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Windows Media Player and Resulting Internet Communication in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Updated: December 16, 2009

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

In this section

Benefits and purposes of Windows Media Player

Overview: Using Windows Media Player in a managed environment

How Windows Media Player communicates with Internet sites

Controlling Windows Media Player to limit the flow of information to and from the Internet

Procedures for configuring Windows Media Player

Additional references

This section discusses how Windows Media® Player 12 communicates across the Internet, and it explains steps to take to limit, control, or prevent that communication in an organization with many users. Windows Media Player 12 is the version of Windows Media Player that is included with Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 when you install the Desktop Experience feature set. Other versions of Windows Media Player might differ from the version that is described in this section.

It is beyond the scope of this document to describe all aspects of maintaining appropriate levels of security in an organization where users connect to Internet sites or download items from the Internet. This section, however, provides information about Windows Media Player that can help you balance your organization’s requirements for communication across the Internet with your organization’s requirements for protection of networked assets.

Microsoft® Windows Media Player (also called the Player) enables users to play and organize digital media files on their computers and on the Internet. Users can search for and organize digital media files, and (with the necessary hardware) play CDs and DVDs, create custom CDs, and copy files to a portable device.

With the Group Policy settings that are available in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, you can configure Windows Media Player to limit access to certain non-business features. The management and deployment features enable you to bring customized media functionality to your organization’s employees.

Windows Media Player is an integral feature of Windows 7. Windows Media Player is not an optional Windows feature, and it cannot be uninstalled. It is an optional feature on Windows Server 2008 R2 when you install the Desktop Experience feature set. You can, however, specify a different media player or hide entry points to the user interface for Windows Media Player by using Programs and Features in Control Panel. You can also make certain aspects of the Player available for limited use or unavailable to the user in accordance with policies in your organization.

There are a variety of options available to you when you are considering how you want your users to interact with Windows Media Player. To help you assess what level of control to apply to your organization, the following table summarizes some of the configuration options.

Options for Controlling Communication with the Internet Through Windows Media Player

 

Options Degree of Control

Limit access to Windows Media Player: Choose a default media player other than Windows Media Player. For more information, see Procedures for configuring Windows Media Player later in this section.

Possible restricted access to media content (and no access to the Internet through Windows Media Player), but least flexible.

Allow access only to specific Internet sites: Allow users to use Windows Media Player, but with access to only those Internet sites that are approved for access by an organization’s policies. Use an inclusion list (through the firewall, proxy, or both).

Restricted access to the Internet, but requires knowledge of which external sites are trustworthy.

Allow Internet access only to selected users: By restricting Internet access to selected users, you restrict communication between Windows Media Player and Internet sites. For example, you can place most users on a network with a firewall that blocks Internet access.

Access to Internet is only available to users who need it most. Implies that training is provided to selected users.

Limit the Windows Media Player features that can be used: Allow users to use Windows Media Player, but with access only to certain features. Use Group Policy settings to configure Windows Media Player on clients.

For more information, see the following resources:

Controlling Windows Media Player to limit the flow of information to and from the Internet later in this section

Procedures for configuring Windows Media Player later in this section

Appendix B: Resources for Learning About Group Policy for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Moderate control and moderate flexibility. With this option, users have access to the Player, but you maintain control over which options they are able to use.

Free access: Allow free access for all.

Highest access to the Internet and media content.

 

The following subsections describe how Windows Media Player 12 communicates with the Internet and how to control the flow of information to and from the Internet.

The Windows Media Player interface opens locally when the user navigates through Start\Windows Media Player or double-clicks a local file type that is associated with Windows Media Player. Windows Media Player communicates with sites on the Internet if the user plays content on a site from a content provider. Windows Media Player also communicates with sites on the Internet if the user downloads skins, visualizations, or plug-ins, or if certain Windows Media Player options are enabled, such as metadata retrieval or automatic download of usage rights.

noteNote
The first time that Windows Media Player is opened, it prompts the user to configure settings such as whether to allow Windows Media Player to download CD and DVD information from the Internet or whether to send Microsoft anonymous usage information for the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. These settings can be changed later in Windows Media Player or by using Group Policy. (For information about using Group Policy to disable the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program, see Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program and Resulting Internet Communication in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in this document.)

