TUTORIAL Ever tried dragging and dropping FLAC files into Windows Media Player, only to realise that they just won't stick? Here's an easy fix to finally turn WMP into the fully capable FLAC and OGG player you've always wanted it to be!

I've always (well, for many years anyway) been using foobar as my go-to music player in Windows. Light-weight, simple and never any hassle. But most of all, it has native FLAC support, which is my favoured audio format when transferring my CD's to the computer. Not only does it keeps the audio quality fully intact, but also enables tagging and indexing just like mp3's. Plus, it saves some disk space thanks to its superb lossless compression. What I like about Windows Media Player (WMP), however, is the library feature, letting you browse through your vast music collection with an ease. You can also get some advantage of your 64 bit machine, by using the well-hidden 64 bit version of WMP, which makes it extremely fast to work with.

But if you've ever tried dragging and dropping FLAC files into WMP, they just won't stick. That's because Microsoft's player still doesn't support this lovely audio format, oddly enough. Not right out of the box, anyway. In order for it to start accepting the FLAC format, you'll need two pieces of additional software. They're both free, luckily, so reason to fret here.

Add FLAC support to Windows Media Player

First and foremost, you'll need a package called "opencodecs", which will add support for not only FLAC, but also various OGG audio formats to Windows Media Player as well as other DirectShow based media players.

Download opencodecs here

Secondly, add tag and library support

The second piece of software you'll want to download is a WMP Tag Plus. It's not an absolute necessity, but it adds the benefit of including your FLAC media in the library of Windows Media Player - which it otherwise cannot, as it lacks the capability of reading the tags of the files (information such as artist/band, song and album title etc, stored within the files).

This could take a while...
Download WMP Tag Plus here

Right after WMP Tag Plus finish installing, it'll give you the opportunity to automatically scan your library for FLAC and OGG files. Once that is done, you should be good to go!

Before installing!

Needless to say, perhaps, but make sure you exit out of any media player you have open before installing these bits of software. For me it all worked like a charm right away, even in the 64 bit version, but if you want to play safe you can always do a reboot first. That way, you'll know for certain that the codecs and plugin have been registered properly in your system.

Good luck!

See also