Windows 7 - "Find Album Info" will destroy your library...DON'T USE IT!

Asked By UncleRic on 26-Jul-07 12:18 PM
I'm using WMP 11 with Vista.

I thought I would try out the "Find Album Info" feature on an album I had
with one song. I had all the information I cared about, but I was interested
to see if "Find Album Info" would fill in the other details (like release

After telling WMP which artist to use and then selecting the correct album
from the list, I pressed "Finish".

The song I cared about was updated correctly...BUT...

WMP trashed several music files that had NOTHING to do with that album!

Specifically, WMP....

Overwrote the correct MP3 tags with invalid data
Changed the "artist-song name" file name to match the invalid data
Moved the song from the correct "artist/album" folder to the "artist/album"
folder for the invalid data.

It did this to about 6 songs.


I know that updating the album info is not an exact science, so there are
bound to be problems. But if there is ANY chance that WMP is going to destroy
valid data, shouldn't it ask first?

I consider this a no-ship bug. In the very least, this feature should be
removed rather that let it mutilate peoples music collections. I am seriously
considering dumping WMP for this reason. If I can't trust it with my music
collection, then I can't use it.

AND...just to make things more frustrating....

I had a backup of my music collection, so I restored the files to their
original state....but WMP invalidated those files too! No dialog telling me
what it was about to just did it!

I want to report this as a MAJOR bug, but I don't know how to report a bug,
so I figured I write it here.

I detailed my troubles here and I found a way to keep WMP from changing my
music information...

zachd [MSFT] replied on 16-Aug-07 05:49 AM
Oh, are you David?

Did you rip these tracks from the same physical CD?  They're actually
associated with each other when you do that.  This isn't magic.  Don't use
Find **Album** Info if you don't want the ripped tracks from that specific
*Album* (as ripped) associated with each other.

Speaking for myself only.
See for some helpful WMP info.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
UncleRic replied on 16-Aug-07 09:23 PM
I used "Find Album Info" from a track I bought from Rhapsody and burned to a

I have *no* problem if this only works for the actual album.

My problem is this...why does it trash my tracks in my library, without
giving me an option to approve the changes (ie. I'm going to rename "Amy
Winehouse" to ".38 Special", is this OK?)

Everybody I've talked to has run into this problem (Find Album Info"
trashing their tags/filenames) I know I'm not the only one.

Nowhere did I find any documentation that says "Find Album Info" is only for
tracks from the original album.

Telling somebody "Don't use 'Find Album Info' if the track didn't come from
the original CD" is not a good answer. That is like telling kids to leave the
loaded gun alone while you are are just asking for trouble.

If the WMP can't tell the difference between a track from an original CD and
otherwise, then the feature should not be used, or in the very least it
should ask permission before it makes its changes to your library.

zachd [MSFT] replied on 17-Aug-07 01:38 PM
There's a unique ID associated with any given ripped physical CD.  Do not
use Find Album Info if you want Find Track Info...

Well, you know that your "trash" is somebody else's feature.  That's a
matter of perspective.  As regards some magic checkbox: no idea - I didn't
do the UI / design there.  One of the problems with WMP for the amateur is
overwhelmed by eleventy thousand widgets and checkboxes.  That might have
come into play, might not have.   I have no involvement with that area, and
so any comments on it are just my perspective.

Are they doing the same thing you're doing?  That would be the most logical

Is there some place a discussion of Find Album Info is available online that
could use this reference?  I don't get terribly excited about Find Album
Info (I rip my CDs with full/correct metadata), so don't know what
references you'd be referring to/want updated.

No.  This is a matter of design perspective.  You're doing the sub-1% case
of trying to reassociate a custom CD's tracks to an album, and now realize
that the player is covering the 99.9% case whereby any given track that is
identified as coming from Album X probably shares commonality with all
tracks ripped from Ripped CD Y and thus they should be updated as Album X
tracks too.

Potatoe, potahto.  You evidently work in the industry - you probably should
be able to understand that you have to make design decisions at some points,
probably understand you're the extreme minority case statistically (not that
that's an unimportant segment, by any means), etc etc etc.