When a connection is available to the Internet, and if the user consents, WindowsMedia.com supports the following key features in Windows Media Player 12:

  • Metadata retrieval

  • Metadata submission

  • Media Guide

WindowsMedia.com is a digital entertainment Web site that is operated by Microsoft and is integrated into Windows Media Player. All of the CD audio data, DVD data, and information that is displayed in the Now Playing feature come directly from WindowsMedia.com. The Media Guide is a set of Web pages provided by WindowsMedia.com.

noteNote
WindowsMedia.com also provides the Media Guide and the WindowsMedia.com Radio Tuner separately through a Web browser.

The Windows Media site on Microsoft.com supports the following key features in Windows Media Player 12 (when a connection to the Internet is available):

  • Downloadable skins

  • Downloadable visualizations

  • Downloadable plug-ins

  • Web Help for errors that occur in the Player

The Windows Media site on Microsoft.com also provides information through links in Windows Media Player 12, including the links in the following list. (If the menus mentioned in this list are not visible, right-click the taskbar and select Show menu bar.)

  • In the Help menu:

    • Windows Media Player online (information about using Windows Media Player)

    • Privacy statement online

  • In Tools\Options:

    • Security tab: Read the security statement online

For more information, see the Windows Media Home page.

Windows Media Player communicates with a number of other Web sites including the following:

  • Windows Media Player uses the Microsoft Web site to find information about online stores, which are Web sites that offer digital media content by subscription or for purchase. If a user decides to use an online store, the Player then communicates with that online store directly.

  • To support the playback of secure content using digital rights management (DRM) technology, Windows Media Player contacts:

    • Non-Microsoft media usage rights (license) servers.

    • Microsoft DRM upgrade service.

  • Software updates for Windows Media Player are available through the Windows Update Web site, which is described in Windows Update and Resulting Internet Communication in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in this document.

  • Windows Media Player is commonly used to play media on media servers that are run by content providers.

The following subsections describe various aspects of the data that is sent to and from the Internet through Windows Media Player and how the exchange of information takes place:

  • Information sent or received when specific features are used

  • Default settings, triggers, and user notifications

  • Logging, encryption, and privacy

  • Transmission protocols and ports

  • Enabling and disabling features

    ImportantImportant
    Group Policy settings such as Prevent CD and DVD Media Information Retrieval affect the way that Windows Media Player communicates with the Internet. For more information, see Settings that can be controlled through Group Policy later in this section.

When a user uses one of the features of the Player that is listed in Communication with the Windows Media site on Microsoft.com earlier in this section, information is sent to or from the Internet as described in the following list.

noteNote
The Tools menu is only visible if the user enables it. One way to do this is to right-click the taskbar and make sure that Show menu bar is selected.

  • Non-Microsoft DRM usage rights servers. When users try to play content that is protected with Microsoft DRM technology, the Player can be configured to automatically acquire media usage rights for the content from a usage rights server. The process of acquiring usage rights, previously known as licenses, might also cause an update to the user's DRM revocation and exclusion lists. These lists are used to block compromised applications from accessing secure content.

  • Microsoft DRM upgrade service. The upgrade service provides users with the option to upgrade their DRM components in case the secure content that they want to play requires an upgraded component that supports the higher level of security.

  • Media servers run by content providers. To provide streaming media, it is necessary for Windows Media Player to communicate directly with a media server. These servers are typically operated by non-Microsoft content providers, and they are not under Microsoft control.

  • Metadata retrieval. When a user requests metadata (see the bulleted item, "Triggers and user notifications" in Default settings, triggers, and user notifications later in this section), a CD table of contents or DVD identification is sent from the user's computer, and then the metadata is retrieved. The metadata can include album art, track names, lyrics, and artist's biographical information. The metadata is stored in the Media Library for offline use.

  • Metadata submission. This is a service that enables users to submit corrections to the WindowsMedia.com metadata database. A cookie on the client is accessed by WindowsMedia.com (unless the cookie is blocked). The CD table of contents or DVD identification and the user's corrected metadata are sent to WindowsMedia.com.

