Windows Media Player cannot change album art [FIX IT LIKE A PRO]

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from Windows to iOS and streaming services... Read more
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Windows Media Player cannot open audio and video files
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Windows Media Player allows you to add album art to your favorite tracks with a simple drag and drop function. Sometime, this function may not work properly and you may start wondering why? Users have reported that when they try to change the album art, they get Album art can’t be changed when a song from the album is in use, even if the song isn’t actually in use.

Why Windows Media Player won’t let me change or add album art? Start the troubleshooting by changing the File Permissions for the affected albums. You need administrative permissions in order to make changes. Alternatively, use Tag Editor to change or add album arts or clear the Windows Media Player database.

Read the detailed instructions for each solution below.

Album art can’t be changed when a song from the album is in use

  1. Change File Permissions
  2. Use the Tag Editor
  3. Clear Windows Media Player Database

1. Change File Permissions

The error seems to occur due to a file permission issue with the folder where the album tracks are stored. Users have reported that changing the file permission has resolved the error. Here is how to do it:

  1. Close the Windows Media Player if it is open.
  2. Open “File Explorer” and navigate to the location where the album folder is stored.
  3. Select all the files in the album and right-click on the tracks.
  4. Select Properties from the option.
    Album art - Read only attribute
  5. The Attribute must be set to Read-only. Uncheck the “Read-only” box and click Apply and OK to save the changes.
  6. Launch Windows Media Player and check if you are able to add album art without the error.

2. Use the Tag Editor

The error can also occur if your album or the track has existing album art. Windows Media Player is not configured to handle this situation hence throws the error. You can fix the issue by removing the album art for the problematic track using a third-party tool like Tag Editor. Here is how to do it:

  1. Download MP3TAG and install it on your computer.
  2. Launch MP3Tag, click on File and select “Add Directory“.
    MP3Tag File Add directory
  3. Navigate to the directory where your album folder is stored. Select the folder and click on “Select Folder”.
  4.  Now right-click on all the track that is affected by the said error and select “Remove Tag”.
    MP3Tag Remove Tag
  5. Click Yes when asked to confirm the removal of the tags.

Once the tags have been removed, open the track again in the Windows Media Player. Try to add the album art and check for any improvements.

3. Clear Windows Media Player Database

Sometimes, the old cached data may create an issue with the functioning of the software. You can try to clear the Windows Media Player database and check if that resolves the error.

  1. Quit Windows Media Player if running.
  2. Press Windows Key  + R.
  3. Type %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Media Player and hit enter.
  4. Select all the files in the Media Player folder and delete them.
    Windows Media Folder
  5. Relaunch Windows Media Player and check if you are able to add the album art without any error.
  6. If that does not work, navigate to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft and delete the Media Player folder.


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