How to Add Your Own Music Collection to Xbox Music in Windows 8.1

Xbox Music with Music Pass provides an awesome way to sync music across various devices. But you might want to add your own local collection. Here’s how.

Xbox Music has received a lot of updates in the past year or so, and in my opinion, it’s better than ever. It’s now available on the web via as well as Microsoft platforms – Windows Phone and Xbox consoles. It’s also available on the other two big platforms Android and iOS. And with Xbox Music Pass, all of your playlists sync to all of these devices.

But what about adding your own local collection? I showed you how to do it in the early iterations of Xbox Music in Windows 8, but the process is different and more streamlined in Windows 8.1. While the streaming and synchronization of playlists is awesome, chances are you have a huge MP3 collection to add too. Here’s a look at building your collection from local music files.

Add Your Music Collection to Xbox Music

Launch the Xbox Music app then bring up the Charms bar. Go to Settings > Preferences.

Xbox Music PReferences

Now at the top of the list click the Choose where we look for music on the PC link.

Choose where to find

Next you’ll see the following pop up screen. By default you’ll see a couple of locations on your local C: drive. For instance here it displays my Music Library and Music folder. Click the Add (+) button.


Now you just need to browse through your other music locations and add the folders you want Xbox Music to monitor for music. You can choose from your local PC, Libraries, SkyDrive, an network locations.

Select Location

For example, here I’m adding an external drive that has most of my MP3 files backed up.

Music Folder

Also, if you get music from other services like iTunes or Amazon music, you can simply select those folders as well.

Amazon and iTunes

Or if you only wanted a few folders, you can go in and select the ones you want.

Music External Drive

After it’s added you’ll see the new location listed. For instance I can now see my external drive, iTunes, and Amazon.

Building Collection

Now when I go through my collection, everything that’s in the new location will show up and I can enjoy the tunes. If you have a lot of music in the other source you add, just be patient while it populates.


If you need to remove a music folder, just click the “X” in the upper right corner of the tile. Tap remove Folder and confirm it.

Confirm Removal

Bonus Tip: Run Xbox Music from the Desktop

If you do use Xbox Music using on a traditional desktop or laptop, you’ll definitely want to invest $4.99 on ModernMix from Stardock. It allows you to access the app – and all other modern apps – directly from your desktop. When I set up a new Windows 8.1 system, it’s one of the first things I install. It makes using the modern apps much easier, especially Xbox Music!

Xbox ModernMix

Hopefully we’ll see an update from Microsoft that allows the same type of functionality, but until then, paying five bucks is well worth it for the convenience. If you don’t care to spend money, you can always use Microsoft’s snap feature and view you desktop next to modern apps side-by-side.

Screenshot (83)



  1. Ton

    December 30, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the explanation, Sorry but I can’t find the charm bar for Xbox so I can’t find settings.(normal charm bar I can find ofcourse)

    Can you give me a short answer about this?

    Thank you in advance,

    Best regards, Ton.

    • Brian Burgess

      December 30, 2013 at 6:27 am

      All you need to do is launch Xbox Music, and bring up the Charms bar and hit Settings. It’s the same bar. Each time you launch a full screen metro style app, the Settings charm takes on the role of settings and permissions for that app.

  2. awraynor

    January 1, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Hadn’t thought about ModernMix for desktop XBox Music. Orange Goblin, Lollipop Lust Kill, can’t say I’ve heard of them before. An eclectic mix you have for sure in addition to being a great tech writer.

    • Brian Burgess

      January 1, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Yeah I am into metal and hard rock mainly and I indeed do have what most would consider an uncommon collection. But that’s what makes us unique. Thanks!

  3. david

    January 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for this article. Very timely for me. Sadly, when is click “choose where we look for music on this PC” Xbox music does not show me that pop up screen to add music. Instead it just brings me to the start screen. Do you have any other options on that music preferences switched to on? I have the remaining options on off. I am running 8.1 and everything is up to date.

    I was wondering what I was missing until I saw your article correctly displaying the pop up. At this point I intend to delete the music app and then reinstall. If the reinstall doesn’t fix the issue, I may look into this modern mix app.

    • Brian Burgess

      January 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      @david: Yeah that sounds odd. Do you have all of the Windows 8.1 updates as well as all app updates?

      It should be set to check for new app updates by default, but you might want to manually check for them.

      Open the Store, then charms bar, Settings, App Updates, Check for Updates.

      • Peter

        January 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

        Brian, I have a question. How do I make Xbox music full screen?

  4. Peter

    January 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

    In Now playing, I wanna full size the artist

  5. Paul

    January 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Great article, I hope in future updates you can connect to music folders on network attached storage devices (NAS) because at the moment you get an indexing error when trying to do so.

    More people these days are storing their music / movie collections on NAS devices rather than the local disk/s so makes sense MS address this.

  6. Cynthia St

    February 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Hi, I was wondering can you load your own cds onto xbox one without having to pay a music app on xbox one.

  7. Corey

    March 16, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Hi Brian,

    Great article. However, I can’t seem to get Xbox Music to detect my music files. I have a secondary HDD in my rig for music/movies/big data etc. Adding the music file from that drive to Xbox Music (as you did), the app will say the folder is added, but it will not load any music to the collection in app. If i navigate to a song in that folder with file explorer and right click and open with the Music app, it will be played just fine. but i can’t load up my collection to the app for whatever reason.

    any thoughts?


  8. Joshua McNichols

    April 11, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I frequently need to import albums by musicians (musicians not in Microsoft’s databases, by the way) onto my hard drive, for use in my podcast about local music.

    Unfortunately, Xbox Music does not recognize the album I’ve added, even if I’ve dragged the music to my music folder, which Xbox Music is already watching. Why can’t the app see this music? Not sure. I can certainly play it in other apps (though it lacks artist data, etc).

    If I add the CD drive to the folder, of course Xbox music can’t watch that and import the files from that, because it can’t index a CD (it’s read only of course).

    Basically I would like Xbox Music to import files from a CD into my music folder, just like itunes does.

    Can you clarify how to do this? Thanks.

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