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Installing and Upgrading

How do I make foobar2000 my default player?

You can associate foobar2000 with different file types at 'Preferences → File types' (Windows XP only) or access relevant control panel from 'Preferences → Shell Integration'.

How will upgrading affect my settings?

Upgrading from any 0.9.x or 1.x version to the latest version will leave your settings intact, provided you install the new version on top of the old one.

I have updated from a very old foobar2000 version to the latest and now I am experiencing major problems...

Many old third party components no longer cooperate with newer foobar2000 versions. If you have any third party components installed, you should update them to their latest versions, or remove them one by one until you find the problematic component.

How do I install additional components?

To install components from the foobar2000 installer that you did not choose to install during the initial installation, just rerun the installer and select them; your settings will be kept intact. Please read on to learn about installing other components.

Note that this content applies to foobar2000 versions 1.1 and newer. If you're using an older version, please upgrade now to utilize the new interface.

  • Step 1: Open the foobar2000 preferences dialog.
  • Step 2: Go to the Components page.
  • Step 3: Click the “Install…” button and select the component archive, or simply drag it to the list.
  • Step 4: Press “OK”, you will be prompted to restart foobar2000 in order to load the newly installed component.

I've downloaded foobar2000 from another site and I'm experiencing problems...

You should always download foobar2000 from its home page ( and not from other sites. If you're experiencing suspicious activities after installing, we strongly recommend that you uninstall it immediately and scan your computer for viruses/malware.

There have been many reported cases of modified foobar2000 setups with pre-configured visuals and additional plugins included, which is - for good reasons - against the foobar2000 license. We have no control over such installers and can't provide much help regarding problems that you run into when using them. Many of them include outdated foobar2000 versions with known security vulnerabilities. People creating such installers are often only harming the community by scaring new users away with “pretty” user interfaces that are hard to use and ridden with bugs.

Please note that people affiliated with foobar2000 development never post announcements or files to other forums, software download or file sharing sites. As a result, we have no control over foobar2000 files that get posted to popular software download sites, and we have no intention of wasting our resources on verifying each case. If you've been led to believe that foobar2000 files on some site have been posted by the author himself, you're being lied to and this site should not be trusted.


What should I do before reporting a problem?

Most technical problems can be solved by removing any third-party components and resetting the configuration (or doing a fresh reinstall). It is recommended that you backup your foobar2000 directory before doing that, so you can try to restore your old settings/components later, or help us with identifying the exact source of the problem.

I am experiencing high system resource usage (memory or CPU) while playing.

Please disable any unneeded DSPs (such as resampler). Some of them require a lot of resources to operate.

Some DSPs such as crossfader or gap remover need extra memory buffers to operate; you can reduce the memory usage by changing their settings. Also, certain output modes (Kernel Streaming) have been reported to use excessive amounts of CPU time on certain systems.

Finally, some third-party components are known to use high amounts of CPU time.

I have a problem with one of the third-party components...

Please post your question on the third-party component forum. As we don't take responsibility for components other people make, this FAQ can't help you any further.

Why is seeking so slow while playing MP3 files?

The MP3 format doesn't natively support sample-accurate seeking, and sample accurate seeking is absolutely required by some features of foobar2000 (such as .CUE playback). MP3 seeking can't be optimized neither for CBR files (frame sizes aren't really constant because of padding used), nor for VBR files (both Xing and VBRI headers in those files contain only approximated info and are useless for sample-exact seeking). Therefore MP3 seeking works by bruteforce-walking the MPEG stream chain and is appropriately slow (this gets faster when you pass through the same point of file for the second time because seektables have been built in the RAM).

What should I do if foobar2000 refuses to load a component DLL?

There are multiple reasons why this could happen. If there is no error message, the component has been banned - most likely for violating the foobar2000 SDK license. Otherwise please see the following list of error messages and the possible solutions for each.

  • “Multiple instances of DLL with the same file name found.”
    This is probably the result of a manual component installation gone wrong. foobar2000 has found multiple component DLLs with the same file name (in different subfolders of its application folder), but only one has been loaded. You should remove the redundant copy.
  • “This component is missing a required dependency, or was made for a different version of foobar2000.”
    This component DLL requires one or more other DLL files that can not be found on your system. This error may also occur as a result of trying to load components made for a different major version of foobar2000, such as 0.8.x components under 0.9.x / 1.x.
  • “Wrong version number; this component appears to have been built with a newer version of the foobar2000 SDK. Please download the latest version of foobar2000 in order to use it.”
    The error message already says what you should do.
  • “Wrong version number; this component appears to have been build with an outdated version of the foobar2000 SDK. It needs to be updated to a newer SDK version in order to load. Please contact the author of the component to obtain an updated version.”
    The error message already says what you should do.
  • “This application has failed to start because the application configuration is incorrect. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.”
    This error message is not related to the component's configuration data that is stored in the foobar2000 configuration file. Rather, the error message is returned by Windows when foobar2000 tries to load a component DLL and Windows cannot find a DLL that the component requires. Often this is a particular version of the Visual C++ runtime that is not installed on your computer. Please check the component's documentation – especially the installation instructions – for information about any required DLLs.

