Windows Media Player: Stop Adding Album Art

Windows Media Player has the nasty habit of adding album art to MP3 (and other media) files and directories it finds on the disc. These show up as additional files inside the media directories. These filenames are of the form:

Album_Art_{1A2B3C4D-ABCD-5678-9ABC-0A1B2C3D4E5F}_Large.jpg
Album_Art_{1A2B3C4D-ABCD-5678-9ABC-0A1B2C3D4E5F}_Small.jpg
AlbumArtSmall.jpg
Folder.jpg

A lot of people like this feature, since it automatically downloads album art and creates overlays on media folder icons to look like CD covers. However, I hate Windows or anyone messing with my media files and directories. But thankfully, this irritant can be handled.

Disable in Setup Wizard

This automatic update option can be disabled the first time a user invokes Windows Media Player. At first invocation, WMP throws up a setup wizard to configure the options for the software.

Disable the option Update music files by retrieving media information from the Internet.

Disable in Options

To disable these updates from inside Windows Media Player, choose Organize β†’ Options. Disable the option Retrieve additional information from the Internet.

Delete the Files

Use a search tool like Search Everything to search, find and delete the offending album art files.

You are now free of the album art vermin! πŸ™‚

4 thoughts on “Windows Media Player: Stop Adding Album Art

  1. Rubbish! That (so called) solution simply doesn’t work. Especially if you have embedded art work in you mp3’s – to prevent Windows Media Player 12 from generating these annoying art files – use another player like Media Player Classic.

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    1. Some of this type of album art seems to pop up out of nowhere, regardless of whether you’ve used Windows Media Player recently. Certain MP3 files seem be more susceptible to having such album art downloaded for them. I know this sounds like a bit of an unintelligent observation but you can’t argue with documented facts. Anyway, there is a way to totally stop this from happening which I bumped into recently, which involves adding a couple of fields to the Registry as follows:

      A hack apparently taken from this forum:
      https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/10c4467e-fe22-4faa-bbbb-c8a91aba333c/windows-media-player-destroys-the-album-art-pictures?forum=w7itpromedia

      If you add the below values it appears that WMP will NOT generate or resize new folder.jpg OR AlbumArtSmall.jpg files. IF folder.jpg (or AlbumArtSmall) already exist(s), it does not resize it but merely sets the HIDDEN and SYSTEM attributes. so if you have a folder.jpg and/or an albumartsmall.jpg file at 1500×1500, it will leave them alone (except for hiding them…).

      [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences]
      “LargeAlbumArtSize”=dword:ffffffff
      “SmallAlbumArtSize”=dword:ffffffff

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  2. As long as you won’t mind losing the Media Center Extender, and really who would with XBMC freely available, do this instead. Go to Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features and choose Turn Windows features on or off. From there, scroll to Media Features and disable Windows Media Player. If you have MCE it will be disabled as well.

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