WMC 8.8.3 Crashes when some albums are in Music library

Discussion of getting WMC to work on Windows 10 (unsupported)
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AZDoug

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WMC 8.8.3 Crashes when some albums are in Music library

#1

Post by AZDoug » Fri May 10, 2019 5:06 pm

I have WMC 8.8.3 installed in Win10 V1904 (prerelease).

Everything seems to work well, including live TV and recording from a USB tuner. I have two computers with it installed and both work well for TV.
On my PC, I started using MUSIC by adding a directory with a small number of album folders to the music library, and it works as expected.
When I added my large music library, which has been installed in WMC from Win XP, Win 7 and Win 8.1, it causes WMC to crash. When restarted, WMC is OK until the music library is opened. It seems to play any album or file if started by an "open with" command from explorer, but when the library is opened, WMC crashes.

When trying smaller test directories in the library, I found that WMC would not handle albums that where the folder was of the MUSIC type. Some of the folders are from before 2010, and are of different configurations than today's Windows MUSIC folder configuration. I changed all folders in the test directory to the GENERAL format, and the directory would import without crashing WMC.

This seemed to be a solution, but there appears to be another sensitivity that I can't find. During the process of trying to sort this out, I moved a 6 or more "problem albums" to a separate directory, out of WMC's reach (I thought). Apparently WMC scans for content, as it found these albums, and now I cannot get rid of them. Even when there are no directories selected in the Music Library, they remain. I have uninstalled WMC, and scrubbed C: with two cleaners, and they remain when I reinstall WMC. I can't find them and they are either immediately rescanned or not deleted. BTW, they are located on a drive other than C:, where all of the current music albums are located.

It is possible to use MUSIC with the 'Known Good" directory in the library, but if the "Problem Genre" which is only present in the phantom albums that show up in the library is selected, then WMC crashes. As it is now, I cannot display the library in the album view. I have to select a Genre view and avoid one specific Genre.

I did a search in this directory, but I don't think I located anytning remotely similar.
Anybody have any ideas?

AZDoug

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#2

Post by AZDoug » Fri May 10, 2019 10:02 pm

I hope this isn't premature, but I may have discovered what is causing the crashes.
It appears that is may be as simple as removing any DESKTOP.INI files that might be in the folders containing album tracks. Not every album folder contains an .ini file. In my case the albums have been digitized over many years and OP systems, starting in 2006 with an XP HTPC w/ WMC.

It is interesting that WMC is displaying and playing several albums that I put aside as problems albums, and are not in the paths defined as part of the music library.

And that's how things appear at the moment, I only have about a quarter of the 3500 tracks in the library at present, and a small number are in a OneDrive folder, which may be another wildcard.

AZDoug

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#3

Post by AZDoug » Sat May 11, 2019 4:08 pm

I was able to get WMC to accept a another larger branch of the library that was copied from OneDrive to a local HD, but still am having problems when trying to get WMC to accept the same files in a OneDrive folder, even after some extra effort making sure that every file has the characteristic of "always keep on the device' vs. "available on this device" I'm running out of things that might affect this; some folders are OK, some cause it to crash when highlighting a Genre containing a problem.
I may be tempted to just copy the whole music library to a local drive outside of OneDrive.

technodevotee

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#4

Post by technodevotee » Sun May 12, 2019 7:33 am

I'm afraid you are not alone.

My WMC 8.8.3 crashes repeatedly when trying to play music. WMC 8.8.2 did the same thing. There's nothing special about my music folders.

I've tried everything I can think of and can't resolve the issue so I gave up using it to play music.
Technodevotee

jachin99

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#5

Post by jachin99 » Sun May 12, 2019 3:01 pm

AZDoug wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 10:02 pm
I hope this isn't premature, but I may have discovered what is causing the crashes.
It appears that is may be as simple as removing any DESKTOP.INI files that might be in the folders containing album tracks. Not every album folder contains an .ini file. In my case the albums have been digitized over many years and OP systems, starting in 2006 with an XP HTPC w/ WMC.

