Winamp: Frequently Asked Questions



What are Winamp's minimum system requirements?
Please refer to: Winamp System Requirements

Are Windows 11, 10, 8 & 7 all supported?

Yes. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions

How do I open the Winamp Preferences?

Select the Preferences item within the Options menu or use the CTRL+P keyboard shortcut.

How do I upgrade from an old version to the latest? Do I need to uninstall first?

If upgrading from an old v2.x or v5.x version then you can just install the latest version straight on top. This way you will keep all your settings, database, playlists, etc. If upgrading from an old Winamp3 version, then you should either uninstall Winamp3 first or install the latest v5.x version in a new directory. We only recommend uninstalling an old v2.x or 5.x version first and doing a clean install of the latest version if you are experiencing major problems such as freeze-ups or crashes. Though note that many of these issues are invariably caused by old/incompatible 3rd-party plugins...


Can I translate Winamp for Windows into another language? How do I make a Language Pack?
Yes, you can. For information on how to make a Language Pack and submit it to, please visit the official Winamp Translations site.

Playback and File Types

How do I associate file types with Winamp?

For Windows 7: From the Options menu, select Preferences (or Ctrl+P using the keyboard). Select "File Types" under General Preferences. Select the desired file types you wish to associate with Winamp. Note that on Vista/Win7 you will need to either say "yes" to any UAC prompt or run Winamp in admin mode for the changes to take effect. For Windows 8 and newer, you will need to make your file associations via the Default Programs Control Panel instead.

Winamp keeps making itself the default player! How do I stop this from happening?

If you overlooked the Setup page during installation where it asks what file types to associate with Winamp and whether to maintain them, go to the above-mentioned Preferences page, deselect the relevant extensions and, if checkmarked, uncheck "Restore file associations on Winamp start".

Does Winamp support unicode filenames and tags?

Yes, it does. Unicode support was implemented between versions 5.2x and 5.3x. Always make sure you are using the very latest version. See this in-depth tutorial for further information.

Does Winamp support DRM-protected music and videos downloaded from iTMS?

No. There is no support for proprietary drm-protected M4P, M4B or M4V files. We do support playback of non-drm M4A, MP4, M4V & F4V formats.

Does Winamp 5 support QuickTime or Real Audio/Video?

No, Winamp currently does not natively support the playback of either of these proprietary formats. Though they can be played using external 3rd-party DirectShow splitters/decoders...

What MP3 Decoder and Encoder does Winamp 5 use? Are they both high quality?

Winamp uses a libmpg123-based MP3 Decoder for playback. The MP3 Encoder used for ripping and transcoding is based on LAME (current version 3.100.1).

How do I manually edit/update the album art images displayed in Winamp?

The easiest method is to manually place the album art image in the same folder as the music files.
Winamp supports the following filenames:

  • %AlbumTitle%.jpg (where %AlbumTitle% is the exact Album Title - see here for more info on how to replace illegal characters)
  • cover.jpg
  • front.jpg
  • folder.jpg

Other supported image types: .jpeg, .png, .gif, .bmp
You can also manually edit the album art for individual songs via the Artwork tab in "View File Info (Alt+3)".
Note that Winamp looks for embedded art first (ie. an image stored in the actual file tags).
So if it exists, you will need to remove the embedded art first before Winamp can use an external image file...

Winamp Add-ons

At its core Winamp is all about individuality and customization, that's why we offer add-ons to extend functionality beyond the original design. Thanks to the efforts of our loyal development community, Winamp offers over 6,000 add-ons including skins, plug-ins, visualizations & online services.



What are Skins?

Winamp supports interchangeable user interfaces called "skins". Most skins are created by users like you. Users may publish their skins on Check some out.

What is Skinning?

Skinning is the term we use to describe the act of creating a skin. You can learn to create skins using our online documentation located in the Winamp Wiki.

What's the difference between Modern and Classic Skins?

Winamp supports two skin standards, Modern and Classic. Modern skins are skins that adhere to the Winamp 3 skin model. Modern skins offer authors a tremendous amount of flexibility by allowing authors to change the player's shape, size, layout, and function. Classic skins are skins that adhere to the Winamp 2 style model. Classic skins are easier to create but do not allow the author to change the form or function of the player. Classic authors may only replace a standard set of images that alter the player's visual appearance.

Do Winamp 2 and 3 skins still work in Winamp 5?

Yes, Winamp 5 fully supports both Winamp 2 and 3 skins natively.

Does Winamp 5 still support color themes?

Yes, the Bento skin is bundled with ~20 color themes and the Winamp Modern skin is bundled with over 30 color themes. To access the Bento or Modern skin's color themes:

  • Bento skin: Select "Skin Settings" in the Info Pane menu; Modern skin: Expand the "Config" drawer
  • Bento skin: Click on "Color Themes"; Modern skin: Switch to the "Color Themes" tab
  • Select the desired color theme and press the "Switch" button, or simply double-click the theme to apply it.