Some of my files are not seen by the Media Library...

  • Make sure that neither the folders containing the files nor the files themselves have hidden attribute set.
  • If those files are not in one of formats natively supported by foobar2000, such as Monkey's Audio, you need to download and install relevant decoder component in order to be able to see and play them. If you've already installed it, you may need to remove affected folders from Media Library configuration and add them back for those files to become visible.

Where's the File Types page in Preferences? I can't find it...

You have installed foobar2000 in portable mode. The portable mode does not support Windows shell integration. You need to reinstall in standard mode in order to access relevant functionality.

I am using ASIO/WASAPI/etc output and I am experiencing issues...

Do not use alternate output modes unless you must. There is NO benefit in terms of audio quality to using these, as far as music playback is concerned ( read more on the subject ).

Additionally, on most systems, WASAPI (if available) is known to be more stable than ASIO.

I have an Asus Xonar card and I'm experiencing problems...

Asus Xonar cards are infamous for their buggy drivers. We recommend getting a soundcard from another manufacturer instead.

If you're running foobar2000 older than 1.1.10, please update - version 1.1.10 introduces workarounds for certain known Xonar bugs.

Tagging Files

How do I edit tags of my files ?

Right-click one or more tracks, choose 'Properties' from the context menu. Various additional functionality can be accessed by selecting one or more fields in the Properties dialog and right-clicking them.

Note that you can mass-edit tags of a group of track by opening the Properties dialog on multiple items.

Can I have 'Previous' / 'Next' buttons in the Properties dialog, to go to properties of previous / next track in my playlist?

No. If you want to edit tags of multiple tracks, you can do it more efficiently by just selecting them all and opening the Properties dialog for them.

What tag types does foobar2000 write to my MP3 files?

foobar2000 maintains the existing tags present in the file when it is possible to fit the information being written within these.

If the file does not already have tags that can hold the information being written, foobar2000 will add the ID3 tags necessary to store it.

How can I add ID3v1, ID3v2, or APEv2 tags to my MP3 files, or how can I remove them?

Just use the 'Tagging → MP3 tag types' feature from the context menu. The dialog appearing is not an option dialog. The changes you are doing there are applied to the selected files only.

Why is 'Tagging -> MP3 tag types' missing from the context menu?

You have probably selected one or more non-MP3 files. The feature is only available for MP3 files.

Why does foobar2000 write question marks to my ID3v1 tags?

Only ASCII characters are allowed in ID3v1. Any other characters are replaced by question marks on rewrites.

Renaming Files

How can I rename files based on information from the tags?

You can find this feature at 'File operations' from the context menu (you need to enable the 'Optional features → Tools → File operations' during installation).

Why can't I use $replace() to create custom substitution schemes for characters that can't be used in file names?

Invalid file name characters - such as slashes or backslashes - are replaced before metadata originating from the file is processed by title formatting functions. This is necessary to allow slash or backslash characters placed by you in your file name formatting pattern to be interpreted as path delimiters without the side effect of each slash contained in metadata fields included in your file name formatting pattern being interpreted as a path delimiter as well.

Converting Audio Files to Different File Formats

How do I convert my audio files to another format?

Load tracks you want to convert into a playlist, right click, choose 'Convert' from the context menu, click one of sub-options. Converting functionality requires the Converter component to be installed ('Optional Features → Tools → Converter' during installation).

Note that converting to most supported formats requires external command-line encoders. Encoders for various popular formats can be easily installed with the foobar2000 free encoder pack. For the remaining formats, we recommend obtaining encoders from RareWares.

Random / Shuffle Playback Order

What's the difference between Shuffle and Random playback order modes?

  • Random mode picks tracks randomly, without special measures to prevent track repetitions other than a simple check to prevent the same track from playing twice in a row.
  • Shuffle modes keep an internal randomized list of tracks in your playlist and play tracks according to their order in that list, so you don't get repetitions until all tracks in your playlist have been played. Shuffle's randomized track lists for each playlist are re-created on foobar2000 restart or when starting/advancing playback with another shuffle mode. Note that manually selecting a track to play in your playlist will result in shuffle playback continuing from that track's location on the randomized list, which is often perceived as repetitions: each time you manually choose a track to play (by doubleclicking it in playlist, etc.), shuffle plays the same tracks after that track; use 'Play → Random' menu command or the 'Random' button when you want to continue playback from a random track instead.

