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I'd like to make sure my Windows Media Player star ratings are backed up. I've noticed that Windows Explorer shows the star ratings as well.

Where are these ratings stored? Are the files themselves modified somehow to reflect the rating?

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If WMP's Maintain my star ratings as global ratings in files setting is enabled (Options - Library), then WMP will definitely store the ratings in MP3, WMA and M4A files (M4A requires WMP 12). I don't think any other types are supported but I'm not 100% sure.

As for backing up the ratings, the Metadata Backup tool can export all library info including ratings to an XML file, and can import this info back if necessary.

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Thanks for the pointer to Metadata Backup. This is exactly what I have been looking for. It's ridiculous that Microsoft doesn't make this data more transparent and easily exported/imported/backed up. –  glenviewjeff Mar 28 '13 at 1:40

In Vista and later Windows versions at least WMP and Explorer store the ratings (for MP3s) in POPM tags (see discussion here for details) in the files themselves:

By default, the Player stores your user rating information in your individual digital media files. Some previous versions of the Player stored user rating information in your Player Library database file. For more information, see the question about saving ratings in Media information: frequently asked questions.

Remember however that you may have to use the Tools menu / Apply Media Information Changes command as mentioned here.

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Those apply to mp3 id3 tags, but there are many other different types of media that Windows Media Player supports rating: wma, mp4, avi, etc. Any ideas about those files? I haven't tested it by copying files to a different computer, but I'm a bit skeptical that each file type supports a rating field. –  glenviewjeff Mar 24 '13 at 19:38
    
You can always compare copies of the same file before and after rating. The other file formats might be tagged using XMP. –  Karan Mar 24 '13 at 19:45

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