What are Winamp plug-ins?

Plug-ins are software extensions made by software developers to enhance Winamp player functionality. Like skins, plug-ins are published on from our developers for general users to use and enjoy. Through the use of plug-ins, Winamp may be extended to support new audio or video formats, extend the capabilities of the Winamp Library, render new types of audio visualizations, etc. You may download plug-ins from by navigating to the "Plug-ins" tab or going to plug-ins.

Will my Winamp 2 plug-ins and Winamp3 components work in Winamp 5?

Winamp 5 currently only supports the Winamp 2 plug-ins.

Will Winamp 2 Language Packs or Winamp3 Locales work in Winamp 5?

No, unfortunately Winamp 5 requires the use of the latest Language Pack SDK to support internationalizing the player.

The Winamp Modern skin integrates the Visualizer and Video directly into the main window. Is there a way to separate them?

Yes, the Visualizer and Video window may be detached by pressing the "Detach Visualizer" or "Detach Video" buttons from within the "Video/Visualizer" drawer. To reattach the Visualizer or Video window, press the "Reattach Visualizer" or "Reattach Video" buttons located in the bottom right hand corner of the respective windows.

Note: You cannot detach any components or windows in the Bento skin, because Bento is a SingleUI skin (Single User Interface) and is designed to have all components integrated in one window.

How do I open the Media Library now? The lightning bolt doesn't work any more.

When using the Winamp Modern skin, press the ML (Media Library) button located to the right of the PL (Playlist Editor) button If you prefer using the Winamp Classic skin, to re-enable the Lightning Bolt shortcut, go to the "Media Library" view of the Winamp Preferences (CTRL+P) and check "Main Window lightning bolt opens Library instead of About Box".

Why do my Modern skins have jagged edges around the window border?

Winamp supports a feature called Desktop Alpha Blending which allows skin authors to create skins that have smooth window edges. This feature requires high-end video hardware to ensure that the player remains fast and responsive. This feature is disabled by default. You may enable this preference from the Winamp Preferences by checking the "Enable Desktop Alpha Blending (when requested by skin)" option located within "Alpha Blending" tab under the "Modern Skins" view.

Does Winamp support Surround Sound in 4.1 or 5.1 outputs?

5.1 Surround is supported through analog playback only. Currently DTS/AC3 Digital SPDIF out is only 2 channel (We're planning on supporting it in the future).

What about my precious B4S playlists?

B4S playlists are supported! Be sure to use version 5.3 or newer.

What happened to the Jump feature from Winamp 2?

Winamp 5 is proud to reintroduce the popular Jump (keyboard shortcut J) feature. ;)

I always put all my music and videos in the same place, is there any way to configure Winamp to periodically check for any new media and automatically add it into my Library?

Absolutely. Winamp supports a feature called "Watch Folders". Using this feature, you can specify folders you wish Winamp to scan for new media. To access this feature, open the Winamp Preferences (CTRL+P) and select the "Watch Folders" tab within the "Local Media" view under the "Media Library" section. You may configure Winamp to periodically rescan these folders and automatically add any new media found to your Media Library. By default, auto rescanning is disabled. You may initiate a rescan of your folders by selecting the "Rescan Watch Folders" item within in the "Library" button menu located on the bottom left hand corner of your Media Library.

Can I convert my music files from one format to another using Winamp 5?

Yes. Winamp 5 comes with a Transcoding Tool for converting between MP3, M4A/AAC, WMA (non-DRM), OGG, FLAC and WAV formats (MP3 Encoding is available in Winamp Pro only). To use the Transcoder, right click the file(s) in the Media Library or Playlist window and select “Send To > Format Converter”.

Can I manage my portable music devices & players with Winamp 5?

Yes. Winamp 5 seamlessly integrates support for iPod (Shuffle, Mini, Video, Nano (1-4G only, not 5th/6th gen) & Classic models, but currently NOT newer Touch, iPhone or iPad models); Creative Nomad/Zen/MuVo; PlaysForSure (P4S & MTP); Generic USB thumbdrives & players; Android smartphones/tablets (USB & Wi-Fi modes); and ActiveSync Device management. Note that Winamp does NOT support Zune or Windows Phone 8.


What are Visualizations?

Visualizers or Visualization Plugins are dynamic add-ons that produce images, colors, and textures that change based elements of the music being played. Winamp offers two primary visualization plugins (AVS & MilkDrop) allowing you to create different presets. If you’re feeling invincible, you can even attempt to create your own visualization plugin or you can say platform. There are many visualization plugins available which users have generated.

What is a Preset?

Presets are outputs of a visualization platform. You can customize the visualizers and get any effect you want.

How do I make a Visualization or Preset?

Please refer to this guide.


Other Issues

Experiencing a problem not covered by this FAQ?

A comprehensive list of other minor Common Issues can be found on the Winamp Forums. Please be sure to read the Forum FAQ before posting in the technical support areas of the forum.




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