  • Media Guide. Media Guide is a set of Web pages that is hosted within the Windows Media Player interface and focuses on streaming media. A cookie on the client is accessed by WindowsMedia.com (unless the cookie is blocked) and WindowsMedia.com sends the Media Guide Web page.

  • Online Stores. An online store is a Web site that offers digital media content by subscription or for purchase. When a user clicks the menu in the Player that is labeled Online Stores (or with the name of a particular online store) and then clicks Browse all Online Stores, Windows Media Player uses the Microsoft Web site to find information about online stores. When a user clicks the name of an online store, the Player communicates with that online store directly.

  • Player update. This service is integrated with Windows Update, and it can enable a user to learn about and acquire Windows Media Player updates. The process is similar to downloading software updates for the operating system, but it is controlled separately through the Windows Media Player interface. To acquire updates, a person logged on as an administrator and running the Player can click the Help menu, and then click Check for Updates. (If the Help menu is not visible, right-click the taskbar and select Show menu bar.) Alternatively, a person who is logged on as an administrator can configure the Player to automatically check for updates by clicking the Tools menu, and then clicking Options. The person logged on as an administrator can accept or decline the updates.

    For more information, see the following resources:

  • Downloadable skins. A user can click Tools/Download/Skins to link to a Web page that contains extra downloadable skins. A cookie on the client is accessed by the Microsoft Web site (unless the cookie is blocked) and the Skins Web page is sent back to the Web browser.

    noteNote
     The Tools menu is only visible if the user enables it. One way to do this is to right-click the taskbar and make sure that Show Classic Menus is selected.

  • Downloadable visualizations. A user can click Tools/Download/Visualizations to link to a Web page that contains extra downloadable visualizations. A cookie on the client is accessed by the Microsoft Web site (unless the cookie is blocked) and the Downloadable Visualizations Web page is sent back to the Web browser.

  • Downloadable plug-ins. A user can click Tools/Download/Plug-ins to link to a Web page that contains new features that can be added to Windows Media Player. A cookie on the client is accessed by the Microsoft Web site (unless the cookie is blocked) and the Plug-ins Web page is sent back in the Web browser.

  • Media Library. Media Library lists the user’s collection of audio and video files and offers links to sources for audio and video. This information can be accessed by other software on the user’s computer and on the Internet.

  • Enhanced Content Provider Services (unique Player ID). This option is available through the More Options command (on several menus) on the Privacy tab. It specifies whether Windows Media Player sends a content provider a unique Player ID or an anonymous Player ID. The anonymous Player ID contains a well-known static value and a randomly generated number that changes each time a user requests content from a streaming media server.

    This option is available because some content providers may require the Player to send a unique Player ID to access their content or services.

  • Customer Experience Improvement Program. This option is available through the More Options command (on several menus) on the Privacy tab. It specifies whether to send Windows Media Player usage information to Microsoft. The information that is obtained from the user is used to improve the Player and other Microsoft products and services.

  • Cookies. Windows Media Player uses the Internet as a networking and information source. When accessing the Internet, cookies may be downloaded to the user’s computer or uploaded to a media service.

  • Site logs. Servers that provide media content create two types of logs:

    • Raw IIS log. A standard Internet Information Services (IIS) log records all requests to the server. This log includes the IP address of the client and a cookie.

    • Tracking log. A tracking log records all requests. It includes the IP address of the client and a cookie.

    The Player also generates a streaming media log and sends it to any media servers that exist on your network. For more information, see Logging, encryption, and privacy later in this section.

The following list describes how settings are initially configured in Windows Media Player and describes the triggers that might initiate communication between Windows Media Player and the Internet.

ImportantImportant
Group Policy settings such as Prevent CD and DVD Media Information Retrievalaffect the way that Windows Media Player communicates with the Internet. For more information, see Settings that can be controlled through Group Policy later in this section.

  • Recommend and custom settings: The first time that Windows Media Player is opened, it displays dialog boxes for configuring settings such as whether to allow Windows Media Player to download CD and DVD information from the Internet, or whether to send Microsoft anonymous usage information for the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. The initial dialog box allows a user to select Recommended or Custom settings. The latter option allows the user to configure a number of privacy-related options. You can prevent the first-use dialog boxes from appearing, and instead control such settings through Group Policy. For more information, see Settings that can be controlled through Group Policy later in this section.

