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Windows 7: Windows Media Player - Frequent "not responding" status

31 Aug 2012   #1
Jim T

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1
Windows Media Player - Frequent "not responding" status

It is my impression that, like many others have noted, Windows Media Player 12 is less stable than its' predecessors. I make use of the Play To/media streaming features, so switching back to WMP 11 is not a good choice for me.

Even after running the WMP troubleshooter, uninstalling/re-installing, limiting the music library to one hard drive (thus excluding the back ups), and, setting the WMP update feature to once a month, I still have to put up with frequent periods of "not responding" and the "working" icon. This prevents any use of the WMP until it decides it is ready to work. These episodes take place several times a day; both upon WMP start up and when working with/making menu choices in the WMP.

In case it could be a factor, I am pretty much certain my system is currently virus and malware free.

I have a large music library I frequently work with (20 to 40 thousand tunes and growing - depending on how far I get in transcribing my LPs into digital format for inclusion in the WMP library). Some folks have said that WMP is not the best choice for a very large library.

So, I tried both WimAmp and Media Monkey. WinAmp seemed a lot less intiutive learning curve-wise and was also less fun to work with. MediaMonkey initially seemed like it would do the trick; so I purchased the full package. However, after a few weeks, I must have inadvertently given it the wrong command because it started to take over my library and started undoing all my analog to digital work of the past few years. The worst thing was it was renaming all my correctly named analog to digital song titles to "unknown."

No action on my part seemed to stop MediaMonkey from trying to rename all my song titles; not even uninstalling and re-installing. So, I switched back to WMP a few months ago.

Is there anything that can be done to make my WMP work with more stability and fewer "not responding" periods? If it is the size of my library, how big a music library can WMP handle without getting hung up? Is there a way to store my music library on an external hard drive or some other way to increase the operating efficiency of my WMP (to get fewer "not responding" episodes)?

I use my WMP pretty much every day; sometimes several times per day. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2012   #2

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600

have a look here and click the windows media player icon ,maybe you get lucky,

Microsoft Fix it Solution Center: troubleshooting software issues

i have several hundred Gb of music and gave up on wmp some time ago
( for the same problems as you have),
i now use winamp, i managed to get it looking good,
ive stopped using media players to show my library, i browse in explorer for an album and select "play all" it seems to work well, no updating and monitoring folders seems to keep the player running well.
i have been playing with the playlists feature in winamp and thats a good way to play multiple folders based on different criteria ie genre, star rating , dates played last etc. quite a nice feature.
there are a handfule of decent plugins for winamp, the best being it can continue from where the player closed.ideal for a massive playlist

sorry i dont have a fix for wmp, i used to really like the album view, but i have gotten used to winamp, it has a lot more features than appears on the surface.
i like the ability to select the album playing list and send it to the auto tag, from that you can use mp3tag and selecting the tracks then click tag to filename, which renames the files in explorer, a godsend if you have many albums to rename you mentioned.

give it a try if only to sort out your renaming media monkey messed with
good luck with the fixits.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2012   #3
Jim T

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1

Thanks for the quick feedback. The site suggested has nothing new; nothing I haven't tried. Although, interestingly, this time the Windows troubleshooter came back with "no problems detected"; instead of suggsting I reload my library or do the uninstall/install dance.

I do wonder if turning off the automatic updates would help? Is there a great risk there?

Re - WinAmp (noting that my first non-WMP preference would be to regain control over MediaMonkey; since I paid for the full package), I wonder about the following, maybe you could comment:
  1. My impression is that WinAmp doesn't support the Play To feature (I also send music to a Sony SA-NS400 speaker in another room) or media streaming in general (a concern since my computer, Blue Ray, and TV are now beginning to play nice and work together after a month of tinkering and exploring).
  2. In addition to my speaker in another room, the Blue Ray player and the HDTV are Play To options. It is nice to be able to send whatever selection or play list I want *wirelessly* to my hi fi system as well as to the remote speaker.
  3. I would like to keep both of these Play To/media streaming features if at all possible.
  4. Have you noticed any other losses (features/functions) you would have rather kept with the change from WMP to WinAmp?
  5. What about the music library size factor? Could storing my music library in a different way - and I'm not sure what that would be - help WMP to run more smoothly? (Or, would turning off the automatic updates by itself help with this?)
Thanks again. I'll keep checking back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Aug 2012   #4

