Most of the programs Microsoft includes with your operating system—WordPad, Outlook Express, and Backup—tend to be pretty limited in what they can do: write a simple document, send some email, make you think you ought to pay for a better backup program. But to the company’s great credit, Windows Media Player, which comes with XP, is better than decent. It’s a powerful multimedia jukebox that lets you play and burn music CDs, listen to Internet radio stations, and even watch Web videos and DVDs.
The downside to Windows Media Player is that many of its multiple talents come buried inside a maze of dialog boxes and menu choices. And you might not be aware of other programs that can make Media Player even more useful.
That’s what this chapter is all about: helping you get the most out of Media Player. Below you’ll learn about ways to make Media Player look more stylish, help produce better sound, and what to do when your music files start skipping more than an old LP. You’ll also learn some helpful tricks for playing DVDs and for speeding up the way you control the program.
The hints in this chapter describe features and menus in version 9 of Windows Media Player. While most hints also work with version 8, some of the menus and buttons may be different.
You can tell which version you have by opening the player—Start → All Programs → Accessories → Entertainment → Windows Media Player—and then choosing Help → About Windows Media Player. The box that opens ...