Random mode: Why do I hear the same track more than once a day in a very long playlist?

See Birthday paradox. Random mode doesn't prevent track repetitions other than the same track played twice in a row. You probably want to use 'Shuffle (tracks)' mode instead.

Shuffle mode: Why do I hear the same tracks regularly, played in the same order?

Shuffle modes keep an internal reordered list of tracks in your playlist. If you manually start playback from some track that you've already played, you'll get the same tracks played after it as last time. Use the 'Playback → Random' menu command to pick a random track in your playlist to resume from.

What's the purpose of Shuffle (albums) and Shuffle (directories) modes?

These modes can be used to reorder your playlist on album basis rather than track basis and play tracks in each album in sequential order. Shuffle (albums) is usable when your files are tagged properly (”%album artist% | %date% | %album%” evaluates to unique value for each of your album and doesn't vary between tracks in one album); Shuffle (directories) is meant as a fallback when your tagging scheme renders Shuffle (albums) useless but you keep each album in a separate folder. Note that the album identification pattern can be customized in 'Preferences → Advanced → Playback → Shuffle → Album grouping pattern'.

foobar2000 on the Web

What is the official foobar2000 web site?

The only official web site is at; the official forum is at - a part of Hydrogenaudio Forums.

There are certain other sites claiming to be “official” foobar2000 sites in languages other than English. These sites are in no way affiliated with us. As we have no power over content of those sites, you should avoid using them as they may contain other misinformation or even malware.

Other Questions

How do I use title formatting strings?

Please choose 'Titleformatting Help' from foobar2000's 'Help' menu.

How do I enable volume display or playlist selection total time display in my status bar?

Right-click the status bar, toggle relevant option.

How do I make the currently playing track to be selected (highlighted) and stay always in view?

Enable “Cursor Follows Playback” under main window's “Playback” menu.

What is ReplayGain?

Please see the Replaygain page on the Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase.

I can't find some command in my playlist context (right-click) menu. What do I do?

Go to 'Preferences → Display → Context Menu', right-click a group you want to add an entry to, select 'Insert item → Command…', choose the command you're looking for from the list. If the command you need can't be found, you're missing a component that provides it.

If the command you're looking for is already in the context menu structure tree under Context Menu Preferences yet you can't see it in your context menus, it might be context-sensitive and available only for specific tracks; for an example, MP3-specific utility commands are available only when all selected tracks are MP3 files.

Why do some menu commands not work when bound to global keyboard shortcuts?

Context menu commands require a list of tracks on which to operate. If you execute them from the context menu or using a normal (non-global) keyboard shortcut, this list is provided by part of the program where you used the context menu or the keyboard shortcut (the context). For global keyboard shortcuts there is no way to chose a list of tracks automatically when they are used, so you have to chose a context when you bind the command. To do so, select a command from the [context / now playing] or [context / playlist] branch to make the command use the playing track or the selected items on the active playlist when you press the global keyboard shortcut.

Are specifications of the FPL playlist format available? Why doesn't foobar2000 use some user-editable XML-based playlist file format instead?

The FPL format is not meant to be interchangeable with other software or editable by users. Its primary design goals are carrying all necessary track information (metadata, last seen modification time, etc.) between foobar2000 sessions while remaining as fast to read and write as possible, since reading/writing FPL files bottlenecks app startup and shutdown with large Media Library or playlists. Making the FPL format user-editable would introduce massive startup/shutdown delays for certain users.

Additionally, the format is strictly tied to foobar2000 track information caching architecture; potential design changes in that area in future foobar2000 versions will inevitably require a new non-backwards-compatible revision of the FPL format.

Are specifications of foobar2000's configuration file format (.cfg) available? Why doesn't foobar2000 use some user-editable XML-based configuration file format instead?

The configuration file format is not meant to be interchangeable with other software or editable by users. Making it user-editable would result in third party component developers using it as an excuse not to provide proper user interface to change their components' settings, just like many components use title formatting as an excuse not to provide a more accessible way to customize them. Additionally, keeping the entire configuration file structure human-readable would result in slower startup/shutdown and code bloat as well as break compatibility with existing configuration files (or require even more bloat to import old settings).

Does foobar2000 sound better than other players?

No. Most of “sound quality differences” people “hear” are placebo effect (at least with real music), as actual differences in produced sound data are below their noise floor (1 or 2 last bits in 16bit samples). foobar2000 has sound processing features such as software resampling or 24bit output on new high-end soundcards, but most of the other mainstream players are capable of doing the same by now.

Is foobar2000 available in languages other than English? Can I contribute a translation?

foobar2000 does not support any kind of translations. If you want a lightweight player with full multilanguage support, we recommend Boom.