Windows Media Player Won't Play My Music

The Windows Media Player digital media player and music library application comes installed on all Windows-based operating systems. It is normally the default player for all supported media files but sometimes needs to be upgraded or reinstalled in order to function properly. There are a number of steps a user can take to troubleshoot Windows Media Player when it fails to play music, distorts audio or fails to recognize a file extension.

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There are a number of steps a user can take to troubleshoot Windows Media Player when it fails to play music.

Step

Visit the Microsoft website to make sure your computer has the most up-to-date version of Windows Media Player for the operating system.

Step

Download or reinstall the version of Windows Media Player recommended by Microsoft. For Windows 7, the default player is Windows Media 12. For most older systems, including XP, Windows Media 11 will be the default player depending on the service pack.

Step

Restart the computer and log on as the administrator for all system updates to take effect.

Step

Set Windows Media Player as the default digital media player. To do this, open the Control Panel, click "Add or Remove Programs" and in the sidebar choose "Set Program Access and Defaults." Make sure "Custom" is selected in the configuration box, and click the drop-down arrow to choose the default player.

Step

Test an audio file by playing it with Windows Media Player. Commonly supported audio formats include .wmv, .mp3, .mp2, .mpa, .mid and .midi.

Step

Consult the Windows Media FAQ for codecs--software used to compress or decompress digital media--if any files will not play.