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Windows 10 Tip: Find Windows Media Player and Set it as Default

When it comes to enjoying different forms of digital media on Windows 10, Microsoft includes Groove Music, Movies & TV, and its Photos apps. These are elegant apps that work well, but if you’ve recently upgraded Windows 7 to Windows 10, you might be more comfortable using Windows Media Player (WMP) instead.

If you’re a fan of WMP, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s still in Windows 10. Here’s a look at how to find it and set it as the default app for your digital media.

Note: Microsoft removed DVD playback support back in Windows 8, so you won’t be able to use WMP for them. However, there are plenty of third-party utilities (hint: VLC) that will let you play DVDs. For more on that, read our article: How to Bring DVD Playback to Windows 10.

Windows Media Player in Windows 10

To find WMP, click Start and type: media player and select it from the results at the top.

Windows 10 Start

Alternately, you can right-click the Start button to bring up the hidden quick access menu and choose Run or use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key+R. Then type: wmplayer.exe and hit Enter.

Run Windows 10

If you plan on using it a lot, you might want to pin it to the Taskbar while you’re here. To do that, right-click on it and select Pin to taskbar, Pin to Start, or both.

pin WMP Taksbar or Start

Windows Media Player hasn’t changed at all since its last update to version 12 in Windows 7. So, if you recently upgraded from Windows 7 to 10, and aren’t quite ready to use the new apps, you’ll be happy to see its familiar UI.

Personally, I would have like to see at least a fresh coat of paint on the WMP interface. However, it’s obvious that Microsoft is phasing out some of its legacy software for the new universal apps instead.

When you first dive into Windows 10, you’ll find that your media is already set to open in its new universal apps (Groove, Photos, Movies & TV.) But if you want to stick with WMP, you can set it as your default player by adjusting file associations. For more, read our article: How to Set Default Apps in Windows 10.

wmp default windows 10

It’s also worth noting that while DVD support has been taken away, support for FLAC and MKV files is added to Windows 10, and you can use WMP for that.


Do you still use and prefer Windows Media Player for music and video playback on your Windows 10 desktop? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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27 Responses to Windows 10 Tip: Find Windows Media Player and Set it as Default

  1. RM January 12, 2016 at 7:40 am #

    I cannot use WMP on my Windows 10 desktop to sync music to my Windows Phone 8.1 Lumia 1520. I could when my desktop was running Windows 8.1. I don’t know it that is a compatibility issue or something Microsoft no longer supports.

    • Omar January 28, 2016 at 9:21 am #

      I only experience this issue with the Insider Preview builds:
      *Windows Media Player does not recognize any devices.
      *The desktop itself recognizes my USB flash drives but not my Windows Phone.

      In Services, I checked Plug and Play, Portable Device Enumerator, etc. The services are up and running. It’s a mystery. Go to an earlier build if possible.

    • Donovan Wells June 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

      It works fine for me and i upgraded to windows 10 from windows 8.1, make sure u find the file where the music is in and just copy and paste but syncing music from PC tp mobile phone works fine as well.

  2. Brian Rosenau January 13, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    WMP has been a die-hard app for many years. I still used it up to W-10. In the older days, I gained a quick fascination and appreciation for the more elegant Media Center app. Since WMC was dropped, I migrated to two other entertainment apps (for different reasons). They are the well known VLC Player and the up-coming FOOBAR200. I am finding that I have a greater appreciation for the higher resolution sound files (normally inherent within DVD movies and audio disks). Higher resolution files require greater effort on the part of the application and associated hardware. WMP does not always sound as good as FOOBAR2000 – I’m guessing this is due to the codecs employed by WMP. In any case, I still revert back to WMP simply for the sake of convenience and the speed used to open the app…I’m so impatient.

  3. Phil from NZ March 8, 2016 at 12:49 am #

    I can open WMP (in Windows 10) using the “Run” approach but when using “Start” and then searching, it does not appear in the search results. Just VLC Media Player.

    I can’t find any way to pin it, opening it via “Run”.

    Another way I can force WMP to open, is by playing a MIDI file – this still defaults to WMP, I don’t know whether “Groove” and the other options with Windows 10 will play MIDI files at all.

    • Joel Cisneros June 29, 2016 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Phil-
      Did you ever figure this one out. Searching for clues myself- bought a laptop with Windows 10, and only VLC media player

    • Trinesan Govender July 3, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      I would expect its icon to show on the Taskbar once you open it (through Run command OR via MIDI file). Right-click on the taskbar icon and select “Pin to Taskbar”.

      If for some reason that option is not available, then you may manually find it in:

      C:Program FilesWindows Media Playerwmplayer.exe

      If you have a 64-bit OS, it’ll be both in “Program Files” AND “Program Files (x86)” .. Don’t ask me why..

