Sunday, December 4, 2011

Features removed in Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player 10 was the best version of WMP Microsoft ever released and in Windows Vista, Microsoft completely demolished it. Features have been just ripped apart. Finally, in Windows 7, Microsoft made it completely unusable by re-designing the UI. The worst “feature” of recent versions is the user interface and no addins or hacks can change that. Version 12’s UI is such an incredibly bad and unproductive, unorganized mess that this alone is reason enough to stay with Windows XP if you are a devoted WMP fan. Windows Media Player 10 can be sequenced using App-V on Windows XP and made to run on Windows 7 using the App-V client if you are really determined. You will have to sequence DirectShow filters like ffdshow too as part of the WMP10 package so all file formats will play. The benefit of sequencing WMP10 is that you get a decent player back on Windows 7 without touching WMP 12 or damaging OS components.
And here’s a list of features Microsoft shamelessly eliminated in Windows Media Player 11 and 12:
Windows Media Player 11

● Album art is restricted to a resolution of 200 x 200 in version 11 or to 240 x 240 in version 12.
● The List Pane no longer allows deleting or editing items by right clicking items.
● Categories in the player library such as Music, Pictures, Videos, Recorded TV show limited media information (metadata) columns, relevant only to their content type. In previous versions, all possible metadata columns were shown for all category types.
● Buttons to always show full-screen controls, show or hide the playlist while in full-screen mode and directly close Windows Media Player from full-screen have been removed.
● Auto sorting in the media library (similar to auto sorting in Windows Explorer) cannot be turned off.
● Grouping cannot be turned off. Library content is always grouped by the criteria by which it is sorted.
● The ability to add media to the library for searching local or network files and selectively adding only new files or existing files has been removed. Media can only be added from monitored folders.
● The seek slider cannot be always shown when playing media. The mouse must be hovered over the progress bar above the playback controls to reveal the seek slider.
● The sort order is not preserved in the library like Windows Media Player 10 as long as the player is open.
● The file list of selected files has been removed from the Advanced Tag Editor.
● Next and Previous buttons to cycle through visualizations have been removed.
● Most Auto Playlists included by default in Windows Media Player 10 have been removed.
● Library options to configure what action to take when double clicking files (Add to List, Play All, Play Selected Items) have been removed.
● The total playlist time is no longer shown in the Now Playing list or in the Library without selecting items. It is only shown in the Library for selected items.
● Total number of tracks is also only shown after selecting all tracks. The total size in MB is not shown in any view.
● The expandable tree view was removed from the navigation pane/left side of the media library.
● The Quick Access Panel, located next to the "Now Playing" tab in Windows Media Player 10 which enabled browsing the library via a pop-up/dropdown menu, has been removed. As a result of this, the library cannot be browsed through a menu and without having to switch to library view.
● It is not possible to change the media player's background to black. Instead, the background is a near-white shade of the color chosen in the color chooser.
● In previous versions of Windows Media Player, the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl + I" could be used to capture the frame of video being displayed at the time the shortcut was initiated. This feature was removed for Windows Media Player 11.
● The License Management tool available in prior versions of Windows Media Player has been removed since version 11. It is not possible to back up and restore licenses. This prevents users of music download services from directly using Windows Media Player to back up their licenses and restore them to another computer. The user now must depend on the download service being able to assist with re-acquiring that license. Not all services support this so in some circumstances the user could lose the ability to play media which they've purchased for use with Windows Media Player 11. e.g. Walmart states: "Important Note: In many cases, we cannot replace song and license files if they are lost. We strongly suggest you back up your music by creating an audio CD or CDs using Windows Media Player 11"
● Windows Media Player 10, which is downloadable for Windows XP and part of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 includes the Fraunhofer MP3 ACM codec for ripping to MP3 format. Because of licensing restrictions, Windows Media Player 11 includes only an MP3 decoder, not an ACM encoder.
● The HighMAT burning capability integrated into Windows Media Player 10 is not available in Windows Media Player 11.
● Display Anchor window when in skin mode option has been removed.
● Enable picture support for devices option has been removed.
● The Ambience, Bacteria, Particle, Plenoptic, Spikes, and Musical colors visualizations have been removed.
● On Windows XP by default, Windows Media Connect 2.0 does not work after Windows Media Player 11 has been installed. Windows Media Player 11 includes the UPnP AV server for sharing media across the network which replaces similar functionality in Windows Media Connect, however it does not include the client, unlike Windows Media Connect. Only the Windows Vista version includes the UPnP AV streaming client.

