Windows Media Player: Unable to arrange by composer


Jacob L

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I've just posted this on the "Ask Microsoft" site but I doubt anyone there will suggest an alternative to WMP/WMP-Legacy.
This is my first post on this forum.

All that said:
Greetings Y'all.

Bottom line on top: On Windows-11, both versions of Media Player are missing my most important feature. The rest is commentary.

I have Windows 11 on my HP laptop. I loaded some music on it and started the newer (I think) Media Player (Version 11.2305.4.0). I can't find any way to enable a menu bar; none of the "right-click" suggestions I've found are of any use. And there seems to be no way to display my library by composer.

So I gave up on the new WMP and tried to use Media Player Legacy (Version 12.0.22621.2070). At least there I can enable the menu bar! However, unlike the version I'm still using on my Windows-7 laptop, it offers only three music arrangement options:
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Genre
The version on Windows-7 offers (under the Music heading) to arrange by:
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Genre
  • Year
  • Contributing Artist
  • Composer
  • Folder
Actually, I can't turn it on right now, pending a repair, for all those options. (Not sure about folder option.) Also, because I cannot turn it on now I can't see the version thereof but I do recall it was also version 12, albeit a number lower than I indicated above.

To me, the most important option is Composer. Is there any way, any setting (I've gone through all the settings I could find) that would restore the familiar items to the arrangement. I really hate when a vendor dumbs down a product after encouraging users to upgrade. (HP has done this with printer drivers software. YARGGGHHHH!!! 🏴‍☠️)

If the option fails to materialize I will gladly abandon WMP for any other free software wherein I can build and maintain a huge music library. AND!!! arrange by composer.

Suggestion or solutions, please? Thanks much for help here.
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 11 Home, OS Build 22621

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    17"
foobar2000
 

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Hello @Jacob L and welcome to Eleven Forum. :-)


Foobar2000.png





I have mine set to be basic... but at the Foobar2000 website click on screenshots at the top.
Also... click on Download > and scroll down for "Additional Downloads"
The pic at the right is a downloaded "Visualization" plugin.

Foobar2000.png
 

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My WMP [legacy] lets me arrange by Composer.
WMP, Sort by Composer.png

What is stopping yours doing it?


Denis
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
it offers only three music arrangement options:
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Genre
The version on Windows-7 offers (under the Music heading) to arrange by:
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Genre
  • Year
  • Contributing Artist
  • Composer
  • Folder
Those are the names of some common filters that can be added to the WMP Navigation pane.
So I do wonder if you are referring to the WMP Navigation bar display settings rather than the ability to arrange by composer.
WMP, Navigation bar settings.png

I have chosen to let mine filter by Artist, Album, Genre as illustrated but I could equally well have added in filtering by Composer if I had wanted.

And in this screenshot I have done exactly that.
WMP, Navigation bar settings - Composer added.png


WMP in Windows 10 & 11 is almost exactly the same as it was in Windows 7 apart from the inability to play DVDs.


All the best,
Denis
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
Hi Dennis.

Based on your reply alone I would not have know how to get to that side menu with the check-boxes (including [ ] Composer) You omitted (or I just missed it) an essential component: How in blazes to open that blessed menu. Fortunately someone form Microsoft did reply: Where the music menu has the three items - Artist, Album, Genre - if I right-click on the word "Music" I get that list of check-boxes you displayed and can check [✔️] Composer.

Thanks for the confirming info. But mainly, thanks for informing me that WMP Legacy can't play DVDs. Like I said, dumbed down software!
Fortunately I have installed VLC so I should not lack for media playing, should I attach a portable DVD player.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP
    CPU
    Intel 4-Core I-5
    Memory
    32GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
You omitted (or I just missed it) an essential component: How in blazes to open that blessed menu
Organise, Customise Navigation pane takes you to the list shown in post #5.
WMP, Organise, Customise Navigation pane.png

And you can also get to it by right-clicking on almost anything in the Navigation pane.

Denis
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
Hi there

@Jacob L


I believe mp3tag (free) can "re-arrange / rename" music files which is presumably what you want regardless of what player you use to play them with.

Other software (paid though) such as dbpoweramp can do all sorts of things as well but for a simple rename is probably over the top.

Another easy trick if you can use EXCEL is to get the file names into a spreadsheet and then jiggle it around until you've got a sort by composer etc. It's easy enough to get a directory listing into a spreadsheet.

Another easy way if you don't like EXCEL is to use the free Mariadb (MySQL database) and do the same thing : I.E just load the file names as a table into the DB, sort on composer and voila - you've got your directory(ies) sorted and you can play the files with any music player you like. Winamp still works as does VLC, KODI and a zillion and one other ones.

I'd really junk the windows media player - pretty well ANYTHING is superior these days. BTW VLC can play DVD's although you probably need to install the decryption module -- in Linux it's libdvdcss or lib2dvdcss. Not sure on Windows but I'm certain there's an equivalent plugin for VLC on Windows --otherwise just rip the DVD's to iso's with a program like slyfox AnyDVD.

Advantage of that is you can then play DVDs on remote smart TV or through a firestick or similar attached to a TV without needing a physical DVD player or DVD discs.

I'd look at mp3tag though first.


Cheers
jimbo
 
Last edited:

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Greetings, Jimbo.

Thanks for your suggestion about mp3tag. On the older PC I've been using it for years to properly set up the details of music I've downloaded from YouTube. And Audacity to break up single-file works into their individual movements. (Like a symphony) although I know these can play music, I've never really thought of them as my media players; mainly for maintenance of my music files. But not of my music libraries.

I used to be a fan of iTunes and Real Player but those gave me grief in burning CDs.

> Another easy trick if you can use EXCEL is to get the file names into a spreadsheet...
Jimbo45, that itself is no easy trick! I should open a separate thread on this. I think I have used QDir to export directory listings to an Excel (or LibreOffice) spreadsheet. But I don't want to chase this off-topic issue in this thread.

Now, Dennis, I think your answer was good for Media Player Legacy, judging by the orange icon with the white arrowhead and, indeed, I've used that menu. But that depends on having a menu bar in the first place. On the other hand, for [what I think is the] dumbed-down, new Media Player, here is what I see:
1693405847745.png

No menu bar. No obvious option to display a menu bar. There is a "Settings" sprocket icon at lower-left (which I left out of the screen-shot) but that also provides no option to display a menu bar.

I'd like to use the updated and new software but not at the cost of dumbing it down from previous versions. If you can show me how to get what I need I'll stay up-to-date on this software.

Thanks all for helping and even the less immediately helpful suggestions. These show me I have more software to download.

-- Jacob L
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP
    CPU
    Intel 4-Core I-5
    Memory
    32GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
But that depends on having a menu bar in the first place
The WMP, Organise entry is shown even if you do not have the Menu bar displayed [a setting that can be toggled by Ctrl-M].

WMP 12.0 in Win10
WMP, Menu bar on.png - WMP, Menu bar off.png

WMP 12.0 in Win11
WMP, Menu bar on - Win11.png - WMP, Menu bar off - Win11.png


I cannot advise you about the new Media Player.


All the best,
Denis
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
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