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600

you could try removing the music folder from libraries, and empty wmp, then just use wmp to play or send music etc,
selecting your music from explorer instead, that would be the way to keep wmp lean. and uncheck the "add to library when played" in player options.

im not au fait with the "sending to" features in blue ray or smart tv's, but if you were to try it and it was unsuccessful or you didnt like the changes then its just a case of re adding the music folder back to the library and letting wmp rebuild itself.
personally i dont think there is much risk in the auto updates being turned off, you could check manually now and then, the fact is it gives you every day ,once a week or monthly so change it to monthly.
and i doubt the auto updates has a great deal to do with the not responding issue.
to be honest the only feature i miss was the album view, you can have an album view in winamp, its not as straight forward as it was in wmp so i dont use it i have a very basic winamp setup. but nicely skinned ...
(click to enlarge!)

Windows Media Player - Frequent "not responding" status-winamp2.png

minimized sits nicely on the taskbar

Windows Media Player - Frequent "not responding" status-winamp3.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Sep 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Is the music library on an external USB hard drive? If it is, perhaps you've caught the hard drive "napping" on idle. If you were to access the hard drive directly and then run WMP, the wake-up would occur before the run.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Sep 2012   #6
Jim T

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1

Oohh! The last suggestion is indeed intrieging. I do store a large music library, about 1/2 of a 1 Terrabyte, on a external Seagate hardrive. I thought doing it that way would ease the burden on the WMP.

Maybe doing that is the problem or at least affects the problem? Would switching my music library back to my system's internal hard drive address the frequent "not responding" periods on the Windows Media Player?

Also, do I lose my Play To and media streaming features if I switch to another media player? The info in the set up instructions for the Sony SANS 400 indicates it is only set up to respond to wireless input from a WMP.

I have to leave shortly for a big gig. I'm running the sound board, mikes, and speakers for a medium sized outdoor private party. Someone else is doing the initial set up. Then, they're turning it over to me. It will also be my responsibility to see that everything gets packed up safe when the music ends around midnight.

So, I'll follow up, including checking out the hard drive suggestion, tomorrow or as soon as possible.

Thanks to both responders. This has been a most frustrating problem. If I can get a stable media player that also allows me to stream music to a remote speaker and also allows my home audio to access my music library, that would be the best - the cat's meow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Sep 2012   #7

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600

good luck with that, :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2012   #8
Jim T

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1

Hmmm... only time will tell, but (knock on wood) things seemed to have dramatically improved after two recent changes. Rather than go back and make one change at a time, I'm going to go with what I've got right now. I'll post an update down the line.

Here are the recent actions that seem to have noticibly improved my WMP's performance and stability:
  1. Moving the library back to the main/C drive and dropping all external hard drives from the WMP library. Based on recent experiences in another aspect of computer operations, it seems that depending on a USB 2.0 connection can affect speed and overall performance. Perhaps this extends into WMP performance when the music library, "now playing", and all related WMP functions must depend on a USB 2.0 for communication?
  2. Doing Media Player Troubleshooter. For me it was the umpteenth time in the past several weeks, but I figured "What the heck?" This would be the first time since moving the library back to the C drive exclusively, so I figured it was worth a shot.
  3. A completely new action - for me - aka Step 5 from this site's Windows Media Player Troubleshooting guide. "Re-registering all concerned dll's." A bit of a leap of faith to do this. But, so far, so good.
I'll post an updated report after a few days or so of use. I'm crossing my fingers the apparent improvement in stability and performance stick around.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Media Player - Frequent "not responding" status

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