1Windows Media Center eHome LogoSpeeding up WMP12 & 7MC media library database

One of the prob­lems with my HTPC that I have only just star­ted look­ing at is how to use it to play and man­age my large col­lec­tion of audio CD’s which I have painstak­ingly ripped to FLAC’s. The Xiph codecs (see pre­vi­ous art­icles here and here) make it pos­sible to play FLACs in 64bit media cen­ter, but the media lib­rary was incred­ibly slow.

Dig­ging around I dis­covered that the data­base is stored in C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player and in Win­dows 7 is now called CurrentDatabase_372.wmdb

User “RM” has pos­ted a very help­ful guide on the Green­But­ton for­ums about how to move an equi­val­ent data­base on pre­vi­ous ver­sions of win­dows but it took me a while to get this work­ing. My prob­lem turned out to be the RAM-Disk I had chosen to use.

I even­tu­ally switched to the free ver­sion of DataR­am Ram­Disk which works well on Win­dows 7 x64 and sup­ports drives up to 4Gig. My thanks to user Open­Book on [H]ardForum for the recommendation.

Hav­ing set up a RAM­disk suc­cess­fully I was able to move the lib­rary by simply using a registry tweak recom­men­ded by user surge, again on the Green­But­ton For­ums.

So, the pro­ced­ure I used is as follows…

  1. Close any run­ning instances of Media Cen­ter and Media Player
  2. Down­load, install and set up DataR­am Ram­Disk. Make sure it is set to save on shut­down and reload on startup.
  3. Right click on ‘com­puter’ and select manage.
  4. Expand ser­vices and applic­a­tions, then services.
  5. Scroll down to “Win­dows Media Play­er Net­work Shar­ing Ser­vice”, right click, and stop it.
  6. Fire up reged­it and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences.
  7. Cre­ate a new String (REG_SZ) called LibraryDatabasePath.
  8. Set the value of the new String to the path to your RAM­drive (in my case N:).
  9. Close reged­it.
  10. If you already have a lib­rary and don’t wish to rebuild then copy the con­tents of C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player to your RAMdrive.
  11. Restart the “Win­dows Media Play­er Net­work Shar­ing Ser­vice” and close the com­puter man­age­ment window.
  12. Restart Media Play­er or Media Center.
  13. Voila!

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Thank you for this post. Mov­ing the WMP12 DB to a RAM­disk def­in­itely helps WMP12 per­form­ance with UPnP devices both at home on the WLAN, or on the road on the Vz 4G-LTE mobile net­work. I have a large lib­rary (570GB on 3Gb SATA), but the DB is still around 300 MB, which eas­ily fits on the RAM­disk. Now the first UPnP read oper­a­tion is down to a reli­able 40 seconds, with sub­sequent search quer­ies return­ing full res­ults in under 7 seconds.

I’m using BubbleUPnP as controller/renderer on Moto Droid RAZR. As a bench­mark, I can stream video reli­ably for files with data rate up to 2500kbps, with clear tower sig­nal, over the 4G-LTE network.