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How to Set Up Media Player in Windows 7

Windows Media Player, the Windows 7 built-in boom box, sucks you in from the start. Once you set up Media Play in Windows 7, you can use it to play CDs, as well as play, organize, and generally enjoy almost any kind of music and most videos stored on your computer, your network or your homegroup.

Setting up Windows Media Player is easy, but there are many places where you can be lolled into turning over the keys to your privacy. If you know what to watch out for, you can protect your privacy from the start.

  1. Choose Start→Windows Media Player or Start→All Programs→Windows Media Player.

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    The installer appears. If you value your privacy, don’t accept the Microsoft-recommended settings.

  2. Click the Custom Settings button, and then click the Next button.

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    WMP shows you the Select Privacy Options dialog box. It’s generally a good idea to limit Microsoft’s snooping abilities.

  3. Select or deselect the various check boxes, depending on your preferences.

    The two safest options on this page (from a privacy standpoint) are the Display Media Information from the Internet and the Update Music Files by Retrieving Media Information from the Internet check boxes. You’ll have to decide for yourself about the rest.

    If you select the Download Usage Rights Automatically When I Play a File check box, Microsoft checks to see if you have permission to use it. In other words, if you try to play a protected WMA file that you don’t have rights to play, Microsoft and the copyright holder are notified. Usually the result is that you keep getting asked to buy things.

  4. When you’re comfortable with your privacy choices, click the Next button.

    WMP then asks whether you want it to be used as the default music and video player.

  5. Choose whether you want WMP to be your default player, and click the Finish button.

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    WMP springs to life with some free sample music (in MP3 format!) in the library.

    The sample music provided by WMP sits in your \Public\Public Music\Sample Music folder.

  6. WMP immediately begins scanning your Music Library for songs.

    Initially, your Music Library includes your own Music folder, plus the Music folder in your computer’s Public folder. Later in this chapter, I show you how to expand the library’s reach.

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