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How to Fix WMP Metadata Services in XP, Vista and 7 if You Want to Do That for Some Reason

AudiTTFan

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If you're like me, you might remember July of 2019, when Microsoft discontinued their fai[dot]metaservices[dot]com metadata provider for Windows Media Player, and only added a replacement service on Windows 8.1 and 10. This came as a tremendous shock to me, because the resulting uproar was how I found out people still used WMP. Since then, several people have discovered a workaround, which is effective in almost every way, aside from one thing I'll answer at the very end because that's how blog formatting works.

 

The trick redirects WMP to the new ssl[dot]xboxlive[dot]com URL, which works almost exactly the same way as it does on Windows 8.1 and 10 in the sense that it still constantly "identifies" albums as really long strings of Chinese characters. Here's what to do:

WARNING: A FILE IN THE SYSTEM32 FOLDER WILL NEED TO BE DELETED AS PART OF THIS PROCESS. PLEASE CREATE A SYSTEM RESTORE POINT BEFORE FOLLOWING THE TUTORIAL!

 

Step 1: Open your hosts file

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For those of you who don't already know, the hosts file was basically a precursor to the DNS servers we're all familiar with today. While it probably hasn't been used that way since the days when the Mosaic browser got updated, it's still a useful feature for things like this, or blocking sketchy websites. To open it, press Start Key+R, and paste in the following address:

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

Next, open the hosts file in your preferred basic text editor (Notepad, Notepad++, Notepad+++++++++++...)

 

Step 2: Editing the hosts file 

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Once you've got your hosts file open, all you have to do is paste this address below everything that's already there:

198.46.168.75 redir.metaservices.microsoft.com

Click Save As, select All Files, and add a nonexistent file extension by spamming random characters. Save it to the desktop for now.

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Step 3: Moving the new hosts file back 

To move it back, just cut the new file and paste it back in the etc folder. Delete your original hosts file, and then remove the file extension from the new one

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Testing Windows Media Player after the fix

Now that your hosts file has been changed, it's time to see if you've fixed WMP. Right click a song, and then select Update album info. The song information should appear in about 5 to 10 seconds.

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One big caveat

After trying it out, you might notice that the album art never appears. This is because WMP in Windows 7 and earlier used relative pathnames to find album art, whereas Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 use absolute pathnames. If you were doing this to try and rid your library of the plain blank album icons, it might just be a better idea to install MusicBee.

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Edited by AudiTTFan

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