Musical Colors is a collection of visualizations designed for Windows Media Player. The visualizations first appeared in Windows Media Player 7 and then later disappeared starting with the release of Windows Media Player 9. Over time, people enjoyed the Musical Colors theme and upon buying a new computer, discovered that it wasn’t there anymore. The following explains some tips and info about the Musical Colors visualizations as well as instructions for installment on computers that don’t contain the Musical Colors visualizations.
Musical Colors works on Windows Media Player version 7 and above including version 11. Musical Colors also works with Windows Vista and Windows 7. The only issue is that full screen viewing on a wide-screen monitor will cause the visualizations to be shifted to the left of the screen with a thick black bar to the right. This is because Musical Colors is not wide-screen capable.
Musical Colors Versions
There are two different versions of the Musical Colors visualizations. They are:
- Version 184.108.40.2060 (Windows Media 7 / Windows Me)
- Version 220.127.116.1177 (Windows Media 8 / Windows XP)
The main difference between the two versions is that 18.104.22.1680 contains a visualization called “WinMe 3D”, since that version was bundled with Windows Me. 22.214.171.12477 was bundled with Windows XP. The WinMe 3D visualization was replaced with a similar visual named “Ice Crystals”. WinMe 3D displays colors of blue, light blue, green, yellow, and orange. Ice Crystals display shades of light blue.
Another difference between the two versions is when you pause Windows Media Player, version 126.96.36.1990 of Musical Colors continues to display the visualizations with constant movement. Version 188.8.131.5277 of Musical Colors will cut to black when paused, hiding the visualizations.
Locating The Musical Colors File
First you have to decide which version of Musical Colors you want. (See “Musical Colors Versions” above). Musical Colors are located inside a file called wmpvis.dll. The best way to locate the file is to copy it off of a computer that already has it installed or off of a Windows installation CD.
For Musical Colors version 184.108.40.2060
Use a computer running Windows Me with Windows Media Player 7 installed. The wmpvis.dll file can be found under the C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player directory. You can also retrieve the file off of the Windows Me installation CD by going to the cabinet file <CD drive>\win9x\WIN_16.CAB and extracting the wmpvis.dll file.
For Musical Colors version 220.127.116.1177
Use a computer that was originally installed with Windows Media Player 8 and with Windows XP service pack 1 or earlier. Locate the wmpvis.dll file under the C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player directory. You can also retrieve the file off of a Windows XP installation CD containing service pack 1 or earlier by going to <CD drive>\I386 and locating WMPVIS.DL_. Copy the file to your desktop. Open your Command Prompt and type: “cd desktop” without the quotes and press enter. Then type: “expand wmpvis.dl_ wmpvis.dll” without the quotes and press enter. This will expand and decompress the file to make it usable.
For both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, copy wmpvis.dll to the C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player folder.
Note: If you copy/paste the command lines below, you will have to retype the quotes so they are ‘straight’. Smart quotes causes the command to fail. I keep putting straight quotes in, but WordPress reverts them back to smart quotes at some point!
For Windows XP 32-Bit
Open the Start Menu and click Run. In the command line, type or copy/paste the following line including the quotes.
Regsvr32 “C:\Program files\Windows Media Player\wmpvis.dll”
For Windows Vista/7 32-Bit
Open the Start Menu and type or copy/paste the following line including the quotes in the search box.
Regsvr32 “C:\Program files\Windows Media Player\wmpvis.dll”
For Windows Vista/7 64-Bit
- Open the Start Menu and type cmd (Command Prompt) in the search box.
- In the search results, right-click on cmd and select Run as Administrator.
- In the Command Prompt, type cd \windows\syswow64 and hit enter.
- Then type Regsvr32 “C:\Program files\Windows Media Player\wmpvis.dll”
Click OK or press enter, A dialog box appears with the following text; “DllRegisterServer in C:\Program files\Windows Media Player\wmpvis.dll succeeded.” Click OK. Open Windows Media Player and check your visualizations. Musical Colors should now be listed.
If you are using 32-bit Windows Vista or Windows 7 and you encounter an error message after clicking OK in the Run dialog box, try using the Command Prompt, making sure it’s being run with administrator privileges.
Names of the Visualizations
In the Musical Colors menu, you will see the following names. Click on a name to see a picture of the visualization.
- Night Lights
- Colors in Motion
- Rhythmic Colors
- Star Power
- Electric Green
- Soft Fire
- Silky Wave
- Rolling Fire
- Water Spray
- Acid Rock
- Hard Rock
- Hot Spray
- Yellow Swirl
- Blue Flame
- Critter Rock
- Electric Rainbow
- Neon Highway
- WinMe 3D (version 18.104.22.1680 only)
- Ice Crystals (version 22.214.171.12477 only)
Lost Musical Colors Visualizations
You may have heard about a theme for Windows XP named “Royale Noir” that was cancelled or removed during development, then was leaked to the public and became popular. One day I opened the wmpvis.dll inside Notepad just to look around. After scrolling though garbled unreadable information, I found the names of each visualization near the bottom of the file. What I then found were several names that didn’t appear on the Musical Colors menu inside Windows Media Player.
- Rolling Colors
- Wild Rock
- Red Rock
- Color Cave
- Untitled – (Labeled as “Work in Progress”)
- Colors in Motion in Progress – (Early version of “Colors in Motion”?)
These missing visualizations are listed in both versions of Musical Colors. These visualizations were probably intended to be included with the rest of the Musical Colors visualizations, but were probably removed because they were not finished, incomplete, or had issues. I am not sure if these visualizations themselves exist in he wmpvis.dll file. What’s interesting is that in version 126.96.36.1990, “Ice Crystals” appears inside the wmpvis.dll file but is not listed in Windows Media Player. “WinMe 3D” is also appears in version 188.8.131.5277 and is not listed in Windows Media Player. This makes me think that the missing visualizations are possibly included in the wmpvis.dll file, but are turned off or ignored so that Windows Media Player does not list them. After various searches on the Internet, I did not find anything about these missing visuals.