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Windows Media Player not adding albums to media library

Have been moving my music collection around and noticed that nearly half of the files didn't get added to the media library when monitoring the folder, or manually scanning it.

After investigating for awhile, I discovered that folders marked with the System attribute were being ignored by the media library.  I guess this is understandable, but left me with two questions:  First, how did only certain folders get this attribute set.  Secondly, how do I go about changing it?

About 130 of 410 total folders had the System attribute set.  I don't know exactly how it got set, but it may have something to do with the folders being stored temporary on a Samba-based file share.

My first though was to type attrib -s *. /s /d

However, while *. should match only files without extensions (which includes directories), attrib matches all files when given the *. wildcard pattern.  I was worried that the various WMP related files such as AlbumArt* and Folder.jpg and Thumbs.db would also lose their System attribute.

Executing the attrib command above did attempt to reset those files as well, but since they are also marked with the Hidden attribute, and error was presented and attrib moved on.

What I learned was that with Windows Media Player version 10, the media library will not automatically add folders that are marked with the System attribute.  If you are having problems getting artists or albums to import correctly into the media library, check the System attributes.

Published Mar 18 2005, 12:05 PM by ChuckOp
Filed under: ,



roka said:

how would u check the system having this same problem. how did u completely fix it.
March 29, 2005 11:04 PM

Charles Oppermann said:

To find out if a directory entry has the System attribute set, you have to open the Command Prompt. Then navigate to Music folder, which is usually under your profile as "My Music"

cd /d "%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\My Music\"

Then get a listing of the directories that have the System attribute set:

dir /ads /s

This lists directories only that have the System attribute set. Then use the ATTRIB command to reset the System attribute:

attrib -s *.* /d /s

This will turn off the System attribute on all files and directories. A number of files that are hidden will generate errors, but that can be ignored.

Good luck!
March 30, 2005 12:08 PM

roka said:

tell u music folder is actually in "D:\MUSIC\My Music" thats where my music is all stored...u think u can help me out with that.....i have 2 drives just incase u want to noe. my music is in the second drive "D:\MUSIC\My Music"
March 31, 2005 2:38 AM

Charles Oppermann said:

If the music is in d:\music\my music then you type the following at the command prompt:

attrib –s “d:\music\my music\*.*” /s /d

You’ll get a number of errors on files like Desktop.ini, Thumbs.db, Folder.jpg and AlbumArt*.jpg

Those errors are okay. The directories will have their system attribute reset.
March 31, 2005 11:30 AM

Whitney said:

Okay, when I look at my attributes all I see is the letter A....what can I do now?

May 21, 2007 10:28 PM

Eric said:

Thanks Chuck!  Worked for me.  No idea why the system attribute was set on all my music after I reinstalled Windows.

May 25, 2007 8:04 PM

Ivan said:

Thanks!!! Same here - a reinstall of XP had set the S attribute on my music folders. I have been "touching" the same drive with XMMMS on Ubuntu, so perhaps did it? Who knows? Any, all fixed now and many thanks.

May 26, 2007 2:45 AM

Mr. Tuna SWE said:

Hi! Have the same problem, but with my image directorys. Tried out the way you explained above, but with no results. None of my directorys has the attribute set. But stil the WMP can't find the directorys. I'am usin win xp.

May 31, 2007 12:15 PM

François said:

Great ! Many thanks ! I have been looking for a long time to make this work out and finally found it !

June 17, 2007 6:24 AM

Andreas said:

Wow!!!  been searching for months.  Had moved all my music to my d drive and wmp only scanned certain folders.  Was driving me crazy.  Ran the attrib command and wammo all files/folders found!!  Thanks.

August 2, 2007 4:44 PM

Sofia said:

I have been searchign for so long, but i didn know how to, but now i know how to do that, and i have added more 650 songs in my media player

August 7, 2007 9:16 PM

Jerome said:

Thank you so much, I ran the command and had about 1,000 things scroll by way too fast to read any of it. But WMP is adding all the files now.

September 8, 2007 3:45 AM

Kambodia said:

If my music has many sub-directories, must I access every single folder manually to change the attributes?

Thanks in advance.

September 11, 2007 5:20 AM

Mike said:

Brilliant solution!  More helpful than the Micrososft site.  I bought a new Vista computer and half my music colleciton wasn't showing up. This did the trick.  Microsoft bug???

September 12, 2007 7:52 PM

Daniel said:

Thanks for the attrib trick ( attrib -s *.* /d /s), it's working.

September 24, 2007 7:52 PM

Brian said:

There once was a man named Chuck,

who gave a man named Brian some luck.

Chuck made  Brians day,

so Brian said Hey,


Thanks bro i been workingon this for way too long.

October 20, 2007 8:40 PM

rio said:

thanks for the help.. certainly solved all my problems!

thumbs up!

didn't know we all face the same problems don't we..

