Stock the Windows Media Player Library in Windows 8

You can load Windows Media Player by clicking its icon in the Windows 8 taskbar — that strip along the desktop’s bottom edge. When you run Windows Media Player, the program automatically sorts through your computer’s stash of digital music, pictures, videos, and recorded TV shows, automatically cataloging everything into the media player’s own library.

But if you’ve noticed that some of your PC’s media is missing from the Windows Media Player library, you can tell the player where to find any of those items by following these steps:

  1. Click Windows Media Player’s Organize button and choose Manage Libraries from the drop-down menu to reveal a pop-out menu.

    The pop-out menu lists the four types of media that Windows Media Player can handle: Music, Videos, Pictures, and Recorded TV.

  2. From the pop-out menu, choose the name of the library that’s missing files.

    A window appears, listing the folders monitored by your chosen library. For example, the player’s Music library normally monitors the contents of your My Music folder and the Public Music folder.

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    But if you’re storing items elsewhere — perhaps on a portable hard drive, flash drive, or network location — here’s your chance to give the player directions to that other media stash.

  3. Click the Add button, select the folder or drive containing your files, click the Include Folder button, and click OK.

    Clicking the Add button brings the Include Folder window to the screen. Navigate to the folder you’d like to add — the folder on your portable hard drive, for example — and click the Include Folder button. Windows Media Player immediately begins monitoring that folder, adding the folder’s music to its library.

    To add music from even more folders or drives — perhaps a folder on another networked PC or a flash drive — repeat these steps until you’ve added all the places Windows Media Player should search for media.

    To stop the player from monitoring a folder, follow these steps, but in Step 3, click the folder you no longer want monitored and then click the Remove button.

When you run Windows Media Player, the program shows the media it has collected, and it continues to stock its library in the following ways:

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  • Monitoring your libraries: Windows Media Player constantly monitors your Music, Pictures, and Videos libraries, as well as any other locations you’ve added. Windows Media Player automatically updates its library whenever you add or remove files from your libraries. (You can change what libraries and folders Windows Media Player monitors by following the three preceding steps.)

  • Monitoring the Public folder: Windows Media Player automatically catalogs anything placed into your PC’s Public folder by another account holder on your PC, or even by somebody on a networked PC.

  • Adding played items: Anytime you play a music file on your PC or from the Internet, Windows Media Player adds the song or its Internet location to its library so that you can find it to play again later. Unless specifically told to, Windows Media Player doesn’t add recently played items residing on other people’s PCs, USB flash drives, or memory cards.

  • Ripped music from CD: When you insert a music CD into your CD drive, Windows 8 offers to rip it. That’s computereze for copying the CD’s music to your PC. Any ripped music automatically appears in your Windows Media Player library. (Windows Media Player won’t copy DVD movies to your library, unfortunately, nor will it play the discs.)

  • Downloaded music and video from online stores: Windows Media Player lets you shop from a variety of online stores (but not Apple’s iTunes). When you buy a song, Windows Media Player automatically stocks its library with your latest purchase.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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