Clearing the Windows Media Player transcoded files cache

Running out of hard disk space? Found a folder stuffed full of large-ish files (maybe using that excellent utility TreeSize from Jam Software)?

If you have ever used Windows Media Player (WMP) with a smartphone or portable media player you will probably have found that it very usefully identifies the device capabilities and if necessary transcodes the media files to the appropriate size for the device. The feature is particularly handy if you are using Windows Media Center to record TV programmes. It means phones that can play video, for example, are provided with lower-resolution files of modest size that are appropriate to the phone hardware.

The downside of the transcoding feature is that WMP keeps copies of the transcoded files whether they are wanted or not. This can make a big difference if your hard disk is nearly full. Fortunately it is easy to delete some or all of the files, although there are quite a few clicks to get to the right place:

Open Windows Media Player
Click on Tools
Click on Options
Click on Devices
At the bottom of the tab click on the button marked ‘Advanced’
Finally, the ‘File Conversion Options’ window will open

At this point there are two options:

  1. Simply click on the ‘Delete files’ button, which will delete all the transcoded files or
  2. Reduce the amount of space reserved for the files by typing a smaller number in the ‘Amount of disk space to use’ box.

If you are reducing the size, don’t make it too small or you could make it too small for the transcode feature to work. A good guide to a suitable minimum size is to have a look in the folder first and make the new size a minimum of twice whatever the size of largest file is.