October 21, 2007 7:23 PM

phil said:

Excellent bit of advice,

I'd redirected my music folder to another drive and it seems vista had set the system attribute on some of the folders for some reason.

This sorted it out.


November 17, 2007 7:25 AM

Marce said:

Thanks, it works....

Been trying for days to find the solution...

November 26, 2007 4:44 AM

Damien said:

Thank you for all, it works PERFECT

I've been looking for a fix for 6 months

Thanks a lot

November 26, 2007 2:49 PM

Tovo said:


November 29, 2007 2:04 AM

andy said:

I know this sound stupid, but how do you open command promt to start with.


December 5, 2007 1:55 PM

nyqa said:

andy: type "cmd" in the runwindow. startmenu -> run

Or you can use the windowsbutton on your keyboard + R to get to the runwindow.

"cmd" or "" is the right one to type in.

December 30, 2007 8:32 AM

Barry said:

Thanks Chuck,

  This worked perfectly on my Vista Business OS with my music on a mapped network drive.

February 11, 2008 6:58 AM

ErikAlex said:

To remove all attrib on your music, so that Windows Mediaplayer finds them, do as follows:

Make a new text file (right click the desktop-New-Text dokument). Type attrib –s “d:\music\my music\*.*” /s /d

and save the file as name.bat. Now run the bat file by double clicking.

February 22, 2008 10:27 AM

TommyT said:

Boy am I glad I found this posting.  I recently rearranged/deleted my entire library to start over and nothing except for pictures was making it back into WMP11.  I had tried deleting the databases, etc.  This worked like a charm!

February 25, 2008 9:07 AM

DrToonz said:

I tried this and it seemed to work great, EXEPT:

I have TWO external hard drives with music on them (lots). They are in files w/structure like this: j:\My Music 2\Artist\Album\Songtitle....Your fix found 330 or so more songs (of my 110k+), but still there are files/songs there that are not being recognized. The ID3 tags are accurate so I'm just kind of lost. Can you suggest anything?

April 1, 2008 11:56 AM

Jeremy Harris said:

Works for me! Thanks!

April 1, 2008 12:14 PM

Zuzu said:

thnx Charles Opperman

it did work perfectly

you should b recruited by Microsoft, lol

May 14, 2008 10:39 AM

Aaron said:

Wow. Nice find. Worked perfectly.

June 12, 2008 4:34 AM

Mat said:

I keep getting "parameter not correct"

June 21, 2008 7:47 AM

Nadeem said:

hey its my i have another error lol and i styl need help wiht my first one :P

attrib -s *.* /d /s

when i step in that it says it suppesed yo reset the files but for me it says" Not resetting file....?????? what do i doooo??

July 1, 2008 1:01 PM

Nadeem said:

ok i have gotten it to work now but not theres another error... i cant connect to the internet (im on my bros) when i did "attrib -s *.* /d /s" it turned off the System attribute on all files and directories but umm how do i put them back on??  plz help

July 1, 2008 7:13 PM

nihil khagram said:

i m devloping a websit for uploading and downloding videos

as well as audio so i wnt to know tht hw to use windows media player in 2005.. plz help

September 6, 2008 8:38 AM

James said:

Thanks, spent a few days on this.  I set my samba server to ignore the system attrib (archive, hidden) and use the permission setting for read only.  I use SWAT, so I do not know the config file text.  This seemed to fix "I cannot load files into Vista Media Center" from my samba share.

September 9, 2008 4:25 PM

RD_303 said:

Great fix.  Anyone know how I can get XP (SP3)  to not set the attribute on my music folders in the first place?


September 18, 2008 4:48 PM

Ray said:


You don't know how happy I am that I found your post on this. This issue has been driving me batty for months. I've tried everything I knew, researched, read, and still couldn't get it fixed. When I ran the command to switch the "s" attribute off, BAM, it worked. I feel like I owe you dinner. Or perhaps better these days, a tank of gas for you car.


September 26, 2008 3:24 PM

Cottey said:

Wow it actualy works thanks

October 13, 2008 11:41 PM

JKDFlyghter said:

Hey Chuck - excellent fix!

I recovered 240 songs!

November 10, 2008 11:33 PM

Bill said:

Awesome job... worked great!

November 14, 2008 9:08 PM

KevO said:

Beauty!!! worked a treat just wish i'd found this months ago  Thankyou very Much!!!!

December 21, 2008 11:52 PM

FM said:

I've had a similar problem that required a different solution.

I have albums composed of WMA files with missing ID3 tags on an external USB drive. This drive is monitored by WMP, but it was ignoring the files w/o the tags, and would not add them to the library no matter the library settings or how many times I tried to force the update.

