Windows Media Player

Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope

Windows Media PlayerThe Microsoft Windows Media Player or Wmplayer is Microsoft's solution to having a fully functional media player on consumers' computers. The Windows Media Player is capable of playing almost every computer media (sound and video) file and can arrange all media files on your computer.

For audio, the most common format is the MP3 file, which is supported by the Windows Media Player. It also supports file formats like WMV, WMA, and WAV. For video, common formats include AVI and MPEG-4, which are supported by the Windows Media Player. A number of other video formats are supported, as long as the associated video codecs are installed, which allow for playback with the Windows Media Player.

Windows Media Player comes pre-installed with the Windows operating system. The first version of the Windows Media Player came about in 1991, being compatible with Windows 3.0. At that time, it was called Media Player. Since Windows 98 SE, it has been included with Windows. 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 has been included as well.

Microsoft also developed a mobile version, called Windows Media Player Mobile, for the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The mobile version provides support for MP3, ASF, WMA and WMV media formats.

Tip: For most media files (e.g., audio or video files) if you double-click the file it opens in Windows Media Player by default. If Windows Media player is no longer the default media player on your computer and you want to use Media Player, right-click the file and select Open With and then choose Windows Media Player.

How do I open Windows Media Player?

In Windows 10, type "media player" in the search box next to the Start Menu button. In the search results, select Windows Media Player.
In Windows Vista, 7, and 8, click Start and type "Windows Media Player". In the search results, select Windows Media Player.


Click Start and from within All Programs or Programs you should see the "Windows Media Player" shortcut.


From the command line type a command similar to the example below to start the Windows Media Player from the command line. This command can also be placed in a batch file to start a media file from a batch file.

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

Tip: When entering the path to the MP3 or other media file make sure to specify the complete path.

Media Player, Software terms