It is interesting that WMC is displaying and playing several albums that I put aside as problems albums, and are not in the paths defined as part of the music library.

And that's how things appear at the moment, I only have about a quarter of the 3500 tracks in the library at present, and a small number are in a OneDrive folder, which may be another wildcard.
There is a cover cache for music located somewhere in the appdata folder. I have seen album covers stored here, and maybe you are seeing the album covers from the cache rather than an actual file. On your windows 10 machine, do you have SMB v1 enabled?

EDIT: You have to enable hidden folders, and show protected operating system files to see the cached cover art. Its under USER/appdata/local/microsoft/ehome/artcache

AZDoug

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#6

Post by AZDoug » Sun May 12, 2019 8:52 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.
I have been looking for a database of music contents, but couldn't locate one. I have a repeat problem when I reused a directory of albums that was OK before, but now it causes crashes. I don't get it, same files, except maybe some were moved from other directories into a common directory that became the single library entry.

I deleted the files in the ehome appdata location. After rebooting, I opened WMC Music again and set it to view all albums. All albums were all there as before, and WMC crashed after LT 15 seconds. I rechecked the file location, and the deleted appdata files stayed deleted, so there is another cache of data …. somewhere.

I have had thoughts of abandoning any effort on WMC Music. Although I'm out of ideas for now, I'll wait for some more suggestions and inspiration before pulling the plug.

I have some albums that I prepared from recordings. They functioned as well as any ripped CD album, but I had an occasion to edit one of the files to remove some unwanted material at the beginning of one track in an otherwise OK album. After editing the track, WMC Music somehow recognized that the track was different and created another album with the same title as the original, but with that single track in it. Anything that I tried would not undo the condition and allow the track back in the album it belonged in.
What I am looking for, and can't find is to be able to wipe clean any user data that WMC created as a result of running on a user account. Anything I found that sounds like it might reset WMC is incomplete. It may clear settings, but not data caches.

I first noticed the duplicate album thing when I used Groove on some albums I created. I couldn't fix the edited file condition either, and was ready to dump it when WMC came along. I now suspect that Groove is just some recycled WMC code since WMC pulled the same trick as Groove did earlier. This is beginning to reinforce the opinion I formed based upon MS apps dating back to Win 3.1. That opinion is that we would all be better off if MS confined their effort to the OS only and procured bundled aps, even weak ones, from people that make their living off of a successful ap.

I always thought that MS redeemed themselves with WMC. It's was and still is a fine app that never disappointed when operated in Win 8.1 or previous.

jachin99

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#7

Post by jachin99 » Mon May 13, 2019 12:28 am

Another thing to try here. Delete the wmp database. You can do this by either excluding the current folders you have in your music library in the WMC library guide. OR better yet, find the database files and outright delete them. I can lookup the locations later but some googling will yield quicker results. Afterwards rest the PC and confirm the folders are still included that you need. Open wmp and let it completely finish Indexing the folders. Close wmp and open WMC the. Go to music and let WMC index all of your covers.

AZDoug

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#8

Post by AZDoug » Mon May 13, 2019 4:40 pm

Thanks for the suggestions above. I think I learned something in the last day or so. As before, my conclusions might later prove incorrect or only conditionally or partially true.
I didn't realize the connection between WMC and WMP. The libraries are identical; if you add or delete to one, the other reflects the change. It's like WMC is just a skin for WMP.

To reset the library data that WMP (and WMC) uses, delete the folder MEDIA PLAYER @ APPDATA\LOCAL\MICROSOFT. This removes all album data from both.

