Clear Playlists and Library in Windows Media Player

Do you have a bunch of items in your Windows Media Player playlist that are no longer there? I got a question from my lovely ex-girlfriend Carrie, asking me how to clear out all of the Playlists so that she could start from scratch.

We first tried the PowerToy for Windows Media Player for Windows XP and that didn’t work. From the looks of it, I think that was meant for a version of Media Player prior to version 10. We were using Version 11.

We then discovered that if we closed out of Windows Media Player and deleted all of the files at the following location:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player

Once we relaunched Media Player, we found that it cleared everything out of the Playlists and the Library. It did start searching for media on the PC automatically, and the Library list started rebuilding, but that was fine with her, since the goal was to just get rid of stuff that wasn’t there anyway.

Please be aware, clearing files out of the Media Player folder might wipe out some other personal settings. If you need the settings back though, you can simply restore them from the Recycle Bin.


  1. panshine says

    In answer to Guyzwitgunz: To stop WMP rebuilding the library after deleting library items as per huyt34, go to Advanced Options under Add To Library and tell it to skip files smaller than 9999 KB (lets most mp3 files off the hook), otherwise move music files to a folder not named My Music (and don’t tell WMP about this folder!)

  2. webscour says

    Retorical question but why does the monitor folders function in WMP NOT do this. Yet another fundimental ommission from MS.

  3. Alex says

    Ok, I know this is a few months later, but you just saved my computer.

    See, I hate media player, but I have to use it to sync with my xbox. Now, for some reason I noticed my media player wasn’t updateing, and it frustrated the hell out of me because my tastes change a lot. So in a fit of frustration, I deleted everything in my library in the hopes that it would go “Oh hey I am empty” and update. INSTEAD it kept telling me to add folders to its list despite the fact they were all there. I didn’t know what to do, and it drove me crazy.

    As SOON as I did as you instructed (I am on windows 7 with Mediaplayer 12, the folder is still C:\Users\-username-\AppData\Local\Microsoft like freshandclean said.), I opened my media player and BOOM, its filling with my new songs. Thank you so much!

  4. huyt34 says

    Selecting and deleting is the safest, some users reported having issues. The problem with deleting config files is you are assuming they’re rebuilt by default or they might have other settings. Simply select the first file, scroll to the last item, Shift select the last item, this will select everything, and select ‘delete from library only’ this is the quickest and most intuitive. Once the library is clear it will give you an option to build the library again, simply remove the folders you dont want it to search.

  5. Rob says

    Thanks so much for this useful tip… it’s going to help me clear up a bit of a library mess resulting from a corrupted external HDD.

  6. FreshandClean says

    Vista users use this:

    I would suggest renaming (instead of deleting) the “Media Player” folder, that way you have a backup copy of whatever else might be in there.

  7. Harlequin says

    Problem with deleting through Media Player is if you have a large library. I have 80,000+ songs and deleting my library that way at home took 10+ hours. Easier to just wipe out some files and open with a fresh interface.

  8. Brian says

    Oh, lord. Everybody knows a million different clicks and keystrokes to delete files, but what actually matters is that deleting those files works with no adverse effects. Besides, unless you are absolutely sure that you have it set NOT to delete the media at the source when you remove it from the library, the method mentioned in the article is the easiest and safest way.

  9. protip says

    protip!!: you can delete all the files by pressing ctrl+a to select all the songss in your media library, and then pressing Delete. If you have a million files loaded to WMP it might take a while, but hey.

  10. admin says

    Yeah, but who wants to go into every single section and delete everything when you can just go into that folder and delete those files if you want to start fresh?

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