An even easier way to get Windows Media Player to single-step a video

Since my original article explaining how to get Windows Media Player to single-step a video, I've learned that there's an even easier way.

  • Pause the video.
  • To single-step forward, Ctrl+Click the Play button.
  • To single-step backwrd, Ctrl+Shift+Click the Play button.

Backward-stepping is dependent upon the codec; some of them will go backward to the previous keyframe.

The person who tipped me off to this feature: The developer who implemented it.

Remember: Sharing a tip does not imply that I approve of the situation that led to the need for the tip in the first place.

Comments (17)
  1. Chriso says:

    Nice to know, thank you. I am using Media Player often, so stepping through a video is nice thing to have.

  2. Cloud says:

    Now I think the only feature I can't figure out how to use properly in WMP is subtitles and Videos with multiple audio tracks.

    Last time I tried, WMP just played EVERY audio track at the same time :|

  3. John says:

    The only person on the face of the earth who knows about this feature: The developer who implemented it.

    At least the previous method is buried in the documentation.

  4. Anders Elfgren says:

    What's wrong with needing to single-step a video?

  5. Jonathan says:

    Anders: I presume that by situation, Raymond meant "having to ask the developer to find out about a feature".

  6. rs says:

    Thanks for the tip! That even works in my ancient version of the media player.

  7. Crescens2k says:


    This also depends on filters. It is quite easy to get this to work with no problems just by installing the right ones.

  8. Troll says:

    The most natural way (no guesswork required) would have been to use left and right arrow keys when paused as Media Player Classic does. WMP 12 and 11 are some of the top reasons I avoid Windows 7 and Vista. WMP 10 was the BEST version. If somehow I could virtualize it using App-V or ThinApp on Windows 7.

  9. James Schend says:

    @Anders Elfgren: Last time Raymond posted a tip about Windows Media Player, the comments were filled with people saying "you shouldn't use it!! Use another program!! etc." He's trying to pre-empt comments like that.

  10. Bob says:

    Can you ask the developer who tipped you off to it to bind the left and right keyboard arrows to single step forward and backwards?

    [I could, but it wouldn't help. That developer no longer works on the Windows Media Player team. -Raymond]
  11. 640k says:

    EU still rightfully bans wmp from windows, have to intall WGA, and download wmp, and install it before using it. No thanks.

  12. steveg says:

    640k… troll alert! troll alert! Don't fall for it.

    On topic: I thought MS was not in favour of secret features? OTH it's kinda useful.

  13. 640k says:

    Lemme ask. Is ms dog fooding wmp to it's european developers?

  14. NoP says:

    @640k: what the hell are you talking about? The EU gets the very same versions of Windows (IE, WMP and everything else integrated), just like the US.

  15. Worf says:

    Yay. It seems Raymond didn't make good on his threat to kill the tips sections!

    Everyone but Raymond: Let's keep it that way. Before now, practically one person knew (besides Raymond). Who knows what other tricks Raymond might reveal that only the developer knows? It could be useful and save time or bypass annoyances.

  16. Mike Dimmick says:

    @640k: It's not banned. Microsoft just have to make Windows 7 N – the version with no Media Player, stupid product name as agreed with the European Commission – available in the marketplace alongside regular Windows 7, and they're not allowed to make it more expensive. Therefore, the price is the same as regular Windows 7. Because it is optional, and it costs the same, no OEMs ship Windows 7 N and the only place you're guaranteed to find it is in your MSDN Subscription.

    Microsoft reportedly claimed that only 1,500 copies of Windows XP N editions had been sold to OEMs, and zero consumer sales. The reference on Wikipedia isn't cited or dated.

    The Korean government did the same with Windows Messenger, which is why Windows XP Home and Professional K and KN Editions existed. The problem was solved in Windows 7 by no longer bundling Windows Live Messenger with any edition of Windows.

    The authorities got a bit smarter with the bundling of Internet Explorer, there is an automatic update defaulted to download and install called the 'Browser Choice' update – once applied it unpins IE from the taskbar and you have to explicitly select it to get it back. Fortunately it isn't a critical update as far as WSUS is concerned, so I've declined it through WSUS and won't have to handle the support calls.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why is it not advisable to use Windows Media Player? Because it changes the interface in every single version. Which software does that except WMP, I dunno! Really! Completely changes the interface in EVERY version.

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content