Windows Media Player
Rebuilding the WMP database

If you ever find Windows Media Player (WMP) is doing strange things the solution may be to re-build the WMP database.

For example, WMP just refused to RIP a CD because it thought it already had. It had, but then it had wiped it out when it RIP'ed a different one and over-wrote the files from the first CD.

Another example of weird WMP behavior I saw was it would RIP one or more Albums; everything would seem fine. Then you would come back a little while later and the Album(s) would have disappeared. Kept happening randomly, over and over. How's that for weird?

Before doing anything else I recommend going to WMP / Library / More Options and then under the "Library Tab" and check what folders are being monitored. Remove (or change setting to "Ignore") any that aren't part of you Media collection. (By default Microsoft likes to monitor all kinds of folder trees that is doesn't need to and it does nothing but slow your computer down.

Next thing to do is find the HIDDEN folder with the WMP database. (To see hidden files and folder in Explorer, go to Folder Options and under the "View Tab" choose the "radio button" next to "Show hidden files and folder". While you're here, be sure that "Hide extension for know file types" is NOT checked.)

In Vista the folder will be somewhere like:

/Users/YourNAME/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Media Player

and on older systems, somewhere like:

/Documents and Settings/YourNAME/Local Settings/Application Data/Microsoft/Media Player

You'll know you're in the right place if you find files with extensions of .WMDB

Be sure Media Player is NOT running.

You can either delete the contents of the folder with the database, or rename the folder and create a new folder with the original name "Media Player". (You may have trouble renaming if a WMP background processes is still running, but I just did it and had no trouble.)

Once you've deleted or renamed the database, go back to the "Library Tab" in WMP, press the "Monitor Folders" and say OK. This will cause it to re-scan your entire library and build a new database. Wait until the scan completes before you close the window. (May take a while, it depends on the size of your database and the speed of your computer. On a fast computer I just scanned 7,500 files in under 6 minutes.)

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