  • Triggers and user notifications: The features that initiate communication with the Internet are activated individually by various user interactions as listed below. With some features, the user is presented with a Web page that is both a notification and a trigger, providing items for the user to select to complete a download. With other features, the user may or may not be notified at the time of the trigger, as described in the following list:

    • Metadata retrieval

      Trigger. When the user first inserts a CD or DVD or when the user requests detailed information (for example, by right-clicking a file and then clicking an option to find information about it), information is retrieved automatically from WindowsMedia.com.

      Notification. The user is not notified, and the information is only retrieved automatically if the user previously consented.

    • Metadata submission

      Trigger. When the user submits corrected metadata for files, CDs, and DVDs, information is sent to WindowsMedia.com.

      Notification. The user is notified.

    • Media Guide

      Trigger. The Media Guide is displayed if the user right-clicks the taskbar, enables Show Classic menus, then clicks View\Online Stores\Media Guide. After that, the user can click Media Guide in the taskbar.

      Notification. The user is not notified.

    • Browse all Online Stores

      Trigger and notification. When a user clicks the menu in the Player that is labeled Online Stores (or with the name of a particular online store) and then clicks Browse all Online Stores, Windows Media Player uses the Microsoft Web site to find information about online stores. When a user clicks the name of an online store, the Player communicates with that online store directly.

    • Player update

      Trigger. At a set frequency (for example, weekly), if the user is online and is logged on as an administrator, a check is made for updated Windows Media Player features. This can be disabled through Group Policy.

      Notification. The user is notified. The user is prompted to download the updates, but can decline to do so.

    • Downloadable skins

      Trigger and notification. The user clicks Tools\Download\Skins, which launches the Skins Web page. When a user selects a skin from this page, the user is prompted to accept or reject the download. If the user accepts, the skin is downloaded.

      noteNote
      The Tools menu is only visible if the user enables it. One way to do this is to right-click the taskbar and make sure that Show Classic Menus is selected.

    • Downloadable visualizations

      Trigger and notification. The user clicks Tools\Download\Visualizations, or clicks Tools\Options\Plug-ins and then Look for visualizations on the Web. This launches the Visualizations Web page. When the user selects a visualization from this page, the user is prompted to accept or reject the download. If the user accepts, the visualization is downloaded.

    • Downloadable plug-ins

      Trigger and notification. The user clicks View\Plug-ins\Find on the Web (or clicks Tools\Options\Plug-ins, and then clicks Look for plug-ins on the Web). This launches the Plug-ins Web page. When the user selects a plug-in from this page, the user is prompted to accept or reject the download. If the user accepts, the plug-in is downloaded.

    • Enhanced Content Provider Services (unique Player ID)

      Trigger and notification. Sending a Player ID is triggered during initial communication with a media server. At this time, the user is not notified about whether a unique Player ID or an anonymous Player ID is being used (unless the content provider requires a unique Player ID and notifies the user of this requirement).

    • Customer Experience Improvement Program

      Trigger and notification. Customers can enable participation in the Customer Experience Improvement Program the first time they launch Windows Media Player—either as a recommended setting or when they choose custom settings. Upon subsequent use of Windows Media Player, they can modify this option by clicking More Options (available on several menus), clicking the Privacy tab, and then selecting I want to help make Microsoft software and services even better by sending Player usage data to Microsoft. If the user accepts, Microsoft collects statistical information about the hardware configuration and how the user uses the software and services, so that Microsoft can identify trends and usage patterns. If the user accepts, there is no notification at the time information is transferred.

    • Media Library

      Trigger and notification. The trigger occurs when the user adds purchased media to the Media Library from WindowsMedia.com or another media vendor. The retrieval of additional information about media files from the Internet can be controlled by clicking More Options (available on several menus), and then clearing check boxes on the Privacy tab.

    • Cookies

      Trigger. The trigger occurs automatically when a Web site is accessed.

      Notification. The way that Windows Media Player handles cookies that are sent from a Web site depends on privacy settings that affect your Web browser, Windows Media Player, and any other programs that rely on these settings. These settings control whether cookies are allowed, cookies are blocked, or the user is prompted before a cookie is allowed. The settings are controlled through your Web browser, although you can also configure these settings through the Player. To configure the settings in the Player, click Tools\Options, click the Privacy tab, and then click Cookies.

