Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Access Menu Bar in "Now Playing" Mode Windows Media Player 12

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It's always annoying when a subsequent version of a software program eliminates useful features. When a new version of a program requires more clicks to accomplish the same task, user feedback isn't being sought and usability tests aren't being conducted.

So it is with Windows Media Player 12.

It appears as though there is no way to anchor the Menu Bar to the Now Playing screen of Windows Media Player 12. In other words, when a song is playing or has just finished and you want to open a new song, you have to switch back to Library, open the song, and then click Now Playing again. (Note: the Now Playing screen is the view in which many people like to have Visualizations—the lines, colours and shapes that move around in tune to the music—turned on when playing songs.)

Window Media Player 12 Logo
However, there is a simple shortcut to access the Menu Bar (the tool bar with File, View, Play, Tools and Help) from the Now Playing screen. In addition, in this tutorial I will explain how to change Windows Media Player 12 so that when you open the program, it opens on the Now Playing screen.

This tutorial is for Windows Media Player 12 on Windows 7 operating system. There are two parts to this tutorial:
—To access Menu Bar from the Now Playing screen in Windows Media
Player 12
To change Windows Media Player 12 default opening screen to Now Playing

To access Menu Bar from the Now Playing screen in Windows Media Player 12:

1. Open Windows Media Player 12

2. Click Organize


01_click_organize_windows_media_player



3. Point to Layout

02_point_to_layout_windows_media_player

4. Click Show menu bar

03_click_show_menu_bar_windows_media_player



Note: Show menu bar is activated when there is a check mark next to it.


Tip: You can also activate Show menu bar with the shortcut
Ctrl + M (instead of steps 2–4 above).

5. Play your desired song
—Click File, and then click Open
—Navigate to the location of music file and click Open

Note: this step is not necessary in order to complete the instructions that show you how to access the Menu Bar from the Now Playing screen. This step is only included here to replicate the likely situation in which you would normally use these features.

6. Click View and then click Now Playing
04_click_view_now_playing_windows_media_player

6. Press the Alt key on your keyboard

7. Point to File and click Open


05_point_to_file_click_open_windows_media_player





Tip: You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + O to open the Open dialog box (instead of steps 6–7 above) and then navigate to your desired song.


8. Navigate to your desired song and click Open


06_click_open_windows_media_player


As far as I know, there is no way to anchor the Menu Bar to the Now Playing screen. However, this shortcut at least eliminates the annoyance of leaving the Now Playing screen to open another song.

Another thing you may have noticed is that you must navigate to the Now Playing screen every time you open Windows Media Player 12. However, you can change the default opening screen so that Windows Media Player 12 always opens on the Now Playing screen.

To change Windows Media Player 12 default opening screen to Now Playing:

1. Right-click the Windows Media Player 12 icon on your desktop

07_right_click_windows_media_player_12_icon







Note: If you do not have a shortcut icon on your desktop, you can right-click the Windows Media Player 12 entry in the Start menu. Alternatively, you can create a desktop shortcut by clicking on the Windows Media Player 12 entry in the Start menu and dragging it onto the desktop.

2. Click Properties


08_click_properties_windows_media_player









































3. In the Window Media Player Properties dialog box, under the Shortcut tab, click in the text box next to Target:











































4. Navigate your cursor to the end of the text string

5. Delete the text—"prefetch:1"— that appears after the forward slash: /

10_delete_text_windows_media_player










































6. In place of the text you have just deleted, type: "Task NowPlaying"











































Note: Do not include quotation marks when you type in the above text. Also, ensure there is no space after the forward slash, but that there is a space after "Task." Finally, ensure you delete any spaces after the new text you have typed in.

7. Click Apply


11_click_appy_windows_media_player










































8. Click OK

12_click_OK_windows_media_player

I hope that this tutorial will make Windows Media Player 12 a more enjoyable program to use.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steps 2-4 can be replaced with the keystroke CTRL-M. Use the "Open..." dialog for selecting your next song from the "Now Playing" screen by pressing CTRL-O.

Ken said...

^thanks for the tip. I will update the instructions to reflect this info.

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