Hand Music-Playing Chores Back to Windows Media Player - dummies

Hand Music-Playing Chores Back to Windows Media Player

By Andy Rathbone

Microsoft hopes that the Music app and its online store will be a big moneymaker; accordingly, Windows 8 tries to shoehorn you into using the Music app. Open a music file from your desktop’s Music library, for example, and the Start screen’s Music app butts in to play the file.

To complicate matters, the desktop doesn’t offer any icon to start the more full-featured Windows Media Player.

You can fix those quirks fairly easily, however. Follow the steps in this section to hand your music-playing chores back to Windows Media Player.

Note: The Windows RT version of Windows 8 doesn’t include Windows Media Player. If you don’t like the built-in Music app, you can probably find one more to your liking in the Store app.

  1. Right-click the Start screen and choose All Apps from the App bar along the screen’s bottom.

    The Start screen lists all of your installed apps and programs.

    On a touchscreen, slide your finger up from the screen’s bottom to see the App bar and its All Apps icon.

  2. Right-click the Windows Media Player tile and choose Pin to Taskbar from the bottom menu.

    That places Windows Media Player’s icon on your desktop’s taskbar for easy access.

    If you’re using a touchscreen, briefly slide the Windows Media Player icon downward and then lift your finger. Then choose Pin to Taskbar from the bottom menu.

  3. Load the Desktop app’s Control Panel.

    You can find the Desktop app’s Control Panel’s icon, shown in the margin, on the All Apps screen, a little to the right of the Windows Media Player icon.

  4. When the Control Panel opens, click the Programs category. Click Default Programs and then click Set Your Default Programs.

  5. In the left pane, click Windows Media Player. Then click the Set This Program As Default option and click OK.


    This step tells Windows Media Player to play all of your media, bypassing the Start screen’s Music app.

After you follow these steps, Windows Media Player jumps into action whenever you double-click a music file on the desktop. You can also launch Windows Media Player directly by clicking its icon on your taskbar.

These steps don’t permanently disable or uninstall the Start screen’s Music app. To use the Music app, just click its tile from the Start screen; all the music listed in the app still plays through the Music app.

Windows Media Player can open more than 50 types of music and video files. To pick and choose which files it can open, select Choose Defaults for This Program in Step 5 of the preceding step list. When the Set Associations For a Program window appears, you can pick and choose exactly which files you want Windows Media Player to open.

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