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Windows Media player stays running even when closed out, with Windows 7 or Vista

Problem Description:

After playing a music or video file you close windows media player, and the window closes out, however the application continues to run and may even still play audio. You would also be running Windows Vista, or Windows 7 as your operating system.

Checking the windows task manager you will still see the wmplayer.exe running, but it is not listed under applications.

Cause of the Problem:

This usually happens if you have a Windows side show device installed. Windows side show will continue to provide controls for Windows media player after you close it from your main display. For the most part this is intended functionality, but is unexpected since the desktop application is closed. The expected functionality would be that Windows side show runs it's own version of Windows media player, in a seperate memory space.

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The only way to cause windows media player to close fully each time it is shutdown with a side show device installed is to either close it via task manager, or configure Windows side show not to use the Media player gadget.

To disable the Windows side show gadget:

  1. If Windows media player is still running in task manager close it out.
  2. Click on start, and then control panel
  3. Click on hardware and sound
  4. Under Windows SideShow select "Change SideShow Settings"
  5. Uncheck the box for Windows Media Player under your Side Show devices.

If windows media player continues to run after this setting has been turned off, you may have other software that is interfacing with Windows media player preventing it from closing. This can include keyboard media controls, CD/DVD burning software, web browser addons, and in some cases web pages with hidden media controls on them.

Related Programs and Devices:
Windows Media Player , Windows Vista , Windows 7 , Windows Side Show

Last Updated: 10/13/2009 12:05 AM

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