The current version of Windows Media Player has been around for more than a decade. So, after all these years, Microsoft is finally pushing out a new app designed to handle everyday media playback in Windows 11.
In a new blog post, Microsoft announced that it has begun pushing out the freshly dubbed “Media Player for Windows” to Insiders running the Dev Channel build of Windows 11. However, while their names are similar, it’s important to note that the Media Player for Windows is a brand new app that’s designed to replace both Windows Media Player and the Groove Music Player, the latter of which has been on its way out for years after Microsoft killed off the Groove Music service back in 2017.
Similar to Microsoft’s recent update to the Photos app in Windows 11, Microsoft’s goal with the Media Player app is to create a simple all-purpose media player for both music and videos that includes an updated UI that is more in line with Windows 11's cleaner, modern design.
Microsoft says the Media Player app contains a full-featured music library for browsing music and creating playlists, with the app automatically migrating your library and playlists over from the Groove Music app, which is being replaced. Microsoft has also added support for a mini-player along with playback that supports album art in both full and mini views.
And just like the new Photos app, the Media Player app features a fresh visual design with cleaner borders, improved keyboard shortcuts, and more features optimized for enhanced accessibility.
As for handling video content, Media Player will also search your system to locate clips in your Music and Videos folders, though you can always set the app to look for content stashed in other locations on your PC.
However, before you dive into the new Media Player, Microsoft has detailed a number of currently known issues including a bug that’s preventing the Media Player app from streaming video from network locations, some issues with editing album metadata, potential display bugs for words with accented characters, and some UI elements that don’t properly adjust to your preferred Windows 11 theme. So if you’re not prepared to deal with some early growing pains, you’ll probably want to wait until Microsoft pushes the new Media Player to the stable build of Windows 11.
Alternatively, if you just can’t let Windows Media Player go, the good news is that it’s not getting completely removed from Windows 11, but instead will be relegated to being a legacy app, which you can access in Windows Tools.
For an app that dates back all the way to Windows 3.0, Windows Media Player has had an incredible run, but at long last, its time has come to end (mostly).