I can view the properties (right click, properties, details) of a video file and it has a field for parental rating.

How can I add a rating to the file (the field is blank)?

There is the problem that if I can add a rating, someone else may be able to change it to circumvent parental controls on a video player. This isn't of concern to me at this time.

Edit: The file types are both .avi and .mpg.

Edit 2: I own the file and have 'full control'.

Edit 3: I should clarify, the field on the details tab is empty and read-only. I can't change it. Perhaps there is a setting elsewhere that changes the field to read/write.

Edit 4: I confirmed that converting the video to a .wmv file type does allow me to change the parental rating as well as many other properties. None of the properties on the Details tab can be changed for a .mpg file. This is not a practical option for me.

  • You should just be able to edit the field. Click to the right of the field name and you should be able to edit it, unless you don't have security privileges to edit the meta data. Sep 26, 2012 at 1:40
  • @Rhys: Clicking on the rating field where I would expect an edit box simply highlights the row. There is no edit box, no (right click) context menu, nothing. Perhaps there is a registry key to enable editing? An internet search did not uncover any solution, only several others with questions just like mine.
    – Les
    Sep 26, 2012 at 3:41
  • What is the file type? .avi/.mpg/.mov/... ?
    – Siim K
    Oct 19, 2012 at 13:33
  • It looks like you can edit the row but I am not sure of what information it is expecting. Oct 19, 2012 at 14:27
  • Just out of curiousity what is the purpose of what you are trying to accomplish? Is this for some sort of indexing/catologing where this kind of metadata is important for you to have or do you simply want to prevent people (your children maybe?) from accessing the video? No judgement at all if thats the case but there are definitely options for password protecting/locking down the file so only certain people can open it Oct 25, 2012 at 3:56

2 Answers 2


The standard Windows mechanism for setting Parental rating is the following :

  1. In Windows Explorer, right-click the file and choose properties
  2. In Details tab, under Content, click in the edit field to the right of "Parental rating"
  3. Type or modify the Parental rating
  4. Press OK

However, as far as I could see, this only works for some file-types.
For me it worked for .wmv files but not for .avi.

Another equivalent method is via the library of Windows Media Player, as is described in detail in the answer by @Serge or in the article How to Edit a Video Description.
However, this method doesn't work any better for .avi files than the previous one.

Conclusion: The Windows method of using a file's Properties in order to set Parental rating only works for Microsoft-sponsored file-types.

Just to also remark that these details of the video can be easily lost when transferring the file to a disk that is not formatted as NTFS (most external disks are formatted as FAT32 which does not support these details). This is therefore a very fragile container for video metadata, easily lost, not to be depended upon for the long-term.

  • 1
    The question is for "parental rating", not "star rating".
    – Les
    Oct 20, 2012 at 4:05
  • 1
    I should clarify, the field on the details tab is empty and read-only. I can't change it. Perhaps there is a setting elsewhere that changes the field to read/write.
    – Les
    Oct 20, 2012 at 14:04
  • 2
    Never mind - I saw your update. I'm sorry to say that this doesn't work for either .avi or .mpg. IMHO your options are: (1) Convert your videos to .wmv for which this works (2) Use a video catalog product that supports Parental rating and which doesn't use Microsoft's Properties/Details mechanism.
    – harrymc
    Oct 20, 2012 at 17:09
  • 1
    Can you suggest products with this capability?
    – Les
    Oct 20, 2012 at 19:14
  • 1
    Microsoft will only do so for its own file-types, which is one of the reasons that these file-properties are almost never used by anyone except Microsoft. The only alternative I can think of is to incorporate this info in the file-name, or to create sub-folders for each rating (which will also mean that you could set differing access permissions on folders per user-account).
    – harrymc
    Oct 25, 2012 at 14:13

To expand and add a source to @harrymc's answer:

The property "parental controls" is indeed only available for some types, but those types are not necessarily just the Microsoft sponsored ones. The are any files that have a bunch of metadata properties that are described here.

Unless you are thinking about writing a new file container that wraps around a .avi or .mpg file, and then writing a codec so that Media Player (or any other player for that matter) can read it, you are just out of luck.

The list of file properties that are available for any file can be found here.

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