The following list describes the way the Player sends logging information to a streaming media server, the encryption options that are available for the Player, and the privacy statements that are related to the Player.

  • Logging: Logging occurs when information is sent from the Player to a streaming media server. Logging can also occur when information is sent from the Player to a program on a Web server if the program is designed to create log entries.

    For more information, see Logging Model for Windows Media Services.

    Logging informs the server about various pieces of information so that services can be improved. The information includes such details as connection time and the Internet protocol (IP) address of the computer that is connected to the server—typically a network address translation (NAT) or proxy server. This information also includes the version, identification number (ID), date, and protocol of Windows Media Player. For more details, see the privacy statements under "Privacy" later in this list.

  • Encryption: Protected Media Path is a platform that enhances support for digital rights management (DRM) in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Protected Media Path helps maintain the security and protection of digital audio and video files that have been encrypted using DRM technology.

    The client can also progressively download content from a Web server by using HTTPS. A client and server can also use Internet Protocol security (IPsec) to encrypt packets that traverse the network.

    For more information, see Protected Media Path.

  • Privacy: The privacy statements for Windows Media Player and WindowsMedia.com are on the following Microsoft Web sites:

The following list briefly describes the transmission protocols and ports that are used by the Player.

  • Transmission protocol: Windows Media Player 12 can communicate through Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) with User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or TCP. It can also use HTTP. It cannot use Microsoft Media Server (MMS) protocol.

    If a media server tries to stream content by using MMS and receives failure messages, it might use automatic protocol rollover, that is, it might attempt different protocols until a particular protocol succeeds. It might also use automatic protocol rollover to try to optimize the streaming experience and to work correctly with firewall settings in your environment. With protocol rollover from MMS, you can configure Windows Media Player so that it accepts only the protocols you choose.

    For additional information, see Firewall Information for Windows Media Services 9 Series.

  • Ports: For RTSP/TCP, you can specify the ports that will be used by Windows Media Player to receive data.

    For additional information, see Firewall Information for Windows Media Services 9 Series.

  • Unicast and multicast streams: By default, Windows Media Player can accept unicast or multicast streams. You can configure it to accept only unicast streams.

Many features in Windows Media Player can be enabled or disabled through the prompts that are displayed the first time that Windows Media Player is opened. Features can be also disabled through the user interface in Windows Media Player or through Group Policy settings.

You can specify the media player that you want to use on a computer running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 by using the Windows interface or through an unattended installation. If you choose to use Windows Media Player, you can control individual features of the Player through the user interface of the Player or through Group Policy settings.

When users interact with Windows Media Player, they can limit the flow of information to and from the Internet. The following table describes practices that users can follow to limit Internet communication.

noteNote
The File menu and the View menu that are mentioned in the table below are only visible if they are enabled. One way to enable these menus is to right-click the taskbar and make sure that Show menu bar is selected.

 

Feature Practices to Limit Internet Communication

Metadata retrieval

  • From the File menu, make sure that Work Offline is selected.

  • Avoid inserting a CD or DVD.

  • From the Tools menu, select Options, click the Privacy tab, and clear the Display media information from the Internet and Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet check boxes. On the Library tab, clear the Retrieve additional information from the Internet check box. Also on the Player tab, make sure that the Connect to the Internet (overrides other commands) check box is cleared.

Metadata submission

  • From the File menu, make sure that Work Offline is selected.

  • Avoid submitting metadata.

Media Guide

  • From the File menu, make sure that Work Offline is selected.

  • Avoid clicking View\Online Stores\Media Guide. If Media Guide is displayed in the taskbar, do not click it.

Downloadable skins

  • Use a custom skin that does not display downloadable skins.

Downloadable visualizations

  • Use a custom skin that does not display downloadable visualizations.

Download plug-ins

  • Avoid selecting the Download Plug-ins options from any of the trigger locations mentioned previously.

Online Stores

  • From the File menu, make sure that Work Offline is selected.

  • Avoid clicking any command on the far right menu, which can be labeled as Online Stores or with the name of a particular online store.

