A Windows player 9.0 is far better than the old versions of windows player in terms features and playback quality. It has an improved look and better media management skills. It comes in two versions (98/2000/Me version and the XP edition ) Version for XP has the most attractive features but no longer available for download at the Microsoft website though you could use this link to still get it http://www.oldversion.com/download/wmp9xp.exe .
Both versions are relatively a few MBs and will take approximately 40 seconds to download over a cable modem after which installation is just a walk over; the wizard does most of the work.
Importing songs from CDs is as simple as inserting a disc and clicking the Copy button. Windows Media Player automatically grabs all the tagging information if you have an online connection.
When you start Windows Media Player 9.0 for the first time, you'll be asked to specify whether you want copy protection on or off. If you choose to activate this feature, you can rip CDs to secure Windows Media files only, meaning that the songs can be played on only your computer and can't be copied.
Version 9.0 builds on the standard interface of its predecessors, but you can now shrink the player so that controls appear on the Windows taskbar. You can also access videos, album info, or eye-candy visualizations from an optional window that's nice for background work. If you like, you can view visualizations and videos on the full screen. Many of the new features in Media Player 9.0 are designed to make organizing, managing, and playing your libraries of ripped CD tracks, downloaded music, and videos easier. Auto Playlists, which work off your songs' ID3 tags to create lists of music, let you easily switch up your tunes depending on your mood. For example, you can create playlists of tracks that you generally listen to at night or put together the best songs for road trips. Like Apple iTunes, Windows Media Player 9.0 lets you rate songs on a one- to five-star scale, so you can create automatic playlists made of your favorite tunes. The program even remembers which songs you play often and which you hardly play at all, and it automatically organizes your library based on those preferences.
Version 9.0 offers links to a variety of streaming-content options. Can't seem to keep tabs on all your tracks? Windows Media Player 9.0 makes it easier to manage libraries of ripped CD songs, downloaded music, and videos. For example, when you delete a media file from the library, you can choose to have it removed from your hard drive at the same time. You can also rename batches of tracks ripped from Unknown Album by Unknown Artist, using information automatically grabbed from the Internet.
Tthe advanced tag editor, lets you view and edit more than 35 fields of info, so you can add photos, videos, and even synchronized lyrics.
This edition of Media Player comes populated with a variety of Auto Playlists for grouping your music according to your mood. If you use an older OS, you'll enjoy the Smart Jukebox features, but the cool features such as the advanced tag editor, the ability to add lyrics to a file and synchronize them with a playing song, Video CD playback, autoplaylists, volume leveling, and cross-fading--are available in only the XP version.
Windows Media Player 9.0 loads more quickly than its predecessor (especially for streaming media)and crunches native Windows Media formats so that they're smaller and sound smoother. A link from this Options panel brings you to a Web page selling third-party MP3-encoding plug-ins.
Version 9.0 imports music from CDs into only WMA files and deliberately leaves holes for plug-in vendors to fill. A link on one of the Options panel brings you to a Web page offering MP3 plug-ins, but both options cost $9.95. The trade-off for free software has always been lousy support. Here, you're limited to help files and online forums.