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Using Windows Media Player

Although Windows Media Player can play video, DVD movies, and photos, its most common use is for music and audio file playback. The following sections show you how to perform common tasks with music files. These methods can also be used to work with other types of files.

To start Windows Media Player:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Hover the mouse over All Programs.
  3. Scroll down to Windows Media Player.
  4. Click Windows Media Player.
  5. The first time you start Windows Media Player, you are prompted to select Recommended or Custom Settings. If you want to use recommended settings, click Finish. To use custom settings, click Custom Settings, click Next, and provide the information requested.
  6. Windows Media Player opens to the Album view of the Music library (see Figure 4.12).
Figure 4.12

Figure 4.12 Windows Media Player playing an audio CD.

Playing and Ripping an Audio CD

Windows Media Player can convert audio CDs into digital music files (a process called "ripping") or play the music on the CD. To play an audio CD:

  1. Insert the CD into the optical drive on the computer.
  2. Windows Media Player reads the CD tracks.
  3. The CD starts playing automatically (see Figure 4.13).
Figure 4.13

Figure 4.13 Windows Media Player playing an audio CD.

CDs can be ripped into your choice of several different digital formats. The most popular are Windows Media Audio (WMA) and MP3. To select a format and a bit rate:

  1. Click Tools.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click the Rip Music tab (see Figure 4.14).
    Figure 4.14

    Figure 4.14 Windows Media Player's Rip Music tab configured for automatic ripping and ejection of CDs and the highest bit rate for creating MP3 audio files.

  4. Open the Format menu and select the format desired.
  5. Adjust the Audio Quality slider to select the bit rate desired.
  6. To rip CDs automatically, click the Rip CD Automatically check box. This setting takes effect after you insert a new CD.
  7. To automatically eject the CD after ripping, click the Eject CD After Ripping check box.
  8. Click Apply.
  9. Click OK.

To rip the CD manually:

  1. Right-click the CD icon in the left pane.
  2. Select Rip CD to Library.
  3. A progress bar appears next to each track in the middle pane.
  4. At the end of the process, the CD is listed in the Album/Music library.
  5. You can eject the CD manually if you did not select the option to automatically eject the CD.

Creating a Playlist

A playlist is a list of songs you can play, burn to CD, or sync to a portable media device. To create and save a playlist, do the following:

  1. Select a song, video, or photo.
  2. Drag it to the Playlist pane on the right side of the Windows Media Player interface.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until your playlist is complete.
  4. Click Save List.
  5. Enter a name for the list in the Name field above the list of songs (see Figure 4.15).
Figure 4.15

Figure 4.15 Creating a playlist.

Syncing Files to a Portable Media Device

When you sync files to a portable media device, you can sync a saved playlist or create a new list. To sync files from a playlist, do the following:

  1. Connect the portable media device to your computer.
  2. Windows Media Player switches to the Sync tab.
  3. Click Playlists in the right pane.
  4. Drag a playlist to the Sync pane.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until you have added all the playlists you want to the sync list.
  6. Click Start Sync (see Figure 4.16).
    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16 Synchronizing a playlist to a portable media player.

  7. Disconnect the device when you see the Sync Completed message.
  8. Click the Click Here link to display the results of the file synchronization.

Burning an Audio CD

Windows Media Player makes it easy to create an audio mix CD of your musical favorites. Here's how to create an audio CD:

  1. Click the Burn tab.
  2. Insert a blank CD.
  3. Drag playlists or individual songs to the burn list.
  4. To change the order of a music track, drag it to the preferred location.
  5. Click Start Burn (see Figure 4.17).
    Figure 4.17

    Figure 4.17 Preparing to burn an audio CD.

  6. At the end of the burn process, the CD is ejected.

To create a playlist from the burn list:

  1. Click the first file in the burn list.
  2. Press and hold either Shift key.
  3. Click the last file in the burn list. All files should now be highlighted.
  4. Right-click the highlighted burn list.
  5. Select Add To and then Additional Playlists.
  6. Click Create Playlist.
  7. Enter a name in place of New Playlist (see Figure 4.18).
    Figure 4.18

    Figure 4.18 Creating a playlist from a burn list.

  8. Click OK.
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