A Lean And Free Windows Music Player

If you're a PC user of a certain age you'll remember a music player called Winamp.  It was small, quick to load, and did pretty much you ever needed in just a handful of megabytes.  If you yearn for those days, rather than having to use the huge bloated media players of today, then take a look at a program called Foobar 2000.  
It's a lightweight media player for Windows that will handle all your audio files, and can play direct from CDs too.  It's a download of less than 4 MB and you'll find it at http://www.foobar2000.org/
The program was updated last week, and runs on Windows 7, 8 and 10.  The installer is malware-free, according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.
When you run the installer you can choose whether to install in portable mode.  If you do, no changes are made to the Windows registry so it's easy to delete the program by simply deleting its folder from your desktop.  This makes it really easy to try out the program to decide whether you like it.

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I've used Foobar2000 for years and it would take a major earthquake to get me to change. It does need some setting up and it's a bit quirky in the way it does it, but some spectacular results can be achieved. Once set up, it's definitely not high maintenance.
A few points that may be of interest:
1) As is the case with some other software packages, you may need to tell it where your copy of LAME is installed to play or rip mp3s. Ditto other codecs, such as FLAC.
2) It includes a very effective and fast ripper for any format whose codec you have installed.
3) It does play by directory, as well as by album/artist/genre/year, provided the necessary data is present in tags.
4) There is a huge range of plugins and extensions available from Hydrogenaudio. Some, like lyrics display are very simple to install and use; others are more esoteric.
5) There are a number of good android control apps available (notably FoobarCon). Once foobar is running you can control playlists etc. via your phone or tablet.
6) Windows only, sadly. I'd love a native Linux version.
7) Actively developed and supported - I think I first used it on XP and it's still going strong. Latest version 2 Nov 2015.

I've shifted to Light Alloy. It plays just about everything audio and video http://www.light-alloy.ru/ - portable 28MB or with installer 63MB. Irfan View, also free, plays many formats as well.

Uhh... guys... not for nothing, but:

For Windows and Android and maybe more.

VLC. Not bloated. Does all sorts of good stuff.

Why not just use VLC media player ?

Plays audio and video (and does many other things besides), well supported, compact, can do platlists, etc etc

Including "the ability to PLAY file DIRECTORIES"

1By1 forever - http://mpesch3.de1.cc/1by1.html
Portable, plugin support, playlists, radio, etc. But my favorite feature is the ability to PLAY file DIRECTORIES, no need for playlists.

+1 for 1by1

WinAMP is better by far. I am using an old version on Win 7 without any problem.

Thanks Rob.
You are right, I am missing Winamp!
No doubt, I am testing Foobar 2000 right now.


All of us old timers fondly remember Winamp. It was one of the first programs to offer an alternative to WMP and at one time held the same status as Audacity does today.

1) Thanks Rob for all of these tips about available, but little known, free programs.

2) If one checks around the web and talks to music hounds--as I have been doing for the past 12 months, foobar 2000 has a reputation for being very complicated to set up correctly and is rather high maintenance. Furthermore, many times it requires searching out and installing a special plugin in order for it to play a certain format. On the plus side it is often one of only two or three programs that can play (usually with a special plugin) certain more obscure formats such as DSD types.

Just a heads-up so others will know.