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In Windows Vista, Windows Media Player was working but now suddenly it is not. If I start it from the task bar or from a desktop shortcut to a specific MP4 video, nothing happens.

In Windows Task Manager I saw wmplayer.exe was present. When I killed this task and restarted WMP, it started no problem.

Does anyone know if there is a permanent fix?

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Have you tried reinstalling or updating it? – Ivo Flipse Nov 9 '10 at 21:38
@Ivo Flipse - thanks, I can try. However, since this does not happen regularly I might not be able to verify if it is fixed. – Wikis Nov 10 '10 at 16:30
@Iv Flipse - done the update as a first step. I'll report back here if it happens again (or not after a while). – Wikis Nov 10 '10 at 21:37
Well you safest bet is to simply use VLC or Media Player Lite ;-) – Ivo Flipse Nov 11 '10 at 14:35
@Ivo Flipse - now that is a seriously good idea, thanks! :) – Wikis Nov 11 '10 at 20:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've had this problem in the past with the Opera browser. and maybe with other programs too. It's rare. You just kill the funny process, and start it. I'm sure it has happened to many people and doesn't bother them. It's like asking why a program crashes.. it crashed.. dealing with it is what one can do about it.

One of the instances crashed. So it comes under the category of just a crash. But this has the added thing that a new instance won't start unless the old one is killed.

Sometimes i've thought it RAM related.. 'cos I think I may have had situations where a program won't start until I end task a different one. But this is probably not the case here, especially since wmplayer is probably small relative to the available ram you probably have.

I'd be interested to know the cause of that. Maybe a windows programmer might know what is going on. So could be made into more of a stackoverflow question.

Usually with crashes though, you don't know unless you are can see the code and what's happening in it. Not something anybody other than microsoft can do with windows media player. But since the not being able to start another instance is a problem i've seen in other programs , maybe this is a type of crash that programmers may know a little about. though I doubt it'll be much use to you. You've figured out how to deal with the crash.

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so you think it was "just a crash" and therefore no structural solution other than what Ivo suggested? Yeah, you may be right. It does seem to happen to many other people (Google this topic for many hits). – Wikis Nov 11 '10 at 8:16
It is a crash, and the solution you have is excellent and what everybody does. The only better solution is likely to be how to prevent it crashing like that, but you can't trigger it, so can't analyze exactly when it does or does not happen. I suggest changing WMPLAYER from full mode to skin mode, if you haven't already. Other than that, maybe you could try copying another version of it from another machine and using that, if you have v10, maybe use v9, or vice versa. – barlop Nov 11 '10 at 12:53
thanks! – Wikis Nov 14 '10 at 18:11

Check if Windows Media Player is running on startup. Maybe it tries to load on Windowsstart and hangs while loading. The moment you want to open it, the failed process is blocking your instance.

Update You can check if its running on startup by opening typing msconfig into the comandline. At the tab startup you can activat or deactivate programms running on startup.

Also, like Ivo Flipse allready mentioned, reinstallign and/or updating the player also may fix this problem.

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thanks, will check and get back to you. – Wikis Nov 9 '10 at 20:53
no, Windows Media Player is not running on startup. – Wikis Nov 10 '10 at 16:29

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