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Windows Media Player and Other Libraries

I have been greatly enjoying Windows 7 recently. Microsoft has done a lot right with it. I enjoyed it so much that I actually migrated my primary workhorse from OpenSUSE to Windows 7. Being able to pin programs to the taskbar as well as programs like remote desktop having quick access to recently used links through the start menu are nice little touches. One of the great things about 7 though is Homegroups. They’re a much needed breath of fresh air for your average workgroup. I can see this benefiting small businesses a lot as you get some immediate access to easy file AND printer sharing. The printer sharing part was what I liked best. Just add yourself to the homegroup and ta da it is there. But what I am going to touch on today is something that gave me some grief for a few hours last night and this morning.

I decided to give this streaming media thing a go. The music I was wishing to listen to, which by the way is the fantastic Piano Concert #2 by Sergei Rachmaninov, was on another system. So I thought that this would be a great time to test out the streaming capabilities. I quickly switched it on in the homegroup for that system and started up Windows Media Player on my desktop to give it a go. Sorry! Access denied. WMP was complaining that it cannot access the file. This would happen for everything in the music library on that system. Interestingly enough though, was that videos and pictures would work just fine. I found it odd to be a permissions issue since that was working, and also if I browsed through via Explorer I could play the same music files with whatever media player I chose, including WMP. It didn’t quite seem like a permissions issue, especially since WMP’s error message was so generic that it could be anything, but I wasn’t quite ready to discount it yet. So I gave it a good night’s sleep and returned to the problem in the morning.

After a cup of mocha things became a little bit clearer. I decided to test playing music on the problem system from my desktop, thereby reversing the stream. This worked just dandy. So I gave the music folders a permissions inspection and found the problem. On the system that could stream music from the library there was an extra user with permissions, namely the WMPNetworkSvc who had Read permissions on the folder. The problem system did not have this permission. Unfortunately it wasn’t so simple a fix as just adding the user as the system would report that the user did not exist. Inspecting other folders such as the pictures and video folders did report the proper permissions. Thusly I fixed things with a bit of Powershell magic, and if you use this don’t forget to substitute your account name for MyAccount:

Get-Acl C:\Users\MyAccount\Videos | Set-Acl  C:\Users\MyAccount\Music

This turned a trick! I could stream music to my heart’s desire. Now as for speculation as to why this particular permission is missing, the only guess I have is due to this system being a system that was upgraded from XP, to Vista, to Windows 7. I could quite easily see something getting fouled up along the way, especially since this is over a number of years. It is a good test system though. The other system I have has gone from Vista to 7 and it did not exhibit the same issue.

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