Stream NAS content with Windows Media Player

Recently I off loaded my media content to a Thecus NAS which I just put 4 new 2TB drives in.  A side effect of this the Windows Media Player that I use to serve DNLA content to my Playstation 3’s and Xbox can’t stream NAS connected mapped drives from it’s library.

This seems to be a standard with windows streaming server products and I have a feeling it’s because they want these mapped drives indexed.  Not to be deterred it was time to find a work around.

Enter stage right MKLINK, in the world of Unix we’d call this a symlink (Symbolic Link) and it’s a concept older then I am practically but very new to the world of Microsoft.  A symbolic link is simply a filesystem object such as a directory that points to another filesystem object as the target.  Prior versions of Windows could have junction points but these differed in that they could only deal with absolute paths on local drives.  What we can now do is create links to relative paths over networks.

But this in itself isn’t enough to fool Windows Media Player, as it still wants to see the path indexed so we’ll have to cheat a little to make it think it’s all cool.

  1. Firstly we need to create directory to house our target, ie.  g:\content.
  2. Then go into Windows Media Player and add this folder to your Library.  Once added it will be indexed.
  3. Now we need to close down Windows Media Player, you can also stop the service if you like to be sure.
  4. Go back and delete the directory you created in step 1, as we no longer need it.
  5. Open the command prompt with elevated rights.
  6. Using MLINK create our new symlink to replace the directory we deleted in step 4;
    mklink /d g:\content \\server\content

So now we have a non-indexed UNC path in our Windows Media Player Library.  Open up WMP and you will see your NAS content start to appear as if by magic as not WMP believes it to be a local drive and not on the network at all.

Happy streaming.




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