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Learn How to Uninstall Media Player from Windows XP

written by: John Garger•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 7/29/2010

You may need to remove Windows Media Player to fix a corrupted file or to prevent employees from listening to music and watching videos during work hours. Whatever the reason, read on to learn two methods for removing Media Player from Windows XP and how to stop Windows Update from reinstalling it.

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    Media Player is Microsoft’s own application for listening to music and watching videos. Media Player also serves as the core program in the family of Media Player applications that allow you to encode audio and video as well as steam multimedia files over networks.

    There are several reasons why you may need to uninstall Windows Media Player from Windows XP. One reason is to fix a file associated with the player that has become corrupted or is causing errors when listening to audio or watching a video.

    Another common reason for uninstalling Media Player is to prevent employees from wasting time with audio and video files during working hours. Many systems administrators strip Windows of those features that reduce productivity and cost the company real dollars and wasted time.

    Whatever your reasons, two methods are discussed below for uninstalling Windows Media Player. Also, learn how to prevent Windows Update from downloading and installing Media Player in future update checks.

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    Uninstalling Windows Media Player Using Safe Mode – Method 1

    Figure 1 - Use appwiz.cpl to Uninstall Windows Media Player The first and easier method for uninstalling Windows Media Player is to use Windows Safe Mode and uninstall the application as you would any program. To enter Safe Mode, turn on or restart your computer and press the F8 key during startup. You need to do this before Windows actually starts to load. Some people find that they need to hold down F8 or hit it repeatedly to arrive at the Windows Advanced Options Menu. At this menu, use the arrow keys and select SAFE MODE from the menu options.

    Don’t be surprised if Windows looks a little strange when it boots up in Safe Mode. In this mode, Windows does not load the usual drivers including any special video drivers. You may be looking at a very low resolution and far fewer colors on the screen.

    Click START → RUN to open up the Run Window. Alternatively, you can hold down the Windows Key on your keyboard and press the “r” key. In the Run Window, type the following and then click OK (see Figure 1):

    appwiz.cpl

    When you click OK the Add or Remove Programs windows opens listing all of the programs and applications you have installed on your computer. On this list, locate and click the entry named:

    Windows Media Player x

    Where “x” is the version number of Windows Media Player you have installed on your computer and wish to uninstall. From here, you can simply follow the instructions to complete the uninstallation of Media Player. Sometimes, however, this method does not work and you must try Method 2 below.

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    Uninstalling Windows Media Player by Running an Uninstall Program – Method 2

    If Method 1 above does not work, try Method 2 to uninstall Media Player from your computer. Click on START → RUN to open the Run Window. Again, you can also hold down the Windows Key and press “r.” In the Run Window, type the following and click OK.

    %windir%\$ntUninstallwmp11$\spuninst\spuninst.exe

    You may need to change the “11” above to coincide with the version number of Windows Media Player you have installed on your computer. For example, to uninstall version 10, the line should read:

    %windir%\$ntUninstallwmp10$\spuninst\spuninst.exe

    Click NEXT and FINISH when Windows prompts you to and then restart you computer to purge everything from your computer’s memory concerning the uninstallation of Media Player. Now you need to prevent Windows Update from automatically downloading and installing Media Player at your computer’s next update check.

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    Stop Windows Update from Downloading and Installing Windows Media Player

    Figure 2 - Use Windows Update to Stop Windows Media Player from Downloading and Installing Click START → ALL PROGRAMS → WINDOWS UPDATE. Your web browser will open sending you to the Windows Update website (see Figure 2). Click on the CUSTOM button and click on SOFTWARE, OPTIONAL on the left hand side of the screen.

    Click the “+” sign next to Windows Media Player and check the box next to DON’T SHOW THIS UPDATE AGAIN. Then click REVIEW AND INSTALL UPDATES for this option to take effect. Now Windows Media Players will not download and install during your computer’s next Windows Update check.

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    Conclusion

    The two methods described above will uninstall Windows Media Player from your computer. Unfortunately, Method 1 does not always work and you must try Method 2. Still, Method 1 is easier and you should try it first.

    Then, you must tell Windows Update not to download and install Windows Media Player in future Windows Update sessions. At any time, you can RESTORE HIDDEN UPDATES under the OPTIONS section of Windows Update to download and install Media Player.