Restore Missing Windows Media Player to the Set Default Programs List in Windows Vista

If you find that the Windows Media Player entry is missing in the Set your Default Programs listing, it’s probably because someone removed access to the program in your computer. Here is how you restore it.

1. Click Start, Default Programs

2. Click Set program access and computer defaults

3. Click Custom to expand the section

4. Scroll down to section Choose a default media player

5. Enable the option Enable access to this program for Windows Media Player

6. Click OK.

WMP is not listed?

If Windows Media Player is not listed in the Set program access and computer defaults list, download, unzip and run the enclosed REG file wmp-programs-list.reg. This should restore Windows Media Player to the listing.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

10 thoughts on “Restore Missing Windows Media Player to the Set Default Programs List in Windows Vista”

  1. Humongous thanks for this one!

    I’ve searched all over the web and tried everything to fix Windows Media Player. Turns out Winamp installer now goes and messes with these settings somehow (programs have access to this stuff?)


  2. thank you oohhh sooo much i’ve been trying self discovery here but nothing seems to happen. you’re a BIG help!!!! God bless you!!

  3. thank you thank you

    all the other websites trying to address this issue kept talking about codecs, reinstalling win7, etc

    I knew how to set default, I just didn’t know why WMP wouldn’t stay as default, or why it never showed up in my list of players to choose from.


  4. Ditto all the other comments…..wmp just disappeared and i had no clue. Looked at all the Google search results that just said impossible to get back, or re-install vista, or copy from windows 7, etc., and almost gave up….then made one more search and found your simple but dread lifting solution.


    in windows XP is slightly different : Start / All Programs / Set Program Access and Defaults / (choose and expand) Custom / (scroll down to) Choose a Default Media Player / (choose) Windows Media Player , and Check the Enable Access to this Program / Click OK.
    The shortcut will be restored in Programs File, and a shortcut will be added if you look in (quick) Start menu – drag it in above section to be permanent. (now if you wish you can left-drag and create a shortcut on desktop).

    A trick when nothing was there: I had some music files for Windows media Player in a folder on desktop. When Windows Media Player icons were gone, I double-click one of these music files and they opened the Windows Media Player from inside the computer. You can then drag/load/unload any number of music files into the player.

    I used it like this until I fixed the Icons back.

    Thanks again, all the best

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