I need to tweak a WinXP Pro machine (well, several of them, actually) to start Windows Media Player on startup, and have it begin playing its current playlist immediately.

I've considered doing a .bat script, but I can't find the command line parameter that lets me tell WMP to simply start playing whatever playlist it currently has loaded.

Of course, if it's easy/easier to do this by setting up WMP as a service, I'll gladly do that instead.

How would you recommend approaching this problem?

Edit: Some context might help. The machines in question are rigged to behave as in-house cable TV channels for assisted living facilities and the like. They mostly show slideshows (with announcements, dining menus, etc.), and a lot of clients like to use WMP to play background music.

The machines are set to auto-install any OS updates from Microsoft. The problem is that this tends to make them reboot, which has the effect of knocking-out WMP until somebody notices and restarts it. This can result in very grumpy clients.

Thus, not only do I need to start WMP on startup, I need to get it playing whatever its existing playlist happens to be.

  • What version of WMP is on these computers? There are some potential registry hacks, but it depends on the version. – Dillie-O Aug 23 '10 at 16:03
  • @Dillie-O: WMP 11; as long as media player updates are a part of Microsoft's update packages, they'll have the latest version. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 16:14

I did a little digging, and there is an auto-generated play list of most recent items located in the following directory:

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player\lastplayed.wpl

Using the command prompt and simply specifying this file fired up Windows Media Player and started up the playlist with a few songs that I had dragged to a playlist, but did not save.

You should be able to add a simple start menu/registry command that launches Windows Media Player targetting the file above.

I got this to work in Windows 7 with Windows Media Player 12, but there shouldn't be any issues updating the paths for XP and Windows Media Player 11 should have the same folder structure.

  • Unfortunately, I'm not having any luck turning up an equivalent file for XP/WMP 11. Damn. This looked like a winner, too. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 17:56
  • Wait, scratch that; I failed to account for the sucktastic wretchedness of Explorer's "Search" feature. C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\lastplayed.wpl may well be exactly what I'm looking for. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 18:48
  • I just found an old online reference that used that path as well. Hopefully it'll work. – Dillie-O Aug 23 '10 at 21:17

If you save the playlist, than add the playlist to the start up menu. When it loads it auto plays the playlist.

  • Clever, but I don't think I can use it. See my edit; I'd need something that auto-saves the playlist and automatically adds it to the startup menu. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 15:29
  • Actually, in conjunction with Dillie-O's solution, pretty nifty. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 21:28

This worked for me... I was trying to use a playlist upon startup on Windows 7. I found the info at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHgKNKN-nG8 But the directions are as follows:

1) Go to My Computer

2) Double click: C drive

3) Double click: Users

4) Double Click: "Your user account" (Whatever that is)

5) Go to Folder Options (for me its under Organize), Select View, select Show hidden files folders and drives.

6) Click apply

7) Double Click: AppData

8) Double Click: Roaming

9) Double Click: Microsoft

10) Double Click: Windows

11) Double Click: Start Menu

12) Double Click: Programs

13) Double Click: Startup

14) Then copy a "shortcut" of the playlist (or file) to the startup folder.

Thats it, you're done... You can close out of that window... Just make sure you follow the first 5 steps and uncheck "Show Hidden Files" (Organize>>Folder Options>> View>> Don't Show Hidden files folders and drives).

Hope this helps



Can't you just add the media file you want to play into startup? If it is correctly associated it should start the file straight away.

Just tried this on my XP VM and worked a treat.

  • See my edit. Unfortunately, it's not a specific file that I want to play, it's whatever the user defined as the most recent playlist for WMP. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 15:29
  • I think you will struggle, as often in the case of the above where its a windows update shutdown, the shutdown won't necessarily be clean and therefore won't necessarily save the playlist. – Kip Aug 23 '10 at 16:16
  • Perhaps. But WMP seems to remember its prior playlist fairly well. And given the low stakes, having something that works MOST of the time will be perfectly acceptable, even if it doesn't work ALL of the time. – BlairHippo Aug 23 '10 at 16:25

I created a shortcut as follows:

"%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe" "C:\Users\Administrator\Music\Playlists\favs.m3u"

My playlist is obviously named "favs.m3u"

I tested this on a Windows 8 PC and a Windows 7 PC.

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