So everything further probably comes to be a design request/suggestion for a

Programmatically, can you tell the difference?  I don't think so, if I
recall correctly.  So stepping beyond that, it sounds like you don't want to
use Find Album Info and you now understand that Find Album Info is ... Find
*Album* Info.

So I think you understand why this happened now.  I don't think there's much
more to go on about.

Speaking for myself only.
See for some helpful WMP info.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
UncleRic replied on 18-Aug-07 01:48 PM
I think this issue is bigger than you realize and impacts almost *everybody*.

You claim that "Find Album Info" is meant only for filling in information
for music ripped from an original music CD.

If you use this feature in this way, you are still going to have the problem
I'm talking about.

Why? Because WMP searches your entire library for files to update, not just
the album. If you claim that music ripped directly from the CD is safe, that
means any music you have in your music library not directly from the original
CD (i.e. from iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Urge, your own compilation CD's,
etc.) is a candidate for media information trashing by WMP.

As a test, I'd like to hear your results of doing "Find Album Info" on
several (20+) original albums, preferably not ripped by WMP so they don't
already have all the media information. Do this on *your* music library
(preferably > 2GB of music from a variety of sources, all in MP3 format, and
already tagged). Then do a "diff" on your music library before and after and
report what has changed.

You claim your music library will only gain information that it was missing.

I claim you will have music files that were previously tagged correctly that
now have the wrong information.

In a related do you report a bug about WMP to Microsoft? I wanted
to be proactive and send this in, but I could not find a place to do it other
than detail my issue in this forum.

zachd [MSFT] replied on 18-Aug-07 06:15 PM
It's a scenario issue, sure.  Your blog entry is really vague, but you now
have enough data to isolate out the repro steps necessary to cause this
issue.  Note that I had to guess at what you were doing.

No.  Let's clarify again: Find Album Info is meant to identify a given
ALBUM.  If your disc isn't that exact specified album, for Pete's sake,
don't say it is from that exact specified album.  Go try this when you're
ripping the CD and see what happens.  It's the same technology there, you're
just hoping it operates differently now.  =)

I think I've already pointed that the album ID is a property field in the
track, which would associate with other tracks from the ripped album.  You
don't like that.  It's helpful in most or every other case.

No.  I've got more things to do than you'd want to know about (sorry, family
health issues).  It's your claim/idea.  I'm pretty sure you're wrong.  Are

Hell no.  You use Find Album Info, that's a manual operation saying "I want
this new data to overwrite existing data".  That's not "only gain
information that it was missing".  That would be stupid because it would
never be able to overwrite your "Alvin and the Chipmunks - Dancin' Song"
tagged file with the correct Metallica tags it needs.  Sorry, it has to
overwrite or the feature is stupidly useless.

.... as identified by your request.  If you don't want the track set
identified as Album X, don't say it's Album X.  Click "Search", click "Not
Found", click "My MegaParty Album", then fill in the data.

We're clearly circling here.  You've raised some questions to yourself that
you should be able to answer fairly effective yourself.

I don't track it that closely.
and all of that covers what I know.

Speaking for myself only.
See for some helpful WMP info.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
UncleRic replied on 20-Aug-07 12:20 AM
So in summary...

1. If you right-click on a song in your library and use "Find Album Info,"
it may trash the tag information of other unrelated songs (I can reproduce
2. "Find Album Info" appears to work correctly if the song was ripped from
an original CD (not a custom compilation CD)
3. There is no way to know by looking at a song if it was ripped from an
original CD

If a song was not ripped from an original CD, then you risk trashing your
music library if you use "Find Album Info."

So the rule of thumb is...
Only use "Find Album Info" if you are absolutely positive the song was
ripped from the original CD.

Since my mp3 collection dates back to 1997, it is a bit tough to know which
files came from where....I will *never* run "Find Album Info" again...I've
learned my lesson!

papajone replied on 27-Oct-07 04:38 PM
Ive read about a 'find info for this track' feature, and im pretty sure Ive
seen it occasionally, however, I have run into the same problem, and wish ot
seperate these tracks in my system. Is it possible that 'find info for this
track' could be always an option, not just 'find infor for album'?