WMP: How to Erase, Reset, and Correct Your Windows Media Library

Your media library in Microsoft Media Player giving you fits? Just blast it and start over. This is a easy way to get WMP to reindex your music files.


If you move a ton of music around like I do, your media library through Microsoft Media Player gets jacked up. To fix it, the easiest thing to do is just to erase your old library files… and have WMP find your new files.

This will not erase your music files.

How to Get WMP to re-index your music:

    1. Close Microsoft Media Player for at least 30 seconds
    2. Click Start and then Run
    3. Type the following into the textbox:
    [list]%userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player

4. Click OK and a folder showing you your library files will appear
5. Erase all the files that end with .wmdb
6. Open Microsoft Media Player
7. Push F3
8. Select the locations for your music files
9. WMP will reindex your music

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent Advice! Worked perfectly!

  • http://hyperlink.tk Richard

    Excellent if windows media player is using 100% CPU and freezing or stuttering

  • Anonymous

    didn’t work for me. In the Add to Library dialog folders didn’t show and when I manually added the folders and clicked ‘OK’ nothing happened.

    What else should I do?

  • Brandon

    This is why media player is crap. Wake up microsoft , the fact that people have to do this should be a great clue to what to do with your player in the future. How hard is it to fix it, really? Apple seems to be able to do this. Do the people at micorsoft that work on this just sit around and do nothing all day???

    • superdave

      i would like to point out that i havethe same issues but much worse with itunes and haven’t found any solutionyet

    • southron_98

      I am not a computer person but I do a lot of correspondence and due to a speech impediment cannot spell worth a darn. I’ll set in WORD trying to spell a word and never get close but jump over to GOGGLE and using the same letters it correctly selects the correct word. Tell it to Microsoft they don’t care.

  • Tony

    This is really useful if your XBox refuses to update the videos in its media library and nothing you do seems to work.

  • sd

    thanks

    • James C

      If WMP is still not adding files, it might be because they’re marked as “Hidden” on the filing system. Files copied from out from an iPod, for instance, are hidden by default.

      Right click on the top of your music folder and untick the “Hidden” box, then make sure you select the option to apply to all files and subfolders when asked.

  • Daniel

    Excellant, thank you!

  • http://www.tutorialnut.com/ Phil

    Great, thanks. Works fine with Media Player 12 on Vista too.

    • Anonymous

      Gotta a PS3. It detects the Media Player Sharing device (my PC), but when navigating thru folders on PS3, it says no titles. This started to happen after I renamed a folder on my PC.

      Any ideas as how to reset Devices list on the sharing list in Media Player in Vista…???

  • Anonymous

    I HAVE TWO C.D.’S IN MY LIBRARY NAMED “UNKNOWN NAME 10/31/09″.
    I CNNOT MAKE A COPY OF THEM BECAUSE A SIGN COMES UP THAT SAYS
    “MISSING MEDIA USEAGE WRIGHTS,CONNECT TO INTERNET AND ADD MEDIA INFORMATION. HOW DO I DO THIS?

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/levidos levidos

    Thanks :D

  • Selcukseber

    thank you solved the problems

  • Synchronizprayer

    Tried everything else first.. This works, thank you!

  • Sam

    Thanks heaps! This solves one of those irritations I’ve had with WM player

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sultan-Orange-Blue/1004724859 Sultan Orange Blue

    thank you this is help me :)

  • Wb640

    Did not solve my problem yet, of WMC not showing my movies anymore. Also, the *.WMDB files were locked, had to issue before deleting first these:
    taskkill /F /IM ehshell.exe
    taskkill /F /IM ehtray.exe
    net stop /y WMPNetworkSvc

  • Tazz3L

    Thank you! This worked for me with the added step of having to go into safe mode to delete the last of the library files. The WMP re-indexed everything, including my play lists!
    (I had to use safe mode for the last library file because XP kept saying the file was in use and it could not delete it.)

