I liked the revamp of windows media player for Windows 7 and it generally remains a permanent fixture in my general use host OS instance. However for use in my DAW it was generally a lot more heavier then I'd like it to be. There's a definite significant noticeable boost in performance when removing it from the system as a windows component not to mention all the networking features that have been implemented to help make media sharing and streaming as easy as possible on a LAN which also adds to the overall bulk and load on the system when active. But if its something that you have to keep on your system for general local none LAN system use on a DAW you can boost the performance of it simply by closing all 20 or so of the network sharing ports that media player uses within the advance inbound /outbound firewall setting (except for the 3 or 4 that are directly used by media player for streaming media from the net).  Even if the components are "grey" which is supposed to differentiate them as apparently being inactive (as in not actually accessing any network connections) you will still notice a significant performance boost if you actually block them. Blocked means they have that blocked symbol over it. If you don't believe me try it.  

The only problem is that the significant bump in DAW performance with media players complete removal means that I lose the convenience of being able to quickly review/audition tracks simply by double clicking them whilst quickly scanning through my collection in explorer. If only there were a light weight alternative that didn't bog the registry down or have system slowing network access requirements.     

It's fo reals... (...no seriously it is...)

Well apparently there is and it goes by the name of foobar (or rather; not apparently but actually). I only briefly had chance to test it just before  being completely locked out of my newly re-installed and configured DAW setup due to some anomalous issues with the drive. From initial impression I was generally quite impressed. It's only around 6MB in size (when unpacked) and is extremely light. You can install it in a portable form where it doesn't touch your registry or system files in any way shape or form to run directly from a single folder and stores various setting to the same folder  (which was perfect for my overly paranoid suspicions about apps that install to the system and alter the registry and DLL files in general). The downside to this is that you can't make audio file associations to it meaning you won't be able to instantly launch tracks for review by double clicking, however you can drop tracks onto the app to listen to them.  There's also the option to install it in the more regular way too which will give you the option to associate audio file and quickly launch them with a double click post association. Did I mention it was extremely light and fast??! It doesn't even require any addition C++ or dot.net packs for it to function. It is essentially an extremely lightweight standalone media player for a range of audio file formats. It quite literally sips (or even seemingly ever so slightly fractionally sips??) clock cycles whilst barely even nudging the system load count up by one out of the 100 count, in fact it pretty much remained as if it wasn't actually installed at all when looking at the real time figures and line graph whilst it was running on my system. Even more impossible but true, the actual sound it was producing with its sound engine was excellent. What more can I say? You can get it here.