How to Prevent Windows Media Player Crashing

Troubleshooting tips to solve WMP freezes and crashes

Video playback problems
Fixing media playback issues. Image © Westend61 / Getty Images
Was this page helpful?

Problems When Switching Windows Media Player to Full Screen Mode?

One of the benefits of Windows Media Player (WMP) is that it can display videos in full screen mode. If you're familiar with WMP, then you'll probably have already used it to watch music videos for example as if you were viewing them on your TV. Full screen mode is also useful if you want to use WMP's visualizations while listening to your music library.

However, just like most software programs, there can be problems with WMP when switching to this special video mode. Microsoft's jukebox software program can freeze or completely crash. The reason for this can be varied, but it is often the fault of your computer's graphics card being incompatible with this mode.

Try Updating Your Graphics Card Driver

As previously mentioned, the most likely cause for this problem is an issue with the driver for your graphics card. The current driver installed on your system could be outdated or contain bugs for example. You may even have a generic video card driver installed instead of one from the manufacturer of the card. If this is the case then the driver currently installed on your Windows system might not be up to the job of supporting all video modes.

If you aren't sure how to check the video driver installed in Windows, then follow these steps:

  1. Hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press R.
  1. Type devmgmt.msc in the text box and hit the enter / return key.
  2. In Device Manager, expand the display adapters section by clicking the + next to it.
  3. Double-click the driver name.
  4. Click the driver tab. You'll now see information about it, including the version number.

You can try and update the driver using Windows, but the best way is usually via the manufacturer's website.

If there is a more recent version available, then download and install it to see if this is the root cause of WMP freezing or crashing.

Modify The Windows Registry

If the above method doesn't work then you may want to try a registry hack. This modification is for Windows Vista running Windows Media Player 11. However, it might also be worth a try if you also have Aero Glass disabled on a different Windows / WMP set up.

To apply the hack, follow these steps:

  1. Hold down the Windows key and press R.
  2. In the text box that appears, type in regedit and hit the enter / return key.
  3. Navigate to the following registry path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences
  4. In Registry Editor, click the Edit  menu tab.
  5. Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  6. Type DXEM_UpdateFrequency in the text box to name the new registry value and then hit the enter / return key.
  7. Double click on the new registry entry that you have just created, and type in a value of 2 in the data field.
  8. Click OK to save.
  9. You can now exit Registry Editor by closing its Window or clicking File > Exit.

Now run Windows Media Player again and switch to full screen to see if this solves the problem.

Corrupt Windows Media Player 12 Installation?

If you are using WMP 12, then it may be that the fault is due to a corrupt program file somewhere.

The good news is that it's easy to refresh the installation. For more information on how to do this, follow our guide on Uninstalling and Reinstalling Windows Media Player 12