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Rescuing Music Files

Sunday, November 28, 2004; Page F06

I can't play any of the music files I've bought from Wal-Mart's site since I upgraded to Windows Media Player 10. Each time I try, I get the same message: "Secure storage protection error. Restore your licenses from a previous backup and try again." I do have my music files backed up on CD, but I don't know how to restore my licenses.

Having purchased music become un-purchased can't be any fun, but these songs can be rescued. David Caulton, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Media division, outlined the following fix in an e-mail:

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Fast Forward Archive

1. Go to the Start Menu, select Control Panel, then use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall Windows Media Player 10.

2. Open My Computer, go to the Tools menu and select Folder Options. Click the View tab. Check the boxes next to "show hidden files and folders" and "show protected system files." Uncheck "Hide file extensions for known file types."

3. In the same My Computer window, double-click on the C: drive icon, then, in succession, the following folders: Documents and Settings, All Users, and DRM. In that last folder, rename the file "drmstore.hds" to "drmstore.old"; after that, you can undo the View Options changes outlined in Step 2 if you want.

4. Download a fresh copy of Windows Media Player 10 and install it. Try to play one of your purchases, and follow any prompts to reauthorize their use (usually, you'll just need to retype your user name and password at whatever store you bought them from).

Caulton said that Microsoft is working to fix this one rare bug (I can't recall any other instances of it myself), and cautioned that people whose music purchases work fine should not be tinkering with this license file.

The reader, meanwhile, confirmed that this workaround restored his access to his music purchases. Question is, has it restored his trust in buying music online?

-- Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or rob@twp.com.

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