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Organizing Your Music Collection

To keep track of all your media that you have added to your library, you must learn to organize your library and files for easy access of your favorites. Your media library can be set up to contain playlists that allow you to quickly play your favorite music. In addition, arranging the media files on your computer's hard disk in a neat fashion will greatly aid you in the event that you need to back up your media files for transfer to a new PC or for repair of your current PC.

Creating Your Own Custom Playlists

With Windows Media Player 11, it is easier than ever to create and edit custom playlists to contain your favorite media. With playlists, you can create the perfect layout of songs for any occasion. To create a new playlist, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Windows Media Player 11 and select the Library tab. If you need to clear the List pane, click the Clear List pane button shown earlier in Figure 8.18.
  2. To add media to your playlist, drag items from your media library onto the List pane, as shown in Figure 8.22. To rearrange items in the playlist, select and drag the item to the desired location. To remove items from the list, right-click the item, and select Remove from List.
    Figure 8.22

    Figure 8.22 Drag items to the List pane to create a new playlist.

  3. When you are finished creating your playlist, select Save Playlist at the bottom of the List pane, as shown in Figure 8.22, and enter the name for your playlist.

Creating and Editing Auto Playlists

An auto playlist is a playlist that is set up with a set of filters. Using these filters, the content of these playlists is automatically updated to reflect changes to your media library. To create a new auto playlist, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the arrow below the Library tab and select Create Auto Playlist.
  2. Type the name of your new auto playlist into the Auto Playlist Name box.
  3. In the bottom half of the window, set up your filters by selecting Click Here to Add Criteria, as shown in Figure 8.23. You can add as many filters as you would like to your auto playlist. To remove a filter, select it and choose Remove.
Figure 8.23

Figure 8.23 Name your auto playlist and createfilters.

Organizing your Media Collection

Over time, your PC will have media files scattered all over the hard drive. This can make it difficult to find all your media files in the event that you want to create a backup. Your media library may also become cluttered with media files you no longer want or that you want to remove from your media library.

To arrange your media files into an organized central location, perform the following:

  1. Make sure your Rip music settings are set to use your Music folder and the filename is set up as described in the first note under "Ripping Songs from CDs onto Your Computer."
  2. Click the arrow below the Library tab and select More Options.
  3. Set up the Automatic Media Information Updates for Files section of the Library Options dialog box, as shown in Figure 8.24, and click OK.
    Figure 8.24

    Figure 8.24 Settings to have your media files renamed and rearranged using your rip music settings.

  4. Apply these changes to your media library files by clicking the arrow below the Library tab and selecting Apply Media Information Changes. The result will be a single Music folder, your rip music folder, arranged in folders by artist. Each Artist folder will contain Album folders that contain the songs that appear on that album.

Housecleaning for Your Media Library

Although Media Player 11 automatically removes files from the library that are no longer present in the file system, you may at some point decide that you want to clean out your library. If you have tons of files that you no longer use and want to remove them from your library, you have two options:

First is to leave the file on your computer's hard drive and remove the file only from the library. This is a good choice if you think you might want to add the file back at a later time or if you just want to hold on to that file for sentimental reasons.

Second, you can have Media Player 11 remove the file from both your library and your PC. This results in the file being permanently lost and should be used only if you are sure you are never going to want the file again.

To remove media from your library, find the item in the Library view. Right-click the item and choose Delete. In the dialog box, choose the appropriate option for removal, as described previously.

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