How to sync a WMP playlist to a usb key

I have a bunch of MP3s at home that I have organized with Windows Media Player 11 on my desktop.

I want to put some of those playlists on a USB key, so my wife (who is not a computer wiz) can play songs to her students on her school computer during art classes. Note that she has to play the songs from the USB key, and can't import them to her computer's music library, because it gets wiped out every morning (it's a policy at her school to restore the computer to the same starting state every AM).

This looks like it should be easy to do, but I have been trying to do it for a month now, and I keep hitting some insurmountable snags.

First thing I tried to do is to Sync the playlist to the USB key as follows:
- Put the USB key in
- Open WMP
- Right click on the Playlist, then "Add to sync list"
- Go to the Sync window, and click Start Sync (which shows the drive letter of the USB key)

This effectively transfers all the MP3 of the Playlist to the USB key.

But it doesn't copy the actual .wpl file.

No problem... I just manually copy the .wpl file to the USB key.

The songs played fine from my home computer, but not at my wife's work computer. The reason is that pathes of the MP3 files in the .WPL file were absolute pathes that refer to the original pathe on the PC, not the pathes on the USB key.

So, I opened the .WPL file and substited all the pathes so that they were relative. For example, what used to be "C:\Users\Alain\Music\etc..." became "..\Music\etc..." (I had manually copied the .WPL file to the Music\Playlists path on the USB key).

This worked, sort of...

My wife was able to play the playlist on her computer at work, but if she made any change to the playlist (ex: delete a track she didn't like), then WMP would end up rewriting the pathes of the .MP3 files, so that they are absolute pathes to files in the music library on the C: drive. Needless to say that those pathes don't exist on my wife's C: drive. They only exist on the USB key.

This is obviously a bug in WMP.  In an attempt to get round that problem, I substituted the pathes in the playlists to absolute pathes that point to the USB key. In other words, "C:\User\alain\Music\etc" was susbtituted to "G:\Music\etc".

I didn't like this idea, because it will only work on computershere the USB key is labelled as G:, and even there, the letter that gets assigned to the USB key can depend on what other USB devices you connected to the computer and in what order. But I figured i had no choice, and in any case, my wife doesn't use too many USB devices at work, and she always listens to the music on the same computer. So in most cases, her USB key will have the G: letter.


The reason is that when WMP syncs MP3 files to the USB key, it actually changes the names of some directories and files. For example, WMP ended up removing the hyphen in the following path:

"Yann Tiersen\Tabarly - B.O.F De Yann Tiersen"

and replaced it with a space, so that on the USB key, it acctually appears as:

"Yann Tiersen\Tabarly   B.O.F De Yann Tiersen"

But in the .WPL file, the path has the hyphen in it, and as a result, even after doing the substitution "C:\user\alain\Music" to "G:\Music", the file cannot be found.

To fix this, I would have to manually try to play the hundreds of songs on the USB key, identify the ones that don't play, figure ou  what the new path is, change that in the .WPL file that's on the USB key.

I would have to do that EVERY TIME I sync a new version of the .WPL file to the USB key.

Now that's getting to be a bit too insane for me.

Am I the only one experiencing these kinds of problems? Has someone been able to find an easy way to sync playlists to a USB key so they can be played from any PC without having to import the songs to the Library?



Question Info

Last updated September 13, 2018 Views 19,113 Applies to:

I use Microsoft Sync in my Ford Explorer and Sync supports playlists.

Here's what I do:

1) Have WMP sync everything to the USB drive. The .wpl files are not copied to the USB.

2) Manually copy all .wpl files for WMP to the root of the USB drive

3) Manually edit all those USB .wpl files and a) put in correct paths for the USB, b) make any pre-defined entity changes. Note an apostrophe in the WMP .wpl file needs to be an &apos in the Sync .wpl


To get a correct path, search for the .mp3 file name on the USB and then select "open file location". Now you have the path to the file. Maybe "E:\Music\SomeAlbum\01 - A Song.mp3". Next change that path to "Music\SomeAlbum\01 - A Song.mp3".

You have to do this for every .mp3 in every .wpl on the USB.


Now everything works in the car using Sync. I select Playlists in the car and get a list of .wpl fie names on the USB. I select one of those and off I go.

Lastly, I keep a copy of the USB .wpl files on my computer in VisualSourceSafe in case of accidents.

I have been doing this for abut 3 years and have about 30 playlists with thousands of .mp3 files on the USB drive. If I am careful, everything works great.

Just be sure WMP never opens your USB .wpl because it will change all your paths back to the ones on your computer. You are now hosed and have to change all those paths again (this is where my backup copy of the USB .wpl is a real lifesaver).

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This is, for all intents and purposes, not a supported configuration.  You need to copy the files to a local drive.

If you wish to continue using the technology in this manner, you can use the find and replace feature within wordpad to edit file.

Another option that you could possibly use is to create environment variables for your script:

Refer: Windows PowerShell Tip of the Week


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