How to switch audio tracks in Windows Media Player

Every now and then you come across a video that has multiple audio tracks… much like a DVD.  Sometimes you may have a video file that has both a 5.1 and stereo soundtrack, or director’s commentary.  In my case, I came across a video that had normal movie audio and Rifftrax.com commentary.  If you were ever a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) then you owe it to yourself to visit their site.

In many DVD and Bluray software players, you can easily access bar menu or a context menu that allows you to switch the default audio track, but this is not present by default in Windows Media Player 11.  The ability to switch between tracks is there, but not accessible by default.

Unfortunately switching audio tracks is one of those features buried in the new interface.  You have to bring up the “classic” menu like so:

  1. Press Ctrl + M to view the “default menu” (you can also right-click to the right or left of the audio controls, but “show menu bar” does not show in Now Playing mode.)
  2. Click on “Play“, then “Audio and language tracks
  3. Select the audio track you would like to play
  4. Press Ctrl + M to remove the menu
  5. If you can’t see your movie, then press Ctrl + 3 (same as clicking “View” and “Now Playing”).

Enjoy your different audio tracks!

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8 Comments

  1. ben says:

    Did not work. My file has multiple audio tracks, which VLC can access, but WMP only recognizes one.

  2. WIZz says:

    I don't think the author actually tested this or he would have discovered that this does not work, at least before he told everyone how to do something that WMP has never been able to do, the fake option is there but never once with the hundreds of dual/multiple audio video files i have tested has it ever shown more than the first audio track, the second is and has never been available in WMP, Microsoft is just too lazy to support it!

    Media player Classic on the other hand supports it properly giving the option to switch between tracks on every multiple audio track video file I have tested!

    • ocmodshop says:

      I did test this, and it totally works on every one of the Rifftrax MP4, MKV and AVI files I have. I’m using WMP 12.0.7601, but it has worked on previous versions, too. Perhaps you need to install the K-Lite codec pack, which allows playing MKV files in WMP… which is one of the first things I do after a new install.

      Sorry it doesn’t work for you… what file format are you using, and did you author it yourself? If so, what program did you use?

  3. Guest says:

    Works fine

  4. dankodigo says:

    You have to download Haali Media Splitter from here http://www.videohelp.com/tools/Haali-Media-Splitt
    then you will be able to change the audio track in the system tray with a simple right click in the icon program :)

  5. DefJam Classics Fan says:

    I have this same problem, I may have a workaround for you …

    * Try playing the file using DivX Player. You may have to muck around with some of the settings, I don't know which (can't remember). Any time I have a video file that has a different language overlay – I play it using DivX player.
    * It is also interesting to note – when I play the same file on my TV using WD Live, the English track plays properly.

    I hope this helps.

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