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How to Play and Tag FLAC Files in Windows 7 using Windows Media Player (WMP)

November 18th, 2009 · 5 Comments · Audio, Hardware & Software

If you are serious about music, you are probably storing it in a lossless format. Most popular choices are FLAC, Apple lossless (M4A) and Windows Media Lossless (WMA); there is also Monkey’s Audio which isn’t as popular. All of these choices have advantages and drawbacks. Both WMA and M4A are proprietary and the only tool that can create them is WMP and iTunes respectively. It is possible to get all of them to play on a non-windows machine, but it’s often quite difficult to do so. Even more difficult is getting them to play or stream to standalone hardware devices which is what you’d want to do at home. And support for portable devices is divisive to the max.If you choose FLAC as the best middle ground, you may want to at least be able to play it using operating system’s audio player. Windows Media Player is not a bad player but it does not support FLAC out of the box. Playing it is one thing, it needs to be able to display its tag as well as edit it. Here I will only mention how to get it to work.Download oggcodecs for your OS flavour – 32 or 64 bit. These are DirectShow filters that let WMP recognize FLAC and some other formats. Also download FLAC support, as this is what will actually allow you to play FLAC files. Finally, download the WMP Tag Plus. This one allows WMP to see tags embedded in FLAC files as well as edit them, and is the best of its breed as it integrates closely with the WMP.Now you’ll be able to deal with FLAC files as if they were any other support format (e.g. MP3 or AAC). One thing still does not work though – you won’t be able to stream FLAC to another Windows PC’s WMP or to a media extender. I haven’t had luck finding a solution for this yet.

UPDATE: as Ben mentioned below, if you use 64-bit OS, you need to make sure FLAC filters from Xiph get installed into a proper folder for 64-bit which is <system drive>\Program Files\Xiph.org because it will otherwise overwrite (or be overwritten by) the 32-bit version.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben Dover // Nov 26, 2009 at 16:52

    Install oggcodecs32bit. Install oggcodecs64bits, but change its path to program files (remove x86). Install WMPtagplus. Delete “CurrentDatabase_372″ (hidden systemfile). Then start WMP32! and wait till library has reloaded.

  • 2 Andrew // Nov 28, 2009 at 12:36

    Hi Ben,
    I have oggcodecs already installed in the way you described. Nevertheless, I reinstalled them and deleted all CurrentDatabase_372 files (there were four on my PC). After library rebuild, I am still unable to stream FLAC from this PC to another. I am pretty sure my WMP is 32 since that’s what task manager is telling me (plus I believe you have to explicitly start the 64-bit one anyway).

  • 3 WonderCsabo // Dec 15, 2009 at 5:22

    Hey man! Thank you for the very useful article! Didn’t you find the solution for streaming FLAC files to other PCs in WMP? It would be very important for me, cause I have a big FLAC collection on my PC, and I wanna listen to on my laptop via network. Thanks in advance!

  • 4 andrija // Dec 18, 2009 at 16:01

    WonderCsabo: unfortunately no, I want to do exactly what you’re suggesting but have had no success figuring it out.

  • 5 Naim // Jan 12, 2013 at 2:04

    what if those little softwares are installed to each of the pc’s where you wanna make stream them?
    Can that solve the problem?

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