I ended up:

1. Copying the files over to the local personal (default) music folder.

2. Deleting the Media Player database file (you may get away with forcing the library update, but if that doesn't work, there are instructions available at

3. Did a 'find album info' and used the search function to find the correct album.

4. And then did an 'Apply Media Information Changes.'

I wouldn't say this was slick, but it got the job done. My only other advice is that if you have file names such as 01 Track 1.wma, rename the files with the correct names first.

Best of luck.

January 20, 2009 9:04 PM

FM said:

And oh yeah,:

5. After the files were updated, I copied the local album folder back onto the external drive, replacing the previous folder. You will want to be sure to copy the entire folder so that the hidden files go with it (or show hidden files first, and then copy them all).

6. I've had mixed luck getting the library to update with the new file location, but if it doesn't, it does not seem to hurt deleting the entire database and letting it rebuild. With WMP, it seem like this is often the best solution, and it has never caused me a problem.

January 20, 2009 9:15 PM

PA said:

Excellent advise mate, many thanks for sorting out a problem that has plagued me for months now

March 8, 2009 5:44 AM

Salmidach said:

Oh thanks mate you are such a star..

it was really bugging me that quite a few of my albums weren't showing. After re-running Add to Library it found another 800 missing tracks....

March 14, 2009 6:25 AM

Rey said:

Great Chuck, I have been wondering around by days, you are great, thanks a lot.

Not even on MS had an answer for that.

March 16, 2009 1:30 PM

USZF said:

Thanks man, i'v been suffering for days and now case solved:)

March 22, 2009 8:08 PM

Yaman said:

that worked.. thanks a ton.. i have been trying registry settings for hours.. this worked as promised.

March 29, 2009 6:57 AM

anshul said:

Thanks man..i was unable to add all the mp3 files and this had plagued me for months ...

April 1, 2009 3:41 AM

Serkan TÜRK said:

Thank you verry much my friend. I have been searching the reason for weeks.

April 11, 2009 2:12 PM

Rob said:

Wow, thanks a ton! It's 4 years after the original post but saved my life after a reformat and a bunch of different hard drive transfers.  Found all 20,000 of my songs!

April 24, 2009 2:47 AM

Mark said:

You da man!

June 22, 2009 1:10 AM

Travis said:

Thanks for the info.  It worked great for me.

July 17, 2009 5:17 PM

Greg said:

I have a similar but different problem.  WMP won't allow me to select the external drive for monitoring.  When I go to 'Add to Library' and navigate to the external drive, the 'Add Folder' OK button is disabled.  If I click on folders located on the drive, same problem.  I got it to work once by making the drive shared, but now that does not work either.

July 26, 2009 1:00 PM

Keith said:

I have a problem. For some reason my media player 11 will not add any folder that I want to add music. So it won't add music at all. I back tracked the player to 10 then it does but when I put it back to 11 it takes all the music off and will not add the folders that I want.

September 16, 2009 3:33 AM

wade said:

I just get the "Not resetting hidden file" error...

September 22, 2009 5:36 PM

cameld said:

Thanks for the solution. Did you ever figure out why the the attribute was being set in the first place?

October 3, 2009 10:46 AM

r4 nintendo said:

you take any version of will always store a Audio CD with artist name UNKNOWN ARTIST........

October 13, 2009 8:06 AM

Altrufish said:

Genius, thank you so much, all my vids went from media player 12 on newly installed windows 7. My music vids are on the A drive so I made a note pad file as advised with    

attrib –s “a:\Music vids\*.*” /s /d

written in it, saved it on the desk top and clicked it. 1 second later all my vids are in media player. brilliant! Saved me hours of messing around getting nowhere, so a big thankyou!

November 9, 2009 3:31 AM

Adonel said:

I have my music files on my 'E how can i get all my albums to media player it seems that not all my music files were added in media player

July 15, 2010 10:48 AM

Adonel said:

I have my music stored on my 'E drive but nat all my music is on media player. How do i get it to the media player

July 15, 2010 10:50 AM

Pierre said:

Thanks a lot :-)

September 21, 2010 6:29 PM

Rayvenus said:

Whiskey, Thank you so much, it worked! I tried evevthing under sun!

October 3, 2010 12:09 AM

Kevin said:

U R a genius. i have searched for an answer to this for over a year now. thank you so much!

January 7, 2011 12:47 AM

Waldemar said:

Well it looks like y'all got  it so I'm in !

and let  Y'all know later

June 5, 2011 7:15 PM

Mdaya said:

Whysky! Cheers mate. You really bailed me after i'd given up!

November 22, 2012 11:18 AM

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About ChuckOp

Charles Oppermann is 25-year veteran of software design. He is the original author of the popular JAWS screen reader for people with visual impairments, and spent over a decade at Microsoft working on accessibility and user experience in the Windows, Internet Explorer and speech product groups. Charles was a representative to the W3C and Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and the author of two technical books published by Microsoft Press. He has also worked at Cisco Systems,, and is currently Program Manager and Development Supervisor for Consumer Security Products at GFI Software.