Installing Windows Media Player 11

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Windows Home Server ships with Windows Media Connect 2.0 installed enabling many uPnP devices to access digital media on your server. Unfortunately, some of the newer devices (including Sony's Playstation 3) do not function with Windows Media Connect 2.0, and require Windows Media Player 11 to run and this is not available or supported on Windows 2003 (which Windows Home Server is based on).

The following is an excerpt from a post[1] on the Microsoft Windows Home Server Forums detailing a hack to enable Windows Media Player 11 to be installed.

To install Media Player 11:

  1. Download wmp11-windowsxp-x86-enu.exe
  2. Open this file in an extraction program such as WinZip or 7-Zip (I used 7-Zip)
  3. Extract the wmfdist11.exe and wmp11.exe and place them in separate folders on the C: drive of your WHS (not on a share). (this step was adapted from instructions I was following elsewhere - I'm not certain of the separate folders requirement, but I did it anyway)
  4. From the WHS admin desktop, right-click the wmfdist11.exe file and click properties.
  5. Go to the Compatibility tab and ticket the "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" box, and sleect Windows XP from the drop down.
  6. Click OK, and run the wmfdisk11.exe. Choose not to restart at the end.
  7. Repeat 4-7 for the wmp11.exe
  8. Reboot WHS, launch your newly installed Media player 11.

Now, that doesn't alter your Media Sharing setup at all. If you had Media Sharing turned on before, it will still be using Windows Media Connect 2.0 as included with WHS. So, to set up the newer sharing system:

  1. Open the WHS Console, go to Settings, and turn off Media Sharing
  2. This step is possibly optional, but I had to do it
    1. Click Start, right-click on My Computer, and click Manage.
    2. Browse to Services and Application > Services
    3. Find Windows Media Connect Service, right click it and click Properties
    4. Click Stop (if it is not already stopped)
    5. Set Startup type to Disabled (if not already)
    6. Click OK.
  3. Open Windows Media Player on WHS.
  4. Click the down arrow on the Library tab and click More Options
  5. Click the Monitor Folders button
  6. Add D:\shares\Music (or wherever your music is) to the list.

NOTE: Microsoft recommend you always use the \\servername\sharename method to access files on the shares, but WMP11 will not share files located on a UNC path without a lot of fiddling around (see "Q. Why can't I play files that are shared by one computer but located on different computer?"). This worked for me, and given that I'm only reading data using this method and not writing, I don't see the harm - if someone knows differently please tell me!

  1. Click OK and wait for files to be added to the library
  2. Now click the Configure Sharing button
  3. Tick the "Share my media to:" box and configure the settings how you want them by either clicking the Settings button to setup default settings for all devices, or click Configure for each detected client and set each client up manually.
  4. Click OK, OK, and close Windows Media Player
  5. Start your client of choice and relax.

UPDATE: If you find after following these steps that the Remote Access web page is throing an ASP.NET error (as I did), simply reboot WHS. This seems to be caused by stopping the Windows Media Connect Service.