Working with Music Files & Windows Media Player
Last week's column on downloading songs from my web site (PCDon.com) generated a number of questions from readers.
Jack Nugent asked how to put an icon for Windows Media Player in his Start listings so that he can use it for burning audio CDs. There are many ways, but the following is probably the easiest — click Start>Search>All Files & Folders and type Windows Media Player into the Name or Part of Name box. At least one WMP "shortcut" icon will appear under Search Results. Drag it onto your Start button, and it will be added to the listings within.
The above procedure also works for putting other programs' icons into your Start listings, or onto your Desktop, and/or into your Quick Launch list.
However, not all will show up as ready-made shortcut icons during a search.
Instead, you may find a yellow folder labeled with your target program's name such as, say, "Windows Movie Maker" or "Stickies." Inside the former, you'll find a file named "moviemk.exe," and "stickies.exe" within the latter. These are the "exe" (executable) files that launch their respective programs.
Usually, the name of a folder and its exe launch file will be similar, but not always. Outlook Express' launch file, for instance, is "msimn.exe." Sometimes you may need to double-click one or more exe files to find the right one. When you find the target file, simply right-click it and then left-click Send To>Desktop (Create Shortcut). The resulting Desktop icon can the be dragged, or copied and pasted, into your favorite launch location(s).
Finding Lost Music Files
Back to the downloadable songs, Ken Perkins called to say that he had downloaded dozens but somehow lost them on his computer. I told Ken to click Start>Search>All Files & Folders and type .mid into the Name box. This would find all of Ken's "midi" files. I then suggested dragging these files into a folder that Ken had created by right-clicking his Desktop, choosing New>Folder and giving it a name.
Ken repeated the above steps for all of his .wav, .mp3 and other music formats. He said this worked perfectly, but some of the songs and videos wanted to play via a player other than Windows Media Player (the one I always recommend).
This can be fixed by opening Windows Media Player and going to Tools>Options>File Types and checking your favorite media formats, such as MP3, WMV, AVI, etc. I suggest doing this for all of your audio and video files.
Another way of doing this is to right-click any media file's name (such as, say, Stardust.mp3) and then left-click Open With. Windows Media Player will appear as one of the choices — but don't click it yet. Instead, click Choose Program. Now click on Windows Media Player, followed by check-marking "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file." Henceforth, all mp3 files will open in Windows Media Player.
A way of finding all your music files at once is to click Start>Search>Pictures, Music or Video>Music. This precludes typing anything into the Name box and will show the title of every music file on your computer. Just be sure that the Look In: box displays your Hard Drive C: and not just a particular folder.
PCDon.com also has a Search Box to help find the songs and performers you want.
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