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Windows Media Player FAQs
Posted by - NA -, Last modified by on 30 June 2006 01:17 PM
Q. What do DRM, protected files, and media usage rights mean?
A.

DRM, which stands for digital rights management, is a technology used by content providers, such as online stores, to control how the digital media files you obtain from them are used and distributed. A file that is protected with DRM requires media usage rights to be delivered with the file. The media usage rights define how the protected file can be used. For example, a right may give you the permission to play the file on your computer (a play right), burn the file to an audio CD (a burn right), or sync the file to a portable device (a sync right). Each right can have certain qualities, such as the following:

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The right to play a file on your computer an unlimited number of times

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The right to sync a file to two portable devices five times per month

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The right to burn a file to an audio CD twice

A second kind of protected file is one that was created when copy protection was turned on when you ripped music from an audio CD.

It is not possible to remove DRM from a protected file. However, if you have a file that was copy-protected when ripped from a CD, you can turn copy protection off and then rip the file again. For more information, see How do I turn off copy protection when ripping music from a CD?

Note that in earlier versions of the Player, media usage rights were called licenses.

Q. How do I tell whether a file is protected and what I can do with it?
A.

To determine whether a file is protected, do one of the following:

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Display the Protected column in the library. For information about displaying columns in the library, see Windows Media Player Help.

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Right-click a file you are playing in the List pane, click Properties, and then click the Media Usage Rights tab (called the License tab in Windows Media Player 10). If the file is protected, the terms appear in the box that is displayed. If nothing appears in the box, either the file is not protected or the file is protected but the rights are not present on your computer. If nothing appears in the box, it might be due to one of the following reasons:

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The file is not protected.

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Your computer is missing the media usage rights for the file.

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The media usage rights for the file have expired.

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The file has not been downloaded to your computer. For example, the file might be subscription content that is stored on an online store's Web site.

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Create an auto playlist of protected files in your library. To do so, use the criteria Protection is present in the auto playlist. (An auto playlist called Music tracks with content protection is included with Windows Media Player 10 that you can view to identify protected music files in your library. For information about viewing the auto playlist, see Windows Media Player Help.)

Q. I can no longer access my protected files. What should I do?
A.

There might be a problem with the media usage rights for the files. To help identify the problem, try playing a protected file and then clicking the error icon next to the file (Windows Media Player 11) or right-clicking the file and then clicking Error Details (Windows Media Player 10). Typically, a message will be displayed that gives information and instructions for resolving the problem.

If you obtained the files from an online store, check to see if the rights are missing or expired. For information about checking the rights, see How do I tell whether a file is protected and what I can do with it? If the rights are missing or expired, contact your online store to find out if the store provides the ability to restore or renew rights. Note that if the DRM system on your computer is corrupted, you must fix the corruption before downloading new rights. For more information, see Why do I get an error message that the rights (or licenses) for my files are corrupted or not valid?

If you are using Windows Media Player 10 and you have backed up your licenses, you can try to restore them. (It is not possible to back up and restore licenses in Windows Media Player 11.) For information about backing up and restoring licenses in Windows Media Player 10, see Windows Media Player 10 Help.

If the files you want to access were ripped from a CD, it is possible that copy protection was turned on during ripping and that the limit for the number of times new rights can be downloaded for the files has been reached. For more information, see When I try to play a file, a Web page is displayed that says I need to download more rights and mentions something about migration. What does this mean?

Q. Why do I get an error message that the rights (or licenses) for my files are corrupted or not valid?
A.

The DRM system on your computer is corrupted. This problem may occur if you have replaced hardware components in your computer. As a result, existing media usage rights on your computer may not work correctly, or it may be impossible to download new rights. To resolve this problem, you can reset the DRM system on your computer and then try to obtain new rights for your protected files from the content provider. The procedure for doing so varies, depending on the version of the Player you are running.

click to expand Windows Media Player 11

click to expand Windows Media Player 10

Q. Why am I prompted to download a new version of the Player or upgrade security components when I try to play a file?
A.

This typically occurs when you are trying to play, burn, or sync a protected file and the content provider, such as an online store, requires you to install the latest version of the Player before you can use the file. To download the latest version of the Player, click the link provided by the content provider or see Windows Media Download Center.

Note that even if you have Windows Media Player 10 installed on your computer, you still might not have the most recent version of the Player available. Microsoft periodically posts newer versions of the Player (including newer versions of Windows Media Player 10) to the Windows Media Web site. When Microsoft makes relatively minor improvements to the Player, the digits at the end of the version number are incremented (for example, version 10.00.00.xxxx could be replaced with a more recent version such as 10.00.00.yyyy).

Q. When I try to download the Player security upgrade, I get a message about a "date certificate." What should I do?
Q. Why do I get a message that rights can't be downloaded when I am trying to play a file?
Q. Why do I get an error message that says no backup licenses can be found when I try to restore my licenses?
Q. When I try to play a file, a Web page is displayed that says I need to download more rights and mentions something about migration. What does this mean?
Q. When I try to download more rights, why do I get a message that says the rights can't be downloaded because they already have been downloaded 10 times?
Q. How do I turn off copy protection when ripping music from a CD?
Q. My question isn't answered in this FAQ. What can I do?
Q. How do I find information about error messages?

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