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041 |

Protect Your Privacy When Using Media Player.  Windows Media Player for XP, as well as Version 7.1, sends a globally unique identifier, or GUID, to sites when you request streamed Windows Media.  In theory, the information can't be traced back to your machine, but many people dispute this.  If you don't want Media Player to send a GUID, you can protect your privacy by opening Media Player, going to the Tools | Options menu, and unchecking Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your Player.

You can further enhance your privacy by blocking cookie information to and from WindowsMedia.com.  To do this, open IE 6, go to Tools | Internet Options | Privacy, click on the Edit button under Web Sites, and add WindowsMedia.com as a blocked site for cookie traffic.

042 |

Create Flexible Music Files.  By default, Windows Media Player creates protected WMA files when you rip CDs.  Because protected files require licenses for playback, you won't be able to listen to the files on another computer.  But you can turn this feature off.  In Windows Media Player, open the Tools menu and select Options.  Then click on the Copy Music tab, and uncheck the box next to Protect music.

043 |

Back Up Your Media Licenses.  If you do choose to copy-protect your files, you need to preserve a copy of your media licenses in case you ever need to reinstall Windows XP.  To export the key from your existing Windows XP machine, open Media Player, select Tools | License Management, and click Backup Now.

The licenses will be copied to the desktop as files with .bak extensions.  Note that they may be hidden if you don't allow Explorer to show hidden files.  To import them, place the files on the desktop and click Restore Now.

044 |

Set Multimedia Folders to Display Useful Information.  Windows XP lets you set up folders that contain media files so that relevant details about the files within are shown.  By default, when files are copied into a newly created folder, Windows tries to guess what kind of files are in the folder - video, audio, data, or whatever - but if the folder isn't configured correctly, you can modify it.

Open the folder in question and select View | Customize This Folder from the folder's menu.  From there you can choose a template to apply to the folder.  If you want to choose details individually, such as track length, file size, or bit rate, select View | Choose Details, and check all the columns you want to show.

045 |

Media Player Shortcut Keys.
Ctrl-P: Play or pause a file.
Ctrl-S: Stop playback.
Ctrl-B: Play previous item.
Ctrl-F: Play next item.
Ctrl-Shift-B: Rewind (only for DVDs).
Ctrl-Shift-F: Fast-forward (only for DVDs).
Ctrl-E: Eject CD or DVD (does not work if computer has multiple CD-ROM or DVD drives attached).
Ctrl-U: Open a URL or file.
Alt-Enter: Display video in full-screen mode.
Ctrl-1: Switch to Full mode from Skin mode.
Ctrl-2: Switch to Skin mode from Full mode.
Ctrl-M: Display menu bar during full-screen playback.
Alt-S: Search Media Library.
F8: Mute.
F9: Decrease volume.
F10: Increase volume.

046 |

Play Back Your CDs With Digital Audio.  Formerly, to pipe the CD signal through the sound card, you needed an audio cable connecting the drive to the sound card.  Today, many systems have multiple optical drives, and one cable isn't enough.  Don't sweat it: Just enable digital audio.  Right-click on My Computer, then choose Manage.  Select Device Manager from the left-hand pane.  Navigate to the properties box for each of your CD, DVD, CD-RW, or DVD-RAM drives, and check the box Enable digital audio.

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