  • Laurelwreath Hope

    I have Win 7 and Media player 12. The only change was I drop the [list] in the command line deleted the files and opened the Media player and volia everything was working great. Thanks so much for this it really helped!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Logan-Young/717901559 Logan Young

    Very simple, but were it not for this guide, I wouldn’t have found it. Thanks a lot.

    @Brandon: The necessity for this has nothing to do with Microsoft. The need to do this comes out of how we maintain our file systems. Things get moved, removed, replaced, copied, overwritten, etc. You can’t expect WMP to know where you’re moving your music to all the time…
    It’s simple housekeeping. Every few months, clear out your library as per above, reset your library folders and import your music again. Now I know about this guide, I’ll be adding this on my bi-yearly maintenance along with defragging my drive.

  • Aloush37

    will doing this delete any playlists?

  • Banhmi_keppate

    tks bro i worked perfect

  • Sai Das

    Searching on Step #3 produces nothing in W&U 64bit WMP12

    Now what?

  • Lucas

    Thanks. I was doing it a far more tedious way before. I should have thought of the .wmdb thing. :)

  • Joe

    If I wanted to completely backup my music directory, including the windows media library, would it work if I manually copied my music directory (with all the files) and then copied these very same .wmdb files to the same directory on the backup PC??

  • Libby

    Thank you so much! I was about ready to bash the computer with a baseball bat because I was having so many problems with my library on media player. Fortunately I found this, and in no time flat, my library was the way I wanted it! I can finally listen to my music again! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  • Saeed Aquib Ahmed

    thank you vry vry vry vry vry much….

  • A’.

    Worked like MAGIC! Thank youuuuuuu. [:

  • wayne lee

    top man thank you!

  • sam

    YOU’RE GOD!
    THANKS I LOVE YOU (:

  • 6SpeedRon

    Great advice. Thanks.

  • WakenBaken

    Eh, thought I’d try this to reset my library, but no dice, there’s is however 1 .wmdb file that can’t seem to be deleted

  • ravi

    awesome tip..
    thanks bro…

  • jonie148

    Thank You so much, saved me a lot of stress after i mucked my library up. windows 7 users (and probably windows 8) should note (as stated above by tazz3l) that you need to go into safe mode first to get rid of 1 of the files.

  • hadi

    exellent , good job.

  • Brooke

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
    My files weren’t deleting, and this was the ONLY thing that worked!

  • princesaam

    OK guys, i got this one problem, when i add all my music to the windows media player, some off them appear and some doesn’t, and how ever i do this, it will still appear as a “ghost”, but if i go straight to the file and play the music, the music is gonna play but still not gonna be automatically added itself….?? help guys

  • Nikhil

    Very Good Work…Helped me alot…! Thanks..

  • Lachlan Coe

    Thank you!!!. WMP is crap bt i cant have iTunes as it freezes on my computer :( But this has made WMP work again, mine was littered with corrupt songs aout 300 of them and about 600 duplicates, but now i’ve only got the music that’s on my hard drive :) not what WMP THINKS is on my HDD.

  • michael o’sullivan

    Thanks very much, this worked but almost straightaway all the songs that were not displaying on wmp originally went away again. Any ideas what I can try to stop this?

  • Zoso

    Thank you so much for posting this! Out of all the problems I’ve had with my computer, this one really set me off the most and I really thought the worst! Glad it’s starting to fix itself as I’m typing this! However it came at a price… all my additional info from the 2 custom lists which I stored my release dates, and most of the labels and play counts are all gone. But at least I got it to work without having to upgrade to a version I really don’t want. THX again!

  • CindyH

    I was able to delete all the .wmdb files EXCEPT the CurrentDatabase_360.wmdb. I receive an error that says: Cannot delete CurrentDatabase_360: It is being used by another person or program. Close any programs that might be using the file and try again.

    When I open WMP…all my songs are still there…

    Suggestions?

