Switch, Change or Set 64-Bit WMP11 in Vista x64 as Default

In Windows Vista x64, the 32-bit edition of Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11) is set as the default Windows Media Player. This is done to avoid and reduce any compatibility issues or problems that may arise with codecs or other DirectShow related plug-ins or add-ons that majority of them still built for 32-bit operating system. However, if you decide to use the 64-bit version of WMP11 with your 64bit version of Windows Vista, especially now that more and more codecs support 64-bit computing platform, and a x64 FFDShow codec which can decode virtually any audio or video media files has been released, you can use a few easy methods to launch 64 bit WMP11 or simply switch, change or swap the system default media player to x64 Windows Media Player, and revert back to x86 version when you need to.

By default, the 32-bit WMP 11 x86 is located at path of %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media Player, and 64-bit WMP11 x64 is located at folder of %ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player. So the first method to use 64-bit Windows Media Player is by launching WMP from its x64 location.

Press the Start button, type %Programfiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe and press Enter. Alternatively, you can create a shortcut with target and location set to the above, and place the shortcut on the Desktop or in Quick Launch for easy access.

Second method: You need to perform 2 steps each to swap to 64-bit version or to undo the change back to 32-bit version WMP. The unregmp2.exe command (first step) changes the operating system shortcuts to point to WMP 64bit, while the second registry step changes the file associations default program to WMP64-bit, which determines which program will be used when you double click on a media file.

Open an Elevated Command Prompt, type unregmp2 /SwapTo:64 and press Enter.
Then, open the Registry Editor (regedit), then navigate to the the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe. Set the registry subkey Path to be %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media Player, and the (Default) subkey to “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe” (include quotes).

To undo the x64 change, open an Elevated Command Prompt, type unregmp2 /SwapTo:32 and press Enter.
Then, open the Registry Editor, and reset the value for registry subkey of Path and (Default).

With either one of two methods, you will have complete full x64 Windows Media Player experience.