Using the Windows Media Player Control with Microsoft Visual Studio

[The feature associated with this page, Windows Media Player SDK, is a legacy feature. It has been superseded by MediaPlayer. MediaPlayer has been optimized for Windows 10 and Windows 11. Microsoft strongly recommends that new code use MediaPlayer instead of Windows Media Player SDK, when possible. Microsoft suggests that existing code that uses the legacy APIs be rewritten to use the new APIs if possible.]

You can add the Windows Media Player 9 Series or later ActiveX control to a .NET Framework application through the Toolbox in Visual Studio.

Adding the Windows Media Player Control

Before creating a new project, make sure that the latest version of Windows Media Player and the Windows Media Player SDK is installed on your computer.

Start Visual Studio, then create a new project.

In Visual Studio, open the Toolbox.

If Windows Media Player does not appear in the Components portion of the Toolbox, do the following:

  1. Right-click within the Toolbox, and then select Choose Items. This opens the Customize Toolbox dialog box.

  2. On the COM Components tab, select Windows Media Player.

    If Windows Media Player does not appear in the list, click Browse, and then open Wmp.dll, which should be in the Windows\System32 folder.

  3. Click OK. The Windows Media Player control will be placed on the current Toolbox tab.

You can now select Windows Media Player in the Toolbox and add it to a form.

Visual Studio gives the Windows Media Player control a default name such as "axWindowsMediaPlayer1". You may want to change the name to something more easily remembered, such as "Player".

Adding the Windows Media Player control from the Toolbox also adds references to two libraries created by Visual Studio, AxWMPLib and WMPLib. You can find them in the Solution Explorer under References.

To make using the objects in the Player namespace easier, you should include the namespace in the using or imports directives of your files, as follows:

using WMPLib;
imports WMPLib

The directive ensures that you can refer to Player objects without fully qualifying their names.


The Windows Media Player control is an AxWindowsMediaPlayer object from the AxWMPLib namespace. However, the AxWindowsMediaPlayer class uses data types, interfaces, and other elements from the WMPLib namespace.


Configuring Visibility of the Control

When you first add the Windows Media Player control to a form, it will be visible. If you do not want to use the visible image of the Player in your application, hide the default Player by setting any one of the following properties:

Property Value
uiMode "invisible" (See Player.uiMode.)
Visible "false"
Size.Width 0
Size.Height 0


You can set these properties either in code or in the Properties window when the Windows Media Player control is selected in the form designer.

Object Model Compatibility of the Control

The object model for the Windows Media Player control is basically the same in the .NET Framework as in unmanaged code and script. However, there are differences in how elements are exposed:

  • Most objects are exposed under the name of their underlying COM interface. For example, the Playlist object is exposed as IWMPPlaylist.
  • Some interfaces have later versions. For example, IWMPMedia was given additional functionality in IWMPMedia2 and IWMPMedia3. If you declare an object as IWMPMedia, you usually have access to the functionality of all versions of the interface. However, IntelliSense┬« will not recognize the methods or properties of the later-version interfaces, and the Visual Basic .NET editor will not automatically correct capitalization. To get the full benefit of IntelliSense and other features of Visual Studio, declare the object by using the latest version of the interface, such as IWMPMedia3.
  • There are no indexed properties (C#) or default properties (Visual Basic .NET). For example, to retrieve a Playlist.item, you must call the IWMPlaylist.get_Item accessor method in C# or retrieve the IWMPlayist.Item property in Visual Basic .NET.
  • Because of a naming conflict between the Windows Media Player Controls property and the Controls property exposed by every control, the Player version of this property is called CtlControls in the context of the ActiveX control. (However, this is not the case when you create the Player programmatically rather than as an ActiveX control.)

Use the Object Browser in Visual Studio to locate the correct API names for methods and objects in the AxWMPLib and WMPLib namespaces.

Distributing Your Application

When you distribute your application, be sure to install AxInterop.WMPLib.dll and Interop.WMPLib.dll in the application folder. You will also need to make sure that the required Windows Media Player version is installed on the user's computer.

Creating the Windows Media Player Control Programmatically

Embedding the Windows Media Player Control in a C# Solution

Embedding the Windows Media Player Control in a Visual Basic .NET Solution