    • Odeon

      Previous commenters said they needed to boot into Safe Mode to delete one of the .wmdb files but they didn’t mention which one. You might try rebooting your computer regularly and trying to delete the file again. If that doesn’t work try Safe Mode by pressing F8 just after your computer’s HP/Dell/Asus/whatever logo disappears, then pick Safe Mode (don’t bother with Safe Mode with Networking or other Safe Mode options). You may need to press F8 several times to see the Safe Mode option.

  • Odeon

    This didn’t work for me. In my case any time I tried to “Manage Music library” no window would open up. The same would happen for “Manage Pictures library” and “Manage Videos library.” I found out that this was happening because I moved my multimedia files from a smaller drive to a larger one that was connected via USB (in a drive dock) and I changed my Windows Library locations to the new drive before disconnecting it. I was replacing the drive with the larger one in the dock so when I removed the small one and installed the bigger one internally the drive letter of the bigger drive took the letter of the old drive and WMP was pointing to a disconnected drive.

    I found a Microsoft Community thread where a non-Microsoft person has the Most Helpful reply (the third post on the page): http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-pictures/wmp12-does-not-allow-me-to-manage-my-music-library/0cd1c322-5e6c-43c2-9e16-81dd5e94a1a8?tm=1361216210630. I had to make a change to the Windows Registry so that My Music, My Videos, and My Pictures pointed to the E: drive instead of the H: drive.

  • http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/1045/wmp_how_to_erase_reset_correct_windows_media_library/ Erin

    Hi. I’m a little slow at this but when you say “click Start then click Run”, what is Run exactly? Do you mean hit Enter? Or type in Run and hit Enter?
    I tried just pasting in “[list]%userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player” under “Search programs and files” on the Start menu, but my computer only recognizes it when I remove the “[list]” part (without quote symbols, of course).
    I have Windows 7 on a laptop, no Smart touch stuff.
    Thank you in advance.

    • John

      > T Have the same experience as Erin. I “click Start but there is no Run”. I enter Run and hit Enter. I too paste in “[list]%userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player” under “Search programs and files” on the Start menu, but my computer only recognizes it when I remove the “[list]” part (without quote symbols, of course). I then get a list but there are no .wmbd files.

  • John

    Dead end from the start. What version of Windows are you talking about? I have Windows 7. I click start but there is no “run”. I can enter run and get a search box but this string finds nothing. I can not even locate the directories you are talking about.

  • HBee

    Absolutely helpful! Cheers

  • Andy Page

    In case anyone else finds this article and is using Vista like I am (yes, still!) The path to the files is:

    C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player

    Vista also displays the files as ‘Windows Media Library’ files but they are still ‘WMDB’ files.

    Thanks for the article, even if I am about a million years late in finding it!

  • MHMD

    thanx alot

  • Raphael Torres

    I found an easy way to reset WMP 12.
    1. Open WMP
    2. If you don’t see the menu bar [File, View, Play, Tools, Help] click on Organize>Layout>Show Menu Bar
    3. In the Menu bar click Tools>Avdanced>Restore Media Library.
    4. Pop up will say “Continuing will empty your media library and close the WMP. Do you wish to continue?
    5. Click Yes and your done!

  • Gilbert Collins

    This did totally nothing. Just can’t get rid of the library EVEN THOUGH I did delete those files

  • Erik

    Worked beautifully! Thanks for the help! I’m fed up of having to work around Windows OS stupid bugs.

    By the way, if anybody is having problems deleting the *.wmdb files, because it gives you an error saying that Windows Media Player is currently using one of the *.wmdb files, you should check this webpage out:

    answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-pictures/cannot-delete-library-in-windows-media-player-12/67a971f8-5660-4408-9a9b-387ddcbc2269

    Works fine!

  • Tracy

    Thanks
    Been looking for awhile now, and this is the only thing that worked!!!!
    Kudos!!!

  • eye

    thankyou for this help

  • dzontra volta

    Thank you for your help. I couldn’t erase nonexisting playlist from library.

  • Marie

    i doens’t work

  • Doris

    This won’t work on my machine, what version of Windows is it for?