As I'm switching over to creating video with Windows Media 8, it becomes necessary to get the hang of the evil Windows Media Player 7. Almost everything about it is a downgrade from the beloved 6.4 with superb interface and load time. But it is needed to play most Windows Media 8 video properly.
If you haven't done so already, head on over to Windows Media site and download WMP7. Install it and continue.
One good thing about installing WMP7 is that it still leaves 6.4 untouched. And it is possible to just use .WMV files with WMP7 and everything else (including ASF) with WMP6.4. That is, when you double click on the movie files, it will play it in appropriate version that we want. It's very simple:
First launch WMP7. Go into options, under the Formats tab, uncheck everything except for "Windows Media Audio/Video file" like so:
Click OK, close WMP7. Launch WMP6.4 located in \Program Files\Windows Media Player\mplayer2.exe. Go to Options, under the Formats tab, check the formats you want it to play. Make sure to leave "Windows Media Audio/Video file" untouched like so:
Click OK. All set. Now only WMV files will launch WMP7 while AVI, MPG, ASF, etc. will still launch 6.4. If you go into options again in WMP7, you may notice that it checked everything again. It seems to import options from WMP6.4. However, unless you touch them they will not be applied thankfully.
Now you can enjoy WMV without much change to your system. If you need a good skin, I recomment the Classic skin that is included by default. Also another good one is this one. It remembers the windows size just like in 6.4. Interface is not as pretty as 6.4, but usable. Both are also very fast loading unlike some others I've used.
For more help on WMP7:
- Microsoft Knowledge Base
Should be your first stop for any problem with a Microsoft software
- WMP Mini-FAQ
Quite technical FAQ from a developer of WMP
- Newsgroups: microsoft.public.multimedia.windows.mediaplayer & microsoft.public.windowsmedia.player
Discussions on WMP7
- Media Jukebox
If you absolutely cannot use WMP7, this is your alternative. I've verified that it indeed does play WMV files encoded with WM8 VBR. Hopefully there'll be more soon. (such as next version of PowerDVD. That'll be sweet)
- WMP7 skins at skinz.org
Many different skins. Be careful though, since which skin you use seems to have big effect on load time