If you move an album out of a library defined folder, WMP retains the data, and will play the files at the new location w/o you telling where it moved to. If you later remove the branch that contained the moved file from WMP, all of the files in that branch will be removed except the ones you moved previously. They will remain visible and may be played in WMP. The files (at least the icons) will still show up in WMP also, and if they were problem albums, WMP will continue to crash, and the only way to stop it may be to delete the WMP library.

In order to get a handle on what causes WMP to crash, I moved only a few albums at a time into a previously defined library WMC library branch. OK albums may cause WMC to crash and then restart until it gets the data digested. A problem album will cause it to always crash in the ALBUM or GENRE view (genre of the problem album). I found that some album art was the cause of WMC crashes, and deleting the art was sufficient for the album to become an OK album. I also found one album that still caused crashes when the art was completely removed.

I also found that the edited track that caused it to be rejected from its original album, into a newly created album with the identical album name was caused by a tag omission that I didn't catch. It turns out that WMP/WMC use both the ALBUM NAME and ARTIST to define the album. If any track does not duplicate both, it shows up as a different album.

It's beginning to look like this whole WMP WMC thing is a pathetic mess without a simple solution, at least for my skill level and a library as large as mine.

I still use Media Monkey to manage the library data tags. There used to be an app in the MS Store for Media Monkey, but it was removed along the way. It's a pity because it was a very good alternative to WMP or WMC for music. The desktop version isn't so easy to use. Maybe I should take a second look at GROOVE. If it uses WMP, then it can be reset when things get clobbered. My previous experience was good until I ran into an album edit that caused a new album for one track. Maybe the WMP library is the basis for Groove also.

I will keep an open mind about WMC in the near term. Maybe someone will come up with a change that makes MUSIC more usable. In the near term, it looks like that without a lot of effort, WMC is only usable for a portion of my music library

jachin99

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#9

Post by jachin99 » Mon May 13, 2019 5:16 pm

Do you use Media Center Themer, Media Center Studio, or Modern Medui UI+? Do you have any addons installed on the machine? If you don't figure out how to fix your issue, look at JRiver Media Center as well. It has a lot of music management features, and handles large libraries really well.

AZDoug

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#10

Post by AZDoug » Mon May 13, 2019 5:39 pm

I don't use any add-ons. In fact I don't make a lot of use of music on this PC, but I would like to have it available. Thanks for the tip about JRiver MCS. I will take a look at it. I'm going to take a second look at GROOVE also. It seemed to work well with the whole library until I ran into an issue with an album that was edited. Maybe some of what I learned here will apply to taming Groove.

AZDoug

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#11

Post by AZDoug » Tue May 14, 2019 1:11 am

I took a look at JRiver Media Center as a substitute for WMC or other media players. It certainly offers capability that others don't provide. For my purposes though, it provides much more than I need. I would purchase it anyway if thee wasn't something else that met my needs at a lower cost. It turns out that, AFAIK, for my simple needs, WMC and GROOVE will do the job for Music, TV, DVDs and Video, especially considering that I'm comfortable with it's quirks and know how to reset things and keep it working OK. I do not intend to try to use WMC for audio; it is just too flakey and crash prone. For a small number files, or a library without incompatible things it's OK; I was always happy with it.

I took a second look at Groove, and found that it was no surprise that it uses WMP, just like WMC; both Groove and WMC appear to be front-ends for using WMP as the guts for music playing and library management. It can be reset as mentioned above by deleting the folder Media Player @ appdata\local\Microsoft. It has the same quirks as I found in media player, WMC and Groove. If a track in an album has a different artist than the rest of the tracks, then WMP will create another album with the same title to hold each track that has a different artist. Weird, but manageable once you are aware of it. Unless you edit tracks or move albums around, you would probably never run into it. A second bonus is that WMP and Groove do not have the sensitivity to album art, or whatever causes WMC to crash so easily. Another weirdness is the ability of WMP to adapt to albums that are moved to a different location. Knowing that and how to reset WMP makes it usable for me. It sounds like I am making a case for a program like JRiver MC, and maybe I am.

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