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Sharing Music

When you think of the word streaming, you probably think about music, because it's the medium that's most closely associated with streaming and that's most easily streamed (because music files generally contain less information than, say, video files). However, even if you don't activate Media Library Sharing for Windows Home Server's Music folder, you can still use this share to store your family's digital music files. To help make this easier, the next few sections show you some techniques for using and managing the Music share.

Customizing the Music Share with a Template

Earlier you learned about the folder template that applies special features to the Pictures folder. There is also a template associated with the Music library (in Windows 7), the Music folder (in Windows Vista), and the My Music folder (in Windows XP). This template gives you a few features that aren't part of the standard folder view:

  • You get access to music-related file metadata such as the Artists, Album, and Genre.
  • In Windows 7 and Vista, the task pane includes extra commands such as Play and Play All.
  • In Windows XP, the task pane includes a Music Tasks group with links such as Play All, Play Selection, and Shop for Music Online.

However, when you access the Windows Home Server Music folder, Vista and XP treat it like a regular folder. (In Windows 7, if you access the Music share through the Music library, you get the extra image-related features; if you access the share via the Network folder, you don't see those features.) If you want to see the extras that are part of the local Music (or My Music) folder, follow these steps to customize the Music share to use a music folder template:

  1. Open the folder containing the Windows Home Server shares.
  2. Right-click the Music folder, and then click Properties to open the folder's property sheet.
  3. Display the Customize tab.
  4. In the Use This Folder as a Template list, select the template you want to apply:
    • Music Icons—(Windows Vista) Choose this template to give the folder the same features as the Music folder. The folder opens in Large Icons view.
    • Music Details—(Windows Vista) Choose this template to give the folder the same features as the Music folder. The folder opens in Details view.
    • Music—(Windows 7 and Windows XP) Choose this template to give the folder the same features as the My Music folder.
    • Music Artist—(Windows XP) Choose this template for a folder that holds music by a single artist. This gives the folder the same features as the My Music folder and opens the folder in Thumbnails view, which displays an album art icon for each folder that holds an album by the artist.
    • Music Album—(Windows XP) Choose this template for a folder that holds music from a single artist. This gives the folder the same features as the My Music folder and opens the folder in Tiles view, which displays an icon for each track from the album.
  5. If you also want Windows to apply this template to all the subfolders in the Music share, click to activate the Also Apply This Template to All Subfolders check box.
  6. (Windows XP only) If you also want to change the image used for the folder icon, click Choose Picture, choose a new picture in the Browse dialog box, and then click Open.
  7. Click OK.

Adding the Music Folder to Windows Media Player

You saw earlier that when you activate Media Library Sharing for Windows Home Server's Music folder, it appears in Media Player's Navigation pane in the User 1 ( server) branch (or the User 1 on server branch), where server is the Windows Home Server name. (See the earlier section "Playing Streamed Media in Windows Media Player.") However, even if you don't stream the Music share, you can still add it to Windows Media Player so that you can access it in the Music portion of the Media Player library. Note, however, that you don't have to bother with this in Windows 7 if you have the Windows Home Server Connector software installed, because the Connector automatically adds the \\ SERVER\ Music share to Windows 7's Music library.

Just follow these steps in Windows Media Player 11:

  1. Select Start, All Programs, Windows Media Player.
  2. Pull down the Library menu, and select Add to Library. Media Player displays the Add to Library dialog box.
  3. If you don't see the Monitored Folders list, click Advanced Options to expand the dialog box.
  4. Click Add to display the Add Folder list.
  5. Select Windows Home Server's Music share, and then click OK. Media Player adds the folder to the Monitored Folders list.
  6. Click OK. Media Player begins adding the contents of the Music share to the library.
  7. Click Close. (Note that you don't have to wait until Media Player has added all the songs to the library; the process continues in the background, although it might take a bit longer than if you had left the dialog box open.)

To view the folder contents in Media Player, pull down the Library menu and select Music. In the Navigation pane, click Library, and then double-click the Folder view. You then see an icon for \\ SERVER\Music , as shown in Figure 8.12. Double-click that icon to view the music.

Figure 8.12

Figure 8.12 Double-click \\SERVER\Music to view the contents of Windows Home Server's Music share in Media Player.

Changing the Default Rip Location to Windows Home Server

When you rip music from an audio CD in Windows Media Player, the resulting digital audio files are stored in a subfolder of your user profile's Music library (in Windows 7), Music folder (in Windows Vista), or My Music folder (in Windows XP). If you then want to stream those files over your network, you need to copy them to Windows Home Server's Music share.

This two-step process is fine if you always want to maintain a local copy of the audio files. However, if you only access the music on Windows Home Server, having to both rip and move the audio files is a waste of time. A better idea is to rip your audio CDs straight to Windows Home Server.

Here are the steps to follow to change Media Player's rip location to Windows Home Server's Music folder:

  1. Select Start, All Programs, Windows Media Player.
  2. Select Tools, Options. (If you don't see the Tools menu, press Alt.) The Options dialog box appears.
  3. Select the Rip Music tab.
  4. In the Rip Music to This Location group, click Change to open the Browse for Folder dialog box.
  5. Select \\ SERVER\ Music , and then click OK to return to the Options dialog box.
  6. Click OK to put the new setting into effect.
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