Windows Media Connect can’t see my files


I’ll cover the common causes for Windows Media Connect (WMC) not exposing a file.  I’m going to limit the information today to files that are on the same computer as WMC.  I’ll cover network shares in another post.

 There are three common reasons why WMC won’t expose a file.

  1.  The file format isn’t supported
  2. The file permissions don’t allow WMC to read the file
  3. The file can’t be parsed by WMC (file is corrupt or has unrecognized content)

Let’s take these in order.

WMC supports files with the following extensions (the official list is here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/devices/wmconnect/faq.aspx#5_1).

 Audio

  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)
  • Advanced Systems Format (.asf)
  • MP3 (.mp3)
  • WAV (.wav)

Video

  • Windows Media Video (.wmv)
  • Microsoft Recorded TV Show (.dvr-ms)
  • Audio Video Interleaved (.avi)
  • MPEG-1 (.mpeg, .mpg)
  • MPEG-2 (.mp2, .mpeg, .mpg)

Picture

  • Bitmap (.bmp)
  • Graphics Interchange Format (.gif)
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpeg, .jpg)
  • Portable Network Graphics (.png)
  • Tagged Image File Format (.tif, .tiff)

Playlists

  • Windows Media Playlist (.wpl)
  • MP3 Playlist (.m3u)

If your media file isn’t in one of the above formats, then you’ll need to convert it to one of the above formats if you’d like to use WMC to play it back.  The two file formats that I hear about most often that aren’t supported are .MP4 and whatever the iTunes format is (I honestly can’t remember what the extension is).

The next most common problem is file permissions.  In order to share a local file the file must have read permissions granted to NETWORK SERVICE.  You can check permissions on a particular file using the cacls.exe program from the command line or you can do it in explorer.  Detailed instructions on how to fix file permission errors from explorer are found here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/devices/wmconnect/faq.aspx#4_5.

The last problem that is commonly encountered are file parsing problems.  For some reason WMC hits an error when trying to read the file.  If WMC can’t parse the file it doesn’t share the file.  There are a couple of ways to attach this problem.  First, if the file doesn’t play in windows media player it probably won’t play in WMC either.  Try that first.  If that works then it is still possible that the file can’t be parsed by WMC.  You should check the file-scanning log that is usually found at this path:

C:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Media Connect 2\FileScanLogFile.txt

Sometimes more detailed error information can be found.  This file can be quite large so it may take some time to find the particular file that you are interested in.

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