MP3 Corruption Bug "Bytes" Users of Leaked Win7 Beta

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When Build 7000 of Windows 7 leaked onto the Internet recently, some bloggers speculated that Microsoft had deliberately leaked Build 7000. If that's the case, Redmond has some 'splainin' to do : numerous users have reported that Windows Media Player 12 (the media player included in Windows 7) corrupts some MP3 files .

According to posters at a Neowin.net forum , WMP 12 removes the first 2 to 3 seconds of MP3s that have large headers (over 16KB) when the "automatically fill in missing metadata using the online service" option is selected. This option is part of the Express setup defaults. According to ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 blog, the problem seems to be confined to variable bit-rate (VBR) MP3 files.

Microsoft is aware of the bug and is working on a patch, but if you've decided not to wait for an official Beta 1 of Windows 7, what should you do in the meantime to protect your MP3 collection?

  • Don't use the Express option to set up WMP 12
  • Make sure you disable the automatic metadata update option when you set up WMP 12 manually
  • Don't edit metadata in either WMP 12 or Windows Explorer
  • Use third-party players to play MP3 files instead of WMP 12
  • Don't use Build 7000 or earlier builds on a production machine; build yourself a "FrankenPC" for testing purposes
  • Don't use Build 7000's WMP 12 to access MP3s on a network share (network share files can also be corrupted); instead, copy files to a local folder

Remember, not only is Build 7000 a beta, but it's not even an official beta. Bugs happen, and you don't want them breaking your data.

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