Unique Player ID

  • Avoid selecting this option.

    As an administrator, you can use Group Policy settings to prevent users from selecting this option. Enable Hide Privacy Tab to keep users from selecting the option in that tab. Enable the Do Not Show First Use Dialog Boxes Group Policy setting to keep users from selecting the option in first-use dialog boxes. For more information, see Settings that can be controlled through Group Policy later in this section.

Customer Experience Improvement Program

  • Avoid selecting this option.

    As an administrator, you can use Group Policy settings to prevent users from selecting this option. Enable Hide Privacy Tab to keep users from selecting the option in that tab. Enable the Do Not Show First Use Dialog Boxes Group Policy setting to keep users from selecting the option in first-use dialog boxes. For more information, see Settings that can be controlled through Group Policy later in this section.

Connect to the Internet

  • From the Tools menu, select Options, click the Player tab, and then clear the Connect to the Internet (overrides other commands) check box.

Media usage rights

  • From the Tools menu, select Options, click the Privacy tab, and then clear the following two check boxes: Download usage rights automatically when I play or sync a file and Automatically check if protected files need to be refreshed.

    noteNote
    There is also an option through which Windows Media Player sets the clock on media devices automatically (for best results when usage rights are based on a date or time). Setting the time involves communication between the computer and a time server on the Internet. This option can be turned off through Options\Privacy\Set clock on devices automatically.

A wide variety of configuration settings for Windows Media Player can be controlled through Group Policy. This subsection lists a few examples of these settings.

noteNote
For information about individual Group Policy settings, navigate to a setting as described in To locate Group Policy settings for configuring Windows Media Player later in this section, then double-click the setting and read the explanatory text.

Some of the Group Policy settings that affect the way Windows Media Player communicates through the Internet are located at User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Media Player or in the Group Policy categories that are listed there. Examples of these policy settings include:

  • Prevent CD and DVD Media Information Retrieval

  • Prevent Music File Media Information Retrieval

  • Prevent Codec Download (under Playback)

  • Hide Privacy Tab (under User Interface)

    You can use this option to prevent users from selecting options on the Privacy tab (such as the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program).

    For information about using Group Policy to disable the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program, see Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program and Resulting Internet Communication in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in this document.

  • Set and Lock Skin (under User Interface)

    You can use this option to specify a custom skin that displays only selected features.

Other Group Policy settings that affect the way Windows Media Player communicates through the Internet are located at Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Media Player or in Group Policy categories under this location. Examples of these policy settings are:

  • Prevent Automatic Updates

  • Do Not Show First Use Dialog Boxes

For more information about using Group Policy, see Appendix B: Resources for Learning About Group Policy for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

You can control several aspects of Windows Media Player by using methods other than the user interface or the Group Policy settings for Windows Media Player. Methods for controlling the Player include:

  • Use Set program access and computer defaults (available from Start\Default Programs in Windows 7) to remove access to Windows Media Player. With this dialog box, the administrator of a computer running Windows 7 can specify which media player is shown on the Start menu, desktop, and other locations.

  • Use AutoPlay in Control Panel to define or restrict what happens when a user clicks a video, audio, or image file, or inserts a CD or DVD into a drive.

  • Use the firewall or proxy or both to block access to Web sites such as the WindowsMedia.com Web site.

  • Create custom player skins that contain only those features that you want users to use. For more information, see Windows Media Player 11 SDK Windows Media Player Skins.

Windows Media Player can be configured in several ways, as described previously. This subsection provides procedures for:

  • Locating Group Policy settings for configuring Windows Media Player.

  • Accessing the Privacy tab in the user interface of Windows Media Player (to specify settings related to privacy).

  • Accessing the Network tab in the user interface of Windows Media Player (to specify information about streaming media protocols).

  • Specifying the media player on a computer running Windows 7.

  • Removing visible entry points to Windows Media Player during an unattended installation of Windows 7 by using an answer file.

  • Specifying the media player during an unattended installation of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 by using an answer file.

    ImportantImportant
    To prevent users from manually updating Windows Media Player, we recommend that users are not given administrative credentials on their computers.

