What is wmpnetwk.exe and Can I Kill It?

Students in virtually all of my classes ask about the wmpnetwk process. They see it running on client computers running Windows 7 and Windows XP, they see it on Windows Server… they see it everywhere! It usually isn’t taking up much memory or processor time, but they want to know what it is, how it got there, and whether they can stop it from running.

What is wmpnetwk.exe?

It is the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service. It runs in order to share music and video between Windows computers on your home or work network.

Why is wmpnetwk running?

At some point, someone fired up Windows Media Player on that computer and accepted the default settings. Those lovely defaults include enabling network media sharing, which requires… wait for it… the wmpnetwk process to be running. So it runs at startup.

Can I kill wmpnetwk?

Yes! Kill away! Use Task Manager as shown below, just right-click and choose End Process. Note that since it is running in the Network Service user context, you’ll need to click the Show processes from all users button first.
 


You’ll get a warning that you’re welcome to scoff at before you acknowledge it and the process ends. Know that you won’t be able to share media using Windows Media Player without it. But if you use any of the other trillion or so media sharing approaches, you’re fine.


Have fun and be well!

Mike Danseglio -CISSP / CEH
Interface Technical Training – Technical Director and Instructor

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