How to Browse Windows Media Player's Libraries in Windows 10 - dummies

How to Browse Windows Media Player’s Libraries in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

The Windows Media Player Library in Windows 10 is where the behind-the-scenes action takes place. There, you organize files, create playlists, burn or copy CDs, and choose what to play.

When first loaded, Windows Media Player displays your Music folder’s contents, appropriately enough. But Windows Media Player actually holds several libraries, designed to showcase not only your music but also photographs, video, and recorded TV shows.

All your playable items appear in the Navigation Pane along the window’s left edge, shown in the figure. The pane’s top half shows your own media collection, appropriately listed with your name at the top.

The bottom half, called Other Libraries, lets you browse the collections of other people with accounts on your PC. You can also access the music shared by Homegroups — multiple PCs linked together through a special network.

Click the type of media you're interested in browsing from the Navigation Pane along the left.
Click the type of media you’re interested in browsing from the Navigation Pane along the left.

Windows Media Player organizes your media into these categories:

  • Playlists: Like playing albums or songs in a certain order? Click the Save List button atop your list of songs to save it as a playlist that shows up in this category.

  • Music: All your digital music appears here. Windows Media Player recognizes most major music formats, including MP3, WMA, WAV, and even 3GP files used by some cellphones. (It recognizes non-copy-protected AAC files, sold by iTunes.) And Windows 10 finally adds support for the lossless FLAC, a format that compresses the music without losing any sound quality.)

  • Videos: Look here for videos you’ve saved from a camcorder or digital camera or for videos you’ve downloaded from the Internet. Windows Media Player recognizes AVI, MPG, WMV, ASF, DivX, some MOV files, and a few other formats. Windows 10 also adds support for MKV files, a newly popular video format.

  • Pictures: Windows Media Player can display photos individually or in a simple slide show, but your Pictures folder handles photos better. (Windows Media Player can’t correct upside-down photos, for example, a feat done easily from within your Pictures folder.)

  • Other Libraries: Here you can find media appearing on other PCs in your Homegroup — a type of network.

After you click a category, Windows Media Player’s Navigation Pane lets you view the files in several different ways. Click Artist in the Navigation Pane’s Music category, for example, and the pane shows the music arranged alphabetically by artists’ first names.

Similarly, clicking Genre in the Music category separates songs and albums by different types of music, shown earlier. Instead of just showing a name to click — blues, for example — the player arranges your music into piles of covers, just as if you’d sorted your albums or CDs on your living room floor.

To play anything in Windows Media Player, right-click it and choose Play. Or to play all your music from one artist or genre, right-click the pile and choose Play All.