The most popular way to do this is to use Media Player Mini Mode, which adds a new toolbar to the taskbar. This provides some advantages over minimizing to the taskbar:
- The Media Player Toolbar is in a fixed location. You always know where it is if you ever need to pause or skip to the next track. If you have a lot of windows open you don't have to hunt for it.
- Every time a track changes a popup window displays the track info like Song Title, Album, and Artist.
- The player controls are always displayed, you don't have to switch to the application to control it.
- It takes up too much screen real estate. Under most people's Windows setup it takes up the same amount of space on the taskbar as traditional taskbar application. However I run my taskbar at 2U, which means that twice the real estate is used, as the media player toolbar is separated from the taskbar applications.
- I actually find the song information popup window annoying. Especially because it activates when your mouse wanders over any part of the toolbar. And the popup lingers for a full seven seconds, which seems like an eternity when you want to get to whatever is behind the window. What makes it worse is that it is located directly underneath where I have the Solution Explorer/Property Window Tab Group docked in Visual Studio. My mouse is always wandering that direction, and if I happen to wander a few pixels down too far I get this for seven seconds.
Not to say that the tray control doesn't have its share of flaws as well:
- It seems to have a hard time keeping track of the Media Player application, it's supposed to hide it but various things will cuase media player to come back which confuses the tray app.
- If Explorer crashes for any reason you can't get the tray icon back without first killing the mpxptray.exe process.
- Having the volume controls as menu items? Come on...
- Sometimes that Information Popup window is quite handy when you really want it With the tray control you have to right click the tray app, unhide the media player, find the app in the taskbar, then activate it.
I clicked the "Check for solutions online" button, but it was unable to find any solutions (big surprise).
However I was pretty confident that there was only one or two applications that were actually incompatible with Vista. Since I noticed that the executable I downloaded was a self extracting archive, I figured I'd poke around the files it extracted. It even gave me the path where it dumped everything.
Low and behold I found mpxptray.exe in the temp directory. I copied it to a new folder in the Program Files and ran it. Apparently it has no file dependencies because it ran just fine. Right click the tray control, open options, check "Run Tray Control at Startup" and your install is done.