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How To: Control Windows Media Player

How To: Control Windows Media Player

The question has come up a couple of time in various forum threads about how to control the Media Player. We have learned many things about how to control the Media Player through these threads, so it's time we make a tutorial.

One caveat is that when we talk about the Media Player, we are referring to the Desktop Media Player version, not the "funky" Windows 8 app Media Player.

*With all code examples, change the path and file name of directories as needed!

First, Windows Media Player by design is limited in the commands it can accept via a command line option, and this is really the fundamental way to control an application like the Media Player in Windows. Microsoft explains what is available: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/241422

Second, we learned that you can't directly launch Media Player or a Play List from a Script in ARC without using a batch file. (The Batch file would include the instructions to open Media Player or a Play List.)

Third, we learned you can call music file to play directly in ARC without placing the sound file in a SoundBoard:



Forth, we learned you can call a Video File and it will automatically open in Media Player if that is set as your default player:



Fifth, we learned there is a method for granular control of the alternative media player called "WinAmp" using another 3rd party application control "CLEver". This thread discusses that method.

Sixth, we learned how we can control Windows Media Player to play a play list, stop, play, pause, next track, previous track, mute, unmute, volume up, volume down and close by using a combination of built in Script functions, Batch (.bat) files and PowerShell (.ps1) script files.

Batch files are a long time standard of Windows and dates back to DOS as a method to automate and script basic functions in the OS.

PowerShell is scripting language from Microsoft which is free and comes packaged with Windows7 and 8.x. It utilizes .Net framework and is used in the IT profession to help manage windows systems. It can be a powerfull and easy way to add external controls to ARC that ARC does not currently include.

The sample files you'll need including the batch files and power shell files can be found here under Software: http://www.j2rscientific.com

To open a Play List with Media Player, you need to create a play list under Windows Media Player, then create a short cut file (.lnk) of the play list. ARC can use this to launch the play list. Use this ARC Script:


Exec("C:\Users\weyou_000\Documents\EZ-Builder\My Projects\ShortCuts\All 80's.lnk")

To close Media Player, use this ARC Script:


$attributes = "/F /IM wmplayer.exe"

Example of Batch file (.bat) code to call a PowerShell script (because ARC can't do it directly):


powershell -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -File "C:\Users\weyou_000\Documents\EZ-Builder\My Projects\PowerShell\Mute_Unmute.ps1"

Example of PowerShell script to control mute and unmute:


$wshShell = new-object -com wscript.shell

The PowerShell script is sending a keyboard character 173, which is the code to mute/unmute. The follow are the key codes used in the various PowerShell Scripts:

Mute/Unmute: 173
Volume Down: 174
Volume Up: 175
Next Track: 176
Previous Track: 177
Stop Media: 178
Play/Pause: 179
These key commands were found here.

Example of ARC script to call the Batch file to control mute and unmute:


Exec("C:\Users\weyou_000\Documents\EZ-Builder\My Projects\BatchFiles\Mute_Unmute.bat")

Please watch the YouTube video tutorial:

ok.. The mute/unmute is working on windows 7.
The "previuou Track", also working..

But the "Next Track", The "play_PAuse" and the others are not!...
Since its a virtual Machine, the Buttons on the keyboard does not control the Windows Media Player..
So It migth be some difference on code numbers.. don't you think ?
The keyboard codes remain the same. In my virtual machines they accept my keyboard controls for the Media Player. I use VMware Workstation.
It's the same that I use!
What's going wrong here... I don't understand.
*stress* *stress* *stress*
I'll try to uninstall the media player and instal it again..
It does not make sense.. But, it's windows after all..
Any other suggestion ?
It does not make sense that some of the scripts would work and some would not.

You might want try the alternative method Steve G. shared using WinAmp and CLEver.exe.

Its so simple... since I had My Main Language set to Portuguese, the Key Commands where different..
So I just set my main Language and keyboard to English, and... That's IT!
I still got my Portuguese and language keyboard installed, and working...

And now my Robot controls Media Player with your Scripts!
Thanks a lot!
That is great to know tevans, I'm so glad you found the solution!

Multilanguage support is not my strong suite unfortunately.