Protecting identity when using Windows Media Player

This tip was submitted to the SearchWin2000.com tip exchange by member Sudha PS. Please let other users know how useful it is by rating it below.

Like many other audio players, Windows Media Player rushes out to the Internet to find information for you when you play a CD. Some of this information, such as song titles and album art, is useful, but Media Player also identifies your copy of Media Player to the site where it's getting data. The reason for this is stated as: "The server uses this unique identifier to monitor your connection. By monitoring your connection, the server can make adjustments to increase the playback quality and to alert you about events that occur when receiving streams over the Internet."

In order to stop this type of information exchange, do the following: In Windows Media Player, click Tools > Options and go to the Player tab. You will see an option that says "Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your player." Turn it off.

Note: In newer

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versions of Windows Media Player, such as version 9, go to the Privacy Tab and uncheck "Send Unique Player ID to content providers."

Editor's Note...
You should definitely uncheck the box labeled "Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your player" as Sudha suggests, if privacy is your desire. But that may not be enough with Media Player. For those familiar with Regedit and it's consequences, you may wish to also eliminate the client ID altogether. It doesn't affect Media Players functionality and ensures your GUID privacy.

To remove the Media Player Global Uniquie IDentifier (GUID):

  1. Click Start --> Run, and type regedit
  2. Navigate to the path below, delete this entry, close regedit and reboot

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/MediaPlayer/Player/Settings/Client ID 

This was first published in June 2004

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