Microsoft Upgrades Home windows Media Participant, however Will Anybody Truly Use It?

Microsoft is rolling out a brand new media player for Windows 11 for all Windows insiders in the Dev Channel.

Simply called Media Player, the program can play all of your local music and video files with a design that matches the aesthetics of Windows 11.

It's essentially an updated Windows Media Player, although the two programs will exist separately. But the big question is, will anyone use the new media player? Let's explore.

The history of Windows Media Player

Confusingly, when Windows Media Player came out in 1991 under Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions, it was called Media Player.

Of course, with each new iteration of Windows, the program kept evolving and eventually came to be known as Windows Media Player. It grew to support more video formats, DVD playback, music visualization, and media streaming.

Many used it for its ability to rip and burn CDs and DVDs. If you wanted to transfer songs from a CD to your computer, you probably used Windows Media Player.


The last major update to the software was Windows Media Player 12 in 2009 for Windows 7. It has been replaced by Groove Music in Windows 8, although it is still an optional feature in that operating system and all future versions.

Related: How to Download Windows Media Player 12 for Windows 10

Now, as announced on the Windows blog, Groove Music will be retired to Windows 11. In its place is a new program called Media Player.

Image source: Microsoft

The media player is made available on the Dev Channel for Windows Insiders. This is how Microsoft tests features before they are released to the public.

According to Microsoft, "the new media player was developed to make listening and viewing your multimedia content under Windows 11 more pleasant". It has a playback view that presents album art and artist pictures. The entire app fits perfectly with Windows 11 and its rounded corner aesthetics.

For now, Media Player's focus is solely on the offline experience of managing and playing your local music and videos, although Microsoft welcomes your feedback on features you would like to see through the Feedback Hub.

Image source: Microsoft

If you currently use Groove Music to manage your music collection, it will be migrated to the media player. It also automatically integrates content from the music and video files on your computer, although you can specify other folders manually.

Microsoft is aware of some existing issues such as: For example, intermittent playback of network locations and errors editing album metadata or sorting library content with accented characters. Future updates will focus on new ways to browse your media and manage your play queue.

While the new media player replaces Groove Music, the traditional Windows Media Player remains available in Windows Tools.

But all of this begs the question: is anyone actually going to be using Windows 11's new media player?

For the average pc user, maybe. Since the media player comes with Windows 11, and is likely the default player, many will use it without consciously choosing to use it.

For others, they have used one of the many other great free media players – most likely the VLC media player which is one of the best media players of the time. It's free, open source, supports most video codecs, is constantly being developed, and is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.

It's unlikely that this group will switch to a new media player, especially one that is still in its infancy and that lacks many of the features they are used to. But perhaps Windows 11 media player will become a worthy competitor in time. Ditching your Windows Media Player and Groove Music bags is a good place to start.

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About the author

Joe Keeley
(739 published articles)

Born with a keyboard in hand, Joe immediately started writing about technology. He has a BA (Hons) in Business and is now a full time freelancer who enjoys making technology easy for everyone.

Posted by Joe Keeley

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