Unless you have some super-fancy configuration set up, odds are good that you--like most--default to Windows Media Player as your multimedia software of choice for playing just about anything that comes across your system. There's no shame in that. While a number of freeware tools support more codecs and/or file formats, and come bundled with other fun features and extensive customizations, it's alright to admit that you use Windows' built-in tool for the job.
In fact, you might very well have found yourself quite fond of your operating system's default media player. That's alright too. I'm not about to show or suggest third-party tools that might add confusion to your routine. Instead, you might want to check out a little chunk of software called Windows Media Player Plus! This app--really, a series of plugins--isn't a replacement for Windows Media Player. It simply builds free enhancements into Windows Media Player to give you even more options to tinker with and features to enjoy.
So what comes in the package? First off, you get an advanced tag editor that lets you organize your files for easier access (especially if your library is huge). A new "find as you type" search feature replaces WMP's default "search now" field. You can restore what you were previously rocking out to when relaunching the app, and you can even automatically send this information to Windows Live Messenger to tell all your friends about your ongoing jam session.
Simple. Easy. Powerful. There's no reason why you should ditch Windows Media Player if you're happy with what it offers. As well, there's no reason you should use Windows Media Player without some of the helpful--and free--tweaks offered by Windows Media Player Plus!
Each week, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of... the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.