Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file

Windows Media Player says it "encountered a problem while playing the file". This happens on every file I try, whether mp3, wav, wma. All the files are on the local hard drive.

This is a fairly new Win 8.1 64 bit install, with WMP version 12.0.9600.17031. I'm not sure when it last worked, but it was within the last week. Any thots?
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Did you install any third party codec packs post-install?
BlearyEyeAuthor Commented:
Update. I installed MusicBee just to try to get some player that worked. It also had a similar problem. The error message in this case was more specific and I found a suggestion to change the Player Sound Device from "Default Audio Device" to a specific one. It started working.

I did the same kind of thing for WMP and it also now works.

So my question now is, what's wrong with "Primary Sound Driver" (MusicBee) / "Default Audio Device" (WMP) and how do I fix it?
BlearyEyeAuthor Commented:
I installed dbPowerAmp and installed the WMA codec. Thinking that might be a cause, I unstalled the codec. No change.

In Control Panel -> Sound -> Playback, I saw that the default was somehow set to "USB audio". I set it to "Speakers" and now the default works for both WMP and MusicBee.

I have no idea how it got changed; I haven't used any USB audio devices since the Win 8.1 install.

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Sivaraj ELead – IT InfrastructuresCommented:
As you said that you don't know when it was worked last but within last two weeks, question to you, are you trying to play the same file now which was working earlier, if so then problem may both the end may at codec end or the media player, Can you try to fix it through Microsoft Fix It tool for media player,
Fix IT for Media PlayerTry this and let me know.
BlearyEyeAuthor Commented:
Actually, as i mentioned earlier, I seem to have resolved the problem by reassigning the default playback device. Good suggestion on the fix-it, tho. I hadn't tried that. Since i know what the problem is, I think I'll undo it and see if the fix-it actually works.
BlearyEyeAuthor Commented:
I gave it a try. Got the message "This troubleshooter does not apply to your system". So, since I resolved the problem on my own, I'll mark it as the correct answer.
BlearyEyeAuthor Commented:
I sorted the problem out on my own. The Fixit suggested didn't run on my system.
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Windows 8

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