Windows Vista-specific Windows Media Player 11 removed features:

● The options to use the legacy renderer, overlay mixer, video mixing renderer (VMR-7) or high quality mode (VMR-9) are not available in the Windows Vista version of Windows Media Player 11. The Windows Vista version can use only the Enhanced Video Renderer (EVR).
● Support for live scrubbing or live seeking, that is, the ability to show the video frame after seeking with the mouse or after clicking with the mouse while paused is not available in the version of Windows Media Player 11 in Windows Vista and later but is supported in Windows Media Player 11 on Windows XP.
● The configuration tab to associate with media file types has also been removed from Windows Media Player 11 options in Windows Vista.
● On Windows Vista the ability to remove or reinstall Windows Media Player 11 is not present, as it is integrated with the operating system.
● Windows Media Player 6.4 (mplayer2.exe) has been removed like it was removed in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. The MCI version of Media Player (mplay32.exe) has also been removed.

Windows Media Player 12

● Windows Media Player's taskbar-integrated Mini-player has been removed.  The thumbnail preview which replaces this lacks volume control and a progress bar. The ability to start the mini-player only for certain files based on specific text in their file names was also removed.
● The Advanced Tag Editor (ID3 tag editor), which allowed users to edit metadata for media files file, is removed. The tags can still be edited en-masse by displaying the tag column in the Library, selecting a group of tracks and left-clicking the tag to edit, or by installing a third-party tag editor, for instance the Windows Media Player Plus! add-in. The user can also still edit the tags from Windows Explorer by right-clicking Properties on the file to edit and selecting the Details pane.
● The ability to add and show static lyrics and synchronized lyrics has been removed.
● The "Party Mode", "Color Chooser" and "Media Link for E-mail", features present in previous versions of Windows Media Player, have been removed in version 12.
● The context menu entry "Find In Library" which allowed locating the Now Playing song in the Windows Media Player library was removed. The context menu command "Open file location" can be used to locate the song in the Windows 7 Music library in Windows Explorer.
● The option to adjust the bit rate when burning data CDs has been removed.
● Enhancements are only accessible from Now Playing view in a floating window. They do not dock to the Now Playing window, and do not get restored when Windows Media Player is restarted. Even when manually restored, their position does not get saved.
● Several player preferences are not saved and restored upon restarting the player. The playlist pane in Now Playing view is not shown automatically unlike previous versions. Enhancements do not get restored when Windows Media Player is restarted. Even when manually restored, the previous position of the Now Playing window and enhancements is not retained.
● The ability to index monitored folders in a background service. This makes it necessary to manually open the GUI on the server to index content for streaming.
● The 'Now Playing' item in the Library Tree (between Playlists and Library while songs are playing) has been removed removing the possibility of easily displaying (and overall editing) additional columns while listening.
● The capacity of directly editing a playing item by removing both the Advanced Tag Editor and the Now Playing library item.
● The Beats Per Minute (BPM) column
● The ability to lock the player while in full-screen mode using a 4-digit PIN has been removed.
If you must upgrade to Windows 7, don’t use the POS that is WMP 12. Use another usable media player like Media Player Classic – Home Cinema, or Media Monkey or good old Winamp.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey! At least you can do a register hack to enable the media player toolbar in WMP 12, Win7 or higher!

xpclient said...

And that hack circulating on the internet to restore Windows Media Player 11 or its toolbar won't keep the integrity of all your files in your Windows installation as it replaces key Windows Media Player 12 files with older components. The Media Player process (WMPlayer.exe) doesn't exit properly once you replace files using that hack.

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Paul Coddington said...

I actually like the fact that the new media player uses the UI skin rather than the ugly black thing it was, so for me the Win 7 media player is the best so far. Dropping DVD playback for Windows 8 is a pain though. After all, I only want one media player on my system that does everything through plug-ins, not multiple players from different companies fighting each other for control of my Music folder!

The advanced tag editor in Windows Vista never worked properly. It had too small a text box for lyrics and routinely corrupted meta data without warning. 3rd party plug-ins for tagging have their problems, but at least they are available, free, and work fine once you understand their quirks.