The Right Way to Uninstall or Reinstall Windows Media Player 12

Disable Windows Media Player 12 to 'uninstall' it from your computer

Close-Up Of Audio Cassette And Player Against White Background
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If Windows Media Player 12 misbehaves, and a simple restart doesn't help, you can uninstall and reinstall the program from your computer. This should help with any Windows Media Player errors or hiccups you might be having.

However, unlike other programs you can reinstall, you don't actually need to delete Windows Media Player 12, nor do you download it from a website when you want to install it. Instead, just disable Windows Media Player to remove it, or enable it to add it back to your computer.

Tip: For other programs that aren't built in to Windows, you can use a third-party software uninstaller like IObit Uninstaller to fully erase the program from the hard drive.

Disabling Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player 12 is included in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. The process for disabling WMP is identical in each of these versions of Windows.

  1. Open the Run dialog box with the Windows Key + R shortcut.

  2. Enter the optionalfeatures command.

  3. Locate and expand the Media Features folder in the Windows Features window.

  4. Remove the checkbox next to Windows Media Player.

  5. Click the Yes button to the question prompt about how turning off Windows Media Player might affect other Windows features and programs. Turning off WMP will also disable Windows Media Center (if you have it installed, too).

  6. Click OK on the Windows Features window and wait while Windows disables Windows Media Player 12. How long it takes depends primarily on the speed of your computer. 

  7. Restart your computer. You're not asked to reboot in Windows 10 or Windows 8 but it's still a good habit to get into when disabling Windows features or uninstalling programs.

Enabling Windows Media Player

To install Windows Media Player again, repeat the above steps but put a check in the box next to Windows Media Player in the Windows Features window. If disabling WMP disabled something else, like Windows Media Center, you can re-enable that, too. Remember to restart your computer when you're done installing Windows Media Player.

Most Windows 10 computers come with Windows Media Player installed by default, but if your particular build did not, you can download Microsoft's Media Feature Pack to enable it.