Make Windows Media Player the default audio player in Windows 8

If you're spending most of your time in Desktop mode, you might not want Microsoft's Music app to be the system's go-to player.

Like many Windows 8 users, I spend most of my time using Desktop mode, which affords me a more Windows 7-like experience.

However, every so often the OS kicks me into an app that I don't especially like or want to use. For example, my home-phone service (Ooma) delivers voice-mail messages to me as MP3 email attachments. When I open one, it fires up Microsoft's Music app, which inconveniently bounces me out of Desktop mode.

And, needless to say, if I want to listen to a song from my collection, double-clicking it produces the same result: the Music app.

I want audio files to open in the same place they did in Windows 7: Windows Media Player. Fortunately, that program is still around in Windows 8; it's just a matter of modifying a setting so it becomes the default. Here's how:

1. If you're in the Start screen, type default, then click Default Programs when it appears on the left side of the screen. If you're already in Desktop mode, open up Control Panel, then click Default Programs.

2. Click Set your default programs, then wait for the list of installed programs to populate.

3. Scroll the list until you find Windows Media Player, then click to select it.

4. Now you have two choices. You can make WMP the default player for just about every kind of media that supports it--music, videos, etc.--or you can pick individual file types to associate with it. Enable the former by clicking Set this program as default, the latter by Choose defaults for this program. I went with the first option.

5. When you're done, click OK.

Now, whenever I open an MP3 file or video or whatever, it'll appear in Windows Media Player, which is just how I like it. What's your preference for listening to audio in Windows 8?

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Photo / videoWindows 8applicationsMicrosoftmusicWindowssoftwareoperating systemsvideo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?