Scott Hanselman

How to disable Windows Media Player Guide

June 1, '06 Comments [7] Posted in Musings | Tools
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DisablemediaguideThis email struck me as fun, and I felt like answering it (to the best of my ability):

Hello, I know you are busy and probably do not answer random questions, but I do not know who to turn to and you're a random name off the internet.

I use windows media player.  I like to optimize the way things run to do what I want.  I've been obsessively seeking a way to disable the media guide.  I do not want it accessing the internet and trying to sell me anything I do not plan on buying in the first place.

It seems like a conspiracy and I have been unable to remedy this situation.  In desperation I've emailed a good friend of mine and you. 

Where would I go to find this information?  I've done about five google searches and clicked over forty links.  Any help you can offer will be IMMENSELY appreciated.

Here's what I came up with:

In Windows Media Player go Tools|Options|Privacy and uncheck EVERY checkbox. This will at least keep Media Player from suggesting things.

Then, go to your c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc and open the file called "HOSTS" in notepad. Add these lines at the very end:

127.0.0.1  windowsmedia.com
127.0.0.1  services1.windowsmedia.com
127.0.0.1 
www.windowsmedia.com

This doesn't remove the "Guide" Tab, but effectively neuters it.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006 4:33:04 PM UTC
Very handy tip. I noted something similar with getting rid of the ads in MSN Messenger ( http://tinyurl.com/s8s86 ). A little knowledge of Packetmon, Ethereal, or even Fiddler can go a long in identifying URLs that you don't want your applications hitting behind your back.
Saturday, June 03, 2006 3:03:32 AM UTC
Great tip. The loading of that page in Media player has annoyed me for years!
BoarderX
Saturday, June 03, 2006 3:48:06 PM UTC

or use a firewall with outgoing filters. You should get a prompt notifying you that the player is trying to access some web site. Tell it to block it permenantly.
Abdu
Saturday, June 03, 2006 4:21:24 PM UTC
Abdu, sure, but if you consider the tone of this gentleman's message, I figured that this needed to be a solution that could be explained in a simpler way and entirely on the local system.
Scott Hanselman
Sunday, June 04, 2006 1:22:47 PM UTC
Also... a firewall, like ZoneAlarm, would also take care of the issue if a newer version of WMP starts using websites not in your list or if the current one 'calls home' to get a fresher list of websites.
Abdu
Monday, June 05, 2006 3:31:02 PM UTC
I'll bet the guy asking works for a Microsoft Customer Support Team in Bangalore. Now when we phone support he will have the answer. . . . . .

Disclaimer:
:)
Sunday, July 30, 2006 11:54:03 PM UTC
Scott,

Great to know. Upon further review you can also block the Music, Radio and Video tabs as well by adding another local host line and placing music.msn.com after it. Thanks alot for the location of this annoying feature.

(Example)
"127.0.0.1 music.msn.com"
Ken Hoopes
Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.