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A popular Windows music and video player. It has a wide variety of skins and has a great many plugins and audio codecs. Generally speaking, the best media player available for Windows. For a *NIX clone, see XMMS (version 1.x).

Note: Company Nullsoft has closed its doors although parent company AOL still releases security updates for the program. There is currently an effort by AOL to passively compete with iTunes by making the program interface with portable players but for the most part development on Winamp has stopped.


  • Simple, clean, fast, pretty.
  • Before iTunes, was (and in some ways still is) the standard by which other audio players were judged by.
  • Not as intrusive and annoying as Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. More drag-and-drop friendly than iTunes (where you must add to library first).
  • Wide variety of plugins. If it doesn't have a feature that another program has, you can probably download a plugin to do the same thing.
  • Very popular - one of your friends no doubt uses this program. UNIX-clones of an MP3 player invariably look like Winamp.
  • Winamp plays a wide variety of different audio codecs (not just MP3). It plays Ogg Vorbis files by default and was one of the first audio players to include this codec in their downloads. This shows a commitment to keeping up with audio trends and not simply playing proprietary formats such as AAC, MP3Pro, and others. Winamp 2 can optionally play Windows Media Audio WMA files in the "full" version of its install. "Lite," or smaller versions, are available.


Although there is an "official" version there is also an older Version 2.95 program available that uses less memory, smaller footprint, and starts up quicker. For older machines, this can be very important. It also carries a wealth of free plugins.

Negatively, Version 2.95 has a variety of security bugs. It is therefore important to scan MP3s with even basic or free anti-virus software before playing.

Version 5 has a number more options, plays far more types of video, and a beautiful user interface. Negatively, more of the plugins cost money to use and its advanced (CD ripping) features require money. (There is purportedly a plugin to port version 2 plugins.)

Installing both versions

Both programs will try to install themeslves to C:\Program Files\Winamp so be sure to rename one folder to either WinampOld or WinampNew (or any other unique folder name).

In 2.95, Enter "Options - Preferences - File Types" and disable "Register types on Winamp Start." You may also to de-select all associated extensions. Also, under the same window, select "Display" and change the Winamp taskbar icon as Winamp 5's icon can look very similar and cause confusion.


Winamp was originally authored by the famous Justin Frankel who also developed Gnutella, the post-Napster foundation in file sharing. Winamp's company Nullsoft was purchased some years ago by AOL, now AOL/TimeWarner.



Version 2.95 Plugins

Plugins: (this link may no longer work)

Some excellent plugins include:
Here's a way to stack DSP plugins.

Winamp official FAQ