Media Player

Not to be confused with Media Player (Windows 11).
Media Player
Component of Microsoft Windows
Windows Media Player in Windows 10
Introduced inWindows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0

Media Player, or Windows Media Player, is a multimedia player and library application developed by Microsoft and normally included with Microsoft Windows. Depending on the Windows version, there might be multiple distinct versions of the application, all using the same name but including different features.

The first version of Windows to include a media player is Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0. Slightly updated versions of the player then shipped with Windows 3.1 and later revisions of the 16-bit Windows environment. A larger update was introduced as a part of the Video for Windows suite with an updated user interface and support for copying media to documents via OLE. This version was also ported to 32 bits with some minor changes and included with Windows NT 3.1, Windows NT 3.5, Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95. It would continue to be bundled with Windows even after the newer versions were introduced, with the last version of Windows to include it being Windows Server 2003. Except for the very first version and the original Video for Windows version, this original incarnation of the player didn't adopt its own versioning scheme and instead used the Windows version number.

In 1996, Microsoft introduced the NetShow multimedia framework for network broadcasting and along with it developed the new NetShow Player to support the platform's then-new ASF container format. The player was later overhauled using DirectShow technology instead of MCI and extended to support other formats using for its third version in early 1998, which ultimately ended up shipping later that year as Windows Media Player 5.2 as the company relaunched NetShow under the new Windows Media brand and briefly aligned its version with DirectX. Multiple updates were then released to the player in the following months, eventually bringing it up to version 6.4. This edition was only officially bundled with Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000 in version 6.1 and 6.4 respectively, although it is also included together with newer player versions in Windows Me, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, albeit hidden. It is often unofficially referred to as the "classic" Media Player and there are several projects that aim to clone its user experience.

Version 7.0, released in 2000 along with Windows Me, was partially based on scrapped Music Center work done for Windows Neptune and introduced a brand new interface. It is the last version of Windows Media Player available for Windows 95, as 7.1 requires at least Windows 98. Later versions up to and including 12 introduced additional UI changes and feature additions. Windows Media Player 11 supports Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, but Windows Media Player 12 is only available as part of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later Windows versions. Microsoft ceased active development of Windows Media Player after Windows 7 shipped in 2009, making Windows Media Player 12 the final version of Windows Media Player. It is still included in Windows 8 and later, but its functionality has been superseded by the new Microsoft Movies & TV and Groove Music applications.[a]

The name Media Player was revived in Windows 11 as Microsoft redesigned the Groove Music app to also support video playback. The new version was first introduced in November 2021 and was then publicly released to all users in February 2022. In order to distinguish it from the modern Media Player application, the older player is renamed to Windows Media Player Legacy since Windows 11 2022 Update.

Versions[edit | edit source]

Windows versions[edit | edit source]

Compatibility[edit | edit source]

Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0 Windows 3.1x Windows NT 3.1 Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows 98 Second Edition Windows 2000 Windows Me Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 Windows XP Windows XP Service Pack 2 Windows Server 2003 Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Windows Vista Windows 7 and later
Media Player Y Y N N N N N N N N N N N N N
Media Player 2 N A Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N
Windows Media Player 5.2 N A N A A N N N N N N N N N N
Windows Media Player 6.1 N N N A A Y N N N N N N N N N
Windows Media Player 6.4 N N N A A A Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N
Windows Media Player 7.0 N N N A A A A Y N N N N N N N
Windows Media Player 7.1 N N N N A A A A Y N N N N N N
Windows Media Player 8 N N N N N N N N N Y N N N N N
Windows Media Player 9 N N N N N A A A A A Y Y N N N
Windows Media Player 10 N N N N N N N N N A A A Y N N
Windows Media Player 11 N N N N N N N N N N A N N Y N
Windows Media Player 12 N N N N N N N N N N N N N N Y
Not available

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The Movies & TV and Groove Music applications are not available for server counterparts of Windows 8 and later.