I'm experiencing a strange issue with Windows Media Player 12 on Windows 7. I'm quite sure it has a link with the following two posts:

Description of the problem

Let's first describe the environment. I have a large music collection (18000+ files), all encoded in WMA. All these files are embedding well-formated metadata (I really did tag each of them). The files may be accessed using a network share, hosted on a Windows machine. This network share has been added as a location of the music library.

When I launch Windows Media Player 12 (WMP) for the first time after a fresh install of Windows 7, it begins to scan the music library normally. Songs' metadata are properly extracted, and the music files are well-sorted. However, after roughly 15-20 minutes, WMP seems to be unable to extract metadata anymore. The background scan does not stop, but all the newly detected music files are sorted as "Unknown artist", "Unknown album" etc. I can let WMP scan the whole library: at the end of the process, more than 60 percent of my collection is missorted.

Since this issue occurred at every new installation of Windows, I had time to develop defense strategies. While WMP scans the whole library, I keep an eye on the "Unknown artist" category (which in fact shouldn't exist at all). When I see it grows, I would close WMP and relaunch it a couple of seconds later. There, WMP resumes scanning the library normally. I usually have to perform 3 or 4 relaunches for each complete library scan.

Solutions which didn't help

Here is a list of hints and solutions which didn't help to solve the issue.

  • File corruption issue
    One may obviously think my music files are somewhat corrupted. And yet they're not: when missorted files are accessed using Windows Explorer, tags are shown properly. Another piece of proof is that previously missorted files are now perfectly sorted, as their importation rank shifted with new folder additions: in the past, files from artists whose names begin with "C" were all missorted; then the folder dedicated to artists whose names begin with "A" grew; this made me close WMP before it reaches the "C" letter, and I when I relaunched it the "C" artists were perfectly sorted.

  • Network issue
    I'm almost totally sure this is not a network issue. The network works smooth; no slow-downs, no interrupts. When WMP begins to bug, the music share is still available; and if that was a network issue, I think we couldn't explain why a simple relaunch of WMP fixes the problem.

  • Windows Media Player Database Corruption
    Clueless. The problems appears on fresh installs of Windows; I can't believe the database went corrupted each time. Deleting database files and purging the cache does not help at all.

  • Windows Media Player Installation Error
    The same as above. It always happens on fresh installs; I don't think WMP has installation errors as an habit. Furthermore, re-registration of wmp.dll does not help either.

  • 64 bits issue
    The bug appears both on x86 & x64 versions of Windows and WMP.

What next?

I'm beginning to think this is a real bug. I was not able to find a way to fill and send a bug report to Microsoft. Do you have other ideas what this issue may come from? If not, are there people which are experiencing the same phenomenon?

A similar discussion was opened on Microsoft Answers. No solutions so far.


I have found the same issue with my computer. The only thing I could figure is that there is not enough RAM to handle a growing database of that size. I could be wrong though.

My solution: If you have a large enough hard drive, is to have a tmp folder with all mp3 files in it, and not have it recognized in the library of WMP, Have an empty Music folder tied to WMP library. Drag and drop all the "A"s in the empty Music folder, and wait until WMP finds them all. (Update Complete) Then do the "B"s...,and so on.... It takes forever, but that is what I had to do. Hope this helps.. If there is a quicker way, I don't want to know it now.

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