Windows Media Player

Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope
Windows Media Player logo.

The Microsoft Windows Media Player, also known as WMP and Wmplayer, is Microsoft's fully functional media player that is included for free with any copy of Windows. It allows users to view photos, play music from a CD or music file, and watch video media. Additionally, Windows Media Player allows users to rip audio CDs and organize their music collections. It should be noted, however, that Windows Media Player will not play DVDs due to Copyright restrictions.

Supported file formats

The Windows Media Player can play almost every computer media (sound and video) file format. Audio formats examples include MP3, WMV (Windows Media Video), WMA, CDA (compact audio disc), WAV, and other formats. For video, AVI (Audio Video Interleave) and MPEG-4 are supported, with other file formats also supported. Other video formats are supported once the associated video codecs are installed. Microsoft also released a mobile version called Windows Media Player 10 Mobile. It supported MP3, ASF, WMA (Windows Media Audio), and WMV media formats.

Windows Media Player history

The first version of the Windows Media Player came about in 1991; it was intended to be used with Windows 3.0. At that time, it was called Media Player. It has been included with every version of Windows since Windows 98 SE. The current release, bundled with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, is version 12. Since the release of version 7, support for burning and ripping audio CDs (compact discs) has also been included.

How do I open Windows Media Player?

From Windows

Press the Windows key, type WMP, and press Enter.

From MS-DOS and the Windows command line

If you enter something similar to the example text below into the command line, Windows Media Player opens and starts playing a song. This command can also be placed in a batch file to start a media file.

start wmplayer "i:\mp3\example.mp3"

When entering the path to the MP3 or other media file, specify the complete path.

How do I play a music CD in Windows Media Player?

To play a music CD in Windows Media Player, follow the steps below.

  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Open the CD drive in the computer and place the music CD in the disc tray, then close the disc tray.
  3. If the CD does not start to play automatically, look for the music CD in the left navigation pane of Windows Media Player. The music CD should be listed by the album title.
  4. Click the music CD, then select the music track you want to play.
  5. Click the play button to start playing the music CD.

Media Player, Playback, Software terms