, this tip tells you how to set them up.

Discover More

Understanding the NTFS File System

The NTFS file system is at the core of the Windows operating system. This tip explains a bit about it.

Discover More

Modifying the Number of Jump List Items

Jump lists can be a helpful tool to quickly access common files and commands. If you'd prefer to display a different ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Creating a Media Player Playlist

Windows Media Player lets you manager all sorts of media. One way to do this is by creating playlists. This tip describes ...

Discover More

Creating an Auto Playlist

Auto Playlists are a nice feature of Windows Media Player. Once set up, as more media gets added to your library the auto ...

Discover More

Ripping Songs from Audio CDs

Ripping songs from audio CDs is fairly simple, but the actual process varies from application to application.

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 3?

2016-08-30 12:31:51


So Barry, I am curious what you do use for playing and storing your music.

2016-08-29 14:46:00


Sorry, but I honestly don't use WMP much. I just did the research for the tip. Thank *you* for the DupeGuru tip.

2016-08-29 13:52:37

Joe Holmes

Use WMP quite a lot, but have not found a way within the program to find and remove duplicates. I use DupeGuru ME instead. Any other suggestions?

Newest Tips