Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Window Media Player annoyances

Although my career is currently tied in quite strongly with the Microsoft universe, I consider myself neither a -phile nor a -phobe. There are some things that Microsoft does well – such as their developer tools! – and others that are downright rude. I place Windows Media Player in this latter category. There are a number of things that irritate me about this app, but today's beef is with how it [messes] up the context menu for audio files.

I have long thought that Media Player made a lousy audio player. I use iTunes almost exclusively for playing music and I use WinAmp for all other audio tasks (such as playing favorite movie clips). Nonetheless, Windows Media Player cluttered up the short cut menu for my audio files with its "Queue-It-Up", "Copy to CD or Device" and "Add to Playlist". Gah.

Now another area that MS totally missed the ball is by not providing a decent way to manage what gets added to the short cut menu of the different file types. Too busy focusing on other crap like Media Player instead of the core operating system, I guess. At any rate, I've long gotten used to manipulating the "Advanced" options of the File Types tab of the Folder Properties dialog in order to bend things to my will. For example, when I first installed WinAmp I used this technique to pare down the options to just two: "Play in WinAmp" and "Enque in WinAmp" (Notice too how WinAmp's options tell you which app is going to be involved?). So when I wanted to remove the Media Player options, that's where I headed. Only problem is that the Media Player actions don't show up in the Edit File Type dialog.

"Hah!" I thought, "I'll just search the registry for the [darn] things." No such luck; "Queue-It-Up", "Copy to CD or Device" and "Add to Playlist" don't show up anywhere in the registry. Thankfully, a Google search turned up this post at TweakXP to point me in the right direction.

The offending entries are located at:
Contrary to the advice of the post, I merely renamed the keys to "ContextMenuHandlerZ" and now, at long last, my audio context menus are Media Player free.

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