64-bit flavor of Windows 7 includes both 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) versions of Windows Media Player 12, or WMP 12. However, to provide maximum compatibility with existing applications and codecs, 32-bit version of Windows Media Player has been made the default media player.

In fact, WMP x64 has been included since 64-bit Windows Vista, and the WMP 11 x64 has also not been made as default player. There is workaround to switch or change and set 64-bit Windows Media Player 11 as default player in Vista. However, the simple trick to switch to 64-bit player does not work anymore as Windows 7 locks the registry key that required to be changed to alter the file associations related to WMP. The change is to improve system security so that malicious code cannot modify the WMP play and enqueue commands

As a result, Windows 7 users who want to use 64-bit WMP has to performed extra steps to unlock the registry key. What’s the advantage of using 64-bit (x64) Windows Media Player? Using 64-bit software allows application to run natively and take architecture advantage in x64 operating system, and potentially run faster by working with larger data sets at any time. One practical consideration is for users who use Windows Media Center, which is an 64-bit app. By switching to WMP x64, users just need to install one instance of codecs (just x64 version) to playback various media files in WMC and WMP.

How to Switch and Set 64-bit Windows Media Player As Default Media Player

  1. Run Registry Editor (RegEdit).
  2. Take ownership and grant full control of registry keys listed below to unlock the registry keys:

    HKLM\Software\CLASSES\CLSID\{cdc32574-7521-4124-90c3-8d5605a34933}\LocalServer32
    HKLM\Software\CLASSES\CLSID\{45597c98-80f6-4549-84ff-752cf55e2d29}\LocalServer32
    HKLM\Software\CLASSES\CLSID\{ed1d0fdf-4414-470a-a56d-cfb68623fc58}\LocalServer32

  3. Open an elevated command prompt as administrator and type the following command:

    %WinDir%\system32\unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:64

  4. Run Registry Editor (RegEdit) and navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe

  5. Double click on the registry subkey Path and set its value data as %ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player. By default, it has the value data of “%ProgramFiles (x86)%\Windows Media Player”.

    Change Windows Media Player Path

  6. Exit from Registry Editor.
  7. Copy and paste the following code into a text editor, and save it as a file name with .reg extension.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{45597c98-80f6-4549-84ff-752cf55e2d29}\LocalServer32] @=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
    00,65,00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,\
    4d,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,61,00,20,00,50,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,5c,\
    00,77,00,6d,00,70,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,\
    22,00,20,00,2f,00,45,00,6e,00,71,00,75,00,65,00,75,00,65,00,00,00

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{cdc32574-7521-4124-90c3-8d5605a34933}\LocalServer32] @=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
    00,65,00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,\
    4d,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,61,00,20,00,50,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,5c,\
    00,77,00,6d,00,70,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,\
    22,00,20,00,2f,00,42,00,75,00,72,00,6e,00,43,00,44,00,00,00

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{ed1d0fdf-4414-470a-a56d-cfb68623fc58}\LocalServer32] @=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
    00,65,00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,\
    4d,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,61,00,20,00,50,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,5c,\
    00,77,00,6d,00,70,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,\
    22,00,20,00,2f,00,50,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,00,00

  8. Run the registry registration file to merge the value into system.
  9. Unpin and remove the original Windows Media Player x86 shortcut from Windows 7 Taskbar, or else two WMP icons or buttons will be found on the Taskbar. To pin 64-bit WMP icon or button to Taskbar, right click the Windows Media Player x64 on Start Menu and select Pin to Taskbar.

Alternatively, just download the following 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Media Player 12 Switcher zip package, which contains all the necessary files to easily set either 64-bit WMP as default, or revert back to 32-bit WMP as default player.

Download Win7-WMP-x64.zip

Unpack the whole content into a same folder, and open a command prompt with administrator’s rights, and run Set_WMP_x64.cmd to set WMP x64 as default media player. Likewise, run Set_WMP_x86.cmd to revert and reset back to WMP x86 as default media player.

Enjoy the native x64 Windows Media Player experience.

To undo the x64 change, and to switch, swap, revert and change back the default media player to Windows Media Player 12 x86 32-bit edition, use Set_WMP_x86.cmd file above, and manually by issuing the following command instead:

%WinDir%\system32\unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:32

For value data of “Path” sub-key of “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe” registry branch, set it to %ProgramFiles (x86)%\Windows Media Player. Then copy and paste the following code to a text editor to create a .reg file, which can be ran to merge the registry keys and values to change the WMP file associations.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{45597c98-80f6-4549-84ff-752cf55e2d29}\LocalServer32] @=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
00,65,00,73,00,28,00,78,00,38,00,36,00,29,00,25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,\
64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,4d,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,61,00,20,00,50,00,6c,\
00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,77,00,6d,00,70,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,\
72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,22,00,20,00,2f,00,45,00,6e,00,71,00,75,00,65,\
00,75,00,65,00,00,00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{cdc32574-7521-4124-90c3-8d5605a34933}\LocalServer32] @=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
00,65,00,73,00,28,00,78,00,38,00,36,00,29,00,25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,\
64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,4d,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,61,00,20,00,50,00,6c,\
00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,77,00,6d,00,70,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,\
72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,22,00,20,00,2f,00,42,00,75,00,72,00,6e,00,43,\
00,44,00,00,00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{ed1d0fdf-4414-470a-a56d-cfb68623fc58}\LocalServer32] @=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
00,65,00,73,00,28,00,78,00,38,00,36,00,29,00,25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,\
64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,4d,00,65,00,64,00,69,00,61,00,20,00,50,00,6c,\
00,61,00,79,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,77,00,6d,00,70,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,65,00,\
72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,22,00,20,00,2f,00,50,00,6c,00,61,00,79,00,00,\
00

Finally, re-pin the WMP x86 icon onto Taskbar to be able to run 32-bit WMP directly from Taskbar.

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