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Windows Media Bonus Pack – Part 2

Friday, February 9th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Multimedia
 
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Windows Media Bonus Pack – Part 2

Now that you know about the basics of the Windows Media Bonus Pack (see yesterday’s newsletter), let’s move on to the second part of this article series!

So, tell me, how did you get along with those first upgrades we discussed in the last newsletter? Good, I hope! Now, as promised, let’s move on to some very interesting innovations in the PowerToys section of the bonus pack. It starts with:

Windows Media Player for Windows XP Tray Control

This is a neat little device that enables you to control the most frequently accessed controls of the Media Player from your system tray.

Click Programs, Windows Media Bonus Pack, Windows Media Player Tray Control and shortly after, you will see this little icon in your bottom system tray:

Right clicking this will reveal this menu:

By selecting the respective options, you may:

- Run the Media Player.

- Run this control when Windows starts.

- Clear the MRU (most recently used) list.

and

- Turn off the MRU.

That’s it. Sweet and simple, but so useful!

Media Library Management Wizard

Unless you are using the Media Player version 7, this unit is of no interest to you. Later versions include many of these functions already.

But, in the event that you do have version 7, here is how it works: Click Programs, Windows Media Bonus Pack, then the Media Library Management Wizard to install.

You will then have the following functions available to you.

Clean Up the Media Library: This will update your media library if, for instance, some files have been deleted or moved elsewhere on your computer.

Add New Files: As the name suggests, this will add any new files not yet included in your library.

Synchronize Track Information: This one has three options: download the latest track information from the Internet and add it to the files, add any existing track information from your library to the files and add any existing track information from files to the media library.

Download Album Art: This grabs what is available from WindowsMedia.com, so it can be viewed while playing the respective album, etc.

Rename and Rearrange Music Files: Here, the files are rearranged in the folder that you specify into a folder structure by the artist name and/or album name.

Okay, now, let’s move on to something that may be of more interest to all you media player users.

Playlist Import to Excel Wizard

This gives you the opportunity of creating a custom made playlist from all of your collection. The usual procedure would be to export a complete list of your recordings, rearrange them in Microsoft Excel (this can be done by using filters, if you know how to do that) and then import them back into the media player.

Clicking on the Windows Media Player Playlist Import to Excel Wizard option from the usual place, it will first of all, open up your copy of MS Excel and then this box will appear:

If you then select Click Here to Learn How, this will appear:

That will take you through the whole process, step by step. (If you have any problems, Microsoft gives a very comprehensive explanation here).

Now, let’s move on to what, in my opinion, is one of the most useful tools in this bonus pack.

PowerToys Skins

Open your Media Player and go to View, Skin Chooser. Like this:

You will then get this screen offered to you, but only if you have previously installed the Bonus Pack.

Select PowerToys from the list and after awhile, the brown box to the right will turn into a menu like this, with a whole range of options:

Take a look at all the choices you are given! Just about anything you could want to handle the content you have downloaded is there.

Here are the choices together with a brief description of what they do:

Turn all albums in the library into playlists.Every album you have downloaded has its own playlist created for it.
Make a playlist for every artist in the library.That could be fun, playlists by artist.
Place all content in random playlists of 70 minutes (for a copy to a CD).This could be fun for a party. Every track is assigned at random to make up playlists of 70 minutes each for burning to a CD.
Place all content in ordered playlists of 12 songs (for a copy to a CD).Note: The playlist is created according to the date they were created in the Media Library.
Place all content in ordered playlists of 70 minutes (for a copy to a CD).As previous, but 70 minutes long, also based on creation date.
Clear all playlists from the library.Does what it says, but bear in mind, you cannot get them back once they’re gone.
Place current playlist in random playlists of 70 minutes (for a copy to a CD).Breaks up the current into 70 minute smaller lists.

Finally, in this article, let’s go over something that will spice up your viewing when tracks are being played.

New Visualizations

Open up the Media Player, go to View and then Visualizations. You should find around six new visualizations that you can use, each with a number of variations (see screen shot below):

Select what you want and proceed.

By the way, if you want even more visualizations, click here and go to another Microsoft site that has a whole host for downloading. See some examples below:

So, that’s all for this second part. Cool, huh?!

Now, part three deals with what I consider the most exciting part: the extra features for the Microsoft Movie Maker program. Be sure to come back tomorrow for that!

See you then!

~ David Woodford

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