      Right-click on the .exe file, select “pin to start” or “pin to taskbar”

      If you can’t find it here either, It may also be in the Windows folder if you search for “wmplayer.exe” . The 64-bit version is 166kb, and the 32-bit is 163kb. Ignore all other results of much smaller sizes.

      • Donovan Wells July 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

        windows media player come up fine and i can add it to the taskbar and to the start menu

  4. Marcus June 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Thanks, I do prefer it since I have a lot of music that I regularly listen to and though I’ll eventually get used to the new one, better to do it slowly over time…too many other unwanted changes with Windows 10 to get used to for now…. 🙂

  5. Donovan Wells June 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    I bought windows 10 PC as well and it came with windows media player and i can add it to default easy and adding music to it is a breeze

  6. Donovan Wells June 29, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    and my pc came with cyber-link power DVD Player if u have a DVD drive in ur windows 10 device

  7. S B July 14, 2016 at 5:38 am #

    i have windows 10, think i accidently deleted windows media player. Could anyone tell me how to download it?

    • Donovan Wells August 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm #

      dunno, i got windows photoviewer back in windows 10 its easy just look for a registry editor file that will put windows photo viewer into windows 10, if u have a clean version or came with ur PC

  8. Beverly S July 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I am getting ready to update from windows 7 pro to window 10… I hate that microsoft is remove stuff… But I know what is driving them $$. if the apps cost a ridiculous 15.00.
    Will this work also after the 30 days that you have to revert back to former windows. It states on the website the old system will be removed after that time period.

  9. Linda Heltzel July 25, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    I’m scared to death to install Windows 10 for fear of losing all the rare music I have in Windows Media Player.
    One expert says you can bring Media Player into Windows 10 and the next expert says you can’t.
    Who am I supposed to believe??
    I will NOT give up Media Player until I have an easy-to-understand answer.
    I know something about computers but am not a whiz. Need simple answer. Thanks.

    • Beverly S July 25, 2016 at 11:38 am #

      Back up the music files to another source like external hard drive. cd’s … usb drive…

  10. Dawn July 26, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    Thank you, this was a very simple fix to get the media player to work.

    • Donovan Wells July 31, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      Yea it is a simple fix, i already knew how its just people seem to forget that many windows 7 apps are still compatible like the games you are used to, solitare chess titans so on so forth, just onto winaero and look up windows 7 games on windows 10, they work fine, just not old games off disc, steam can allow u to play old games on windows 10 just fine, with a cost and internet download speed

  11. ERICSPEEd August 6, 2016 at 7:24 am #

    I have to say that I love the last screenshot because it shows “Spacegrass” by Clutch!

    Thanks for the helpful article.


    • Donovan Wells August 7, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

      mhm ok

  12. Claudio August 17, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    Once again I am disappointed with MS.
    they simply don’t care about users that want to stay using Windows Media Player.

    After my latest W10 update (middle Aug, 16) WMP does not run any more.

    I was in a middle of a reorg on my music library and I can’t continue it without WMP.

    Groove does not help me at all and I did not find yet how to put my WMP “back on business” or a good replacement.

    Thank you MS! That’s why so many people are moving to Google or IPhone apps.

  13. Lindal September 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    My Window Media Player stopped working over the summer. I tried all the ‘fixes’ online to no avail. With the latest update about a week ago, it suddenly started working again. My Playlists are all still in tact with all the songs playable but there is no music showing under Music. It says 3000 songs but 0 bytes. The music is all in my music files on my C drive, I just can’t get it load into WMP. I’ve tried add to Windows Media Player and that doesn’t work. However, I can play it as if I were going to add it a Playlist. It’s very weird and annoying, haha. Any ideas on how to get all of the music back into WMP?

  14. Chuckie September 27, 2016 at 9:07 am #

    I can’t seem to get song titles on the CD’s I burn no matter what I try. I tried WMPCDText V1.4 – no joy for Win 10.


  15. Abby *BEEPS* Purser October 27, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    I have been trying to find a player that will upload my music on to a player, like WMP…also tried off line . I have also tried Yahoo…What a joke that is! :O)

  16. nicole alondra January 23, 2017 at 2:07 am #

    Lost file ?
    Try File Search Tool

  17. Phyllis F. Haislip January 26, 2017 at 1:22 am #

    I would pay a monthly fee or pay a one time charge if Microsoft would put Windows Media Player on Windows 10. I’ve tried several other players that are available in the apps list, but I haven’t found one that is as easy to use as WMP.

  18. Zasoft March 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

    Windows media player is my favourite app. Thanks for the great tips.

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