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Add Album Art to Windows Media Player

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/21/2009

It isn't uncommon to find that Windows Media Player doesn't display album art (or the correct art) for albums that you have ripped from your CDs. This is due to differences with your ripped files and the online album database - but the problem can be resolved with the minimum of effort!

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    Fixing Album Art in Windows Media Player

    Anyone who has ever ripped a CD album in Windows Media Player 11 will probably be familiar with the frustrating issue of missing album art.

    In most cases the album art will be picked up from an online database and saved to your computer with the ripped album contents, so that when you play the album tracks in Windows Media Player or a suitable MP3 device the album cover is displayed so that you can quickly identify what album the current track belongs to.

    However there are times that this doesn’t occur, leaving a blank default image displaying for your album art. This is more frustrating than anything else, but can be easily resolved.

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    Why Is the Album Art Missing?

    When a CD is ripped, Windows Media player connects to an online database of media information that includes track title, artist, and the album artwork. If the connection cannot be made or the album artwork isn’t available however, then nothing is downloaded from the database.

    Windows Media Player 11 might fail to download the album art if your PC is offline when you rip a CD or if you ripped it with different software. If the database doesn’t have the artwork for the album you’re ripping or your local system policy prevents album art downloads, when Windows Media Player will not display art for the ripped CD in question

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    Add Art from the Online Database

    You can force Windows Media Player 11 to apply information from the online database to your ripped album as follows:

    Updating album information will prompt Windows Media Player to connect to the online database and download the correct album data In Windows Media Player 11 go to Tools → Options Privacy and check Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet and click OK to confirm. (if the Tools menu is unavailable, press CTRL + M to display the Windows Media Player 11 classic menus)

    Ensure you have a connection to the internet

    In Windows Media Player 11 go to Library and find the album with the missing information

    Right click the album and select the context menu item Find Album Info

    Windows Media Player 11 will search the online database and return some results – check these and follow the onscreen instructions to apply the correct album art to your ripped CD.

    If the album art is not in the database however, you will need to add this manually.

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    Manually Adding Album Art to Windows Media Player 11

    Album art successfully added to WIndows Media Player Manually adding album it is simple – note that this method is permanent. Windows Media Player 11 will choose a manually added image in preference to one downloaded from the online database.

    To add art manually to Windows Media Player 11, first of all go to the Library tab and browse to the album in question.

    Next, find a copy of the album cover. This can either be on your computer or found on the web via your web browser. Right-click on the intended image and select Copy

    Go back to Windows Media Player 11 and right-click the album art box – from the context menu select Paste Album Art. The image will be scaled and converted to JPEG format before being embedded into the ripped album.

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    Problem Devices

    Following the above steps should resolve this problem in the majority of cases – however there are devices where it isn’t possible to reliably synchronize album art from Windows Media Player 11without an upgrade to the device firmware.

    Example devices include:

    * Samsung YP-Z5 MP3 Player

    * SanDisk Sansa e200 Series MP3 Players

    * Philips GoGear family MP3 Players

    This issue is not specific to these devices however; generally speaking if album art will not synch at all, you should check with your device manufacturer for support and possibly an upgrade to the firmware (the software that runs the device).