  1. See Appendix B: Resources for Learning About Group Policy for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 for information about using Group Policy. Using an account with domain administrative credentials, log on to a computer running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, open Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) by running gpmc.msc, and then edit an appropriate Group Policy object (GPO).

  2. In Group Policy, expand User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Windows Components, and then click Windows Media Player.

  3. Expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Windows Components, and then click Windows Media Player.

  4. View the Group Policy settings that are available.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click Privacy.

  2. Review the available options, including the following:

    • Display media information from the Internet

    • Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet

    • Download usage rights automatically when I play or sync a file

    • Automatically check if protected files need to be refreshed

    • Set clock on devices automatically

    • Send unique Player ID to content providers

    Other options are also available, including an option for the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program.

There are two methods for specifying information for streaming media protocols:

  • Use the Network tab to configure the protocols and proxy settings that you want Windows Media Player to use when receiving streaming media files, and then hide the Network tab through Group Policy settings in Windows Media Player.

  • Use Group Policy settings to specify information for streaming media protocols.

For more information, see To locate Group Policy settings for configuring Windows Media Player earlier in this section.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click Network.

  2. The following options are included on the Network tab:

    • Protocols for MMS URLs. Specifies the protocols that Windows Media Player 12 can try to use when receiving an MMS URL (Windows Media Player 12 cannot use MMS). Select one or more of the following:

      RTSP/UDP

      RTSP/TCP

      RTSP/HTTP

      By default, all protocols are selected, which means that the Player uses each protocol until it finds one that succeeds. Because the Player can receive files by using a variety of protocols, we recommend that you select all protocols.

    • Use ports to receive data. Specifies a port range through which to receive streaming content. This option is useful if you have established a specific port that enables streaming content to pass through a firewall.

      For additional information, see Firewall Information for Windows Media Services 9 Series.

    • Multicast streams. Determines whether the Player can receive multicast streams.

    • Streaming proxy settings. Select a protocol, and then click Configure. You can configure proxy settings for the following protocols:

      HTTP

      RTSP

      When you click the Configure button, you can choose among the following proxy settings:

      Autodetect proxy settings

      Use proxy settings of the Web browser

      Do not use a proxy server

      Use the following proxy server (and Port)

      With Use the following proxy server, you can also select Bypass proxy server for local addresses, and you can choose not to use the proxy server for addresses that begin with the strings that you specify.

  1. In Windows 7, click Start, click Default Programs, and then click Set program access and computer defaults.

  2. Click the Custom button.

    noteNote
    Alternatively, you can click the Non-Microsoft button, which removes access to Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer®, and Windows Mail. If you do this, skip the remaining steps of this procedure.

  3. To disable access to Windows Media Player on this computer, to the right of Windows Media Player, clear the Enable access to this program check box.

  4. If you want a different default media player to be available to users of this computer, select the media player from the options available.

    noteNote
    For the last step, if the program does not appear by name, contact the vendor of that program for information about how to configure it as the default. Also, for related information about registry entries that are used to designate that a program is a browser, e-mail, media playback, or instant messaging program, see Registering Programs with Client Types.

  1. Use the methods that you prefer for unattended installation or remote installation to create an answer file. For more information about unattended and remote installation, see Appendix A: Resources for Learning About Automated Installation and Deployment for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

  2. Confirm that your answer file includes the following lines. If you already have a <WindowsFeatures> section in your answer file, the "ShowWindowsMediaPlayer" line should be included in the <WindowsFeatures> section rather than repeating the section.

    <WindowsFeatures>
        <ShowWindowsMediaPlayer>false</ShowWindowsMediaPlayer>
      </WindowsFeatures>
    
    noteNote
    This procedure removes visible entry points to Windows Media Player, but it does not prevent Windows Media Player from running.

  1. Use the methods that you prefer for an unattended installation or remote installation to create an answer file. For more information about unattended and remote installation, see Appendix A: Resources for Learning About Automated Installation and Deployment for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

  2. Confirm that your answer file includes the following lines. If you already have a <ClientApplications> section in your answer file, the "Media" line (the line containing the path to your media player) should be included in the <ClientApplications> section rather than repeating the section.

    <ClientApplications>
        <Media>path_to_media_player</Media>
      </ClientApplications>
    

    For path_to_media_player, specify the path to your media player.

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