Internet Explorer 7 Overwriting Album Art with Black JPEGs?

There has been an interesting problem reported that strangely
relates to Internet
Explorer 7
, overwriting existing album art with pure black album art.  The issue has been seen at The
Green Button
(and AVS Forum)
and I have a repro on my system.

Only two albums out of my 350+ were affected, so I haven’t
looked into the issue deeply.  Those who
have had large amounts of their album art broken are reporting that reverting
back to Internet Explorer 6 fixes the issue which I find kind of interesting.  I didn’t look into how the uninstall process
goes for Internet Explorer 7, but I assume if the album art is reverting back
then System Restore must be being used in the uninstall process.

It’s an interesting bug, exactly how does the installation
of Internet Explorer 7 actually overwrite the album art itself?  I don’t know if it’s been reported, but does
this stop at album art?  Does anyone have
any JPEG’s on their machines that have been overwritten?

This is a pretty serious bug, it’s not often that a bug that
actually causes data loss makes it into a final build.

Anything from an Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, or
Media Center team would be greatly appreciated.

The screenshot below shows an album on my computer those
album art has somehow been overwritten with pure blackness.

var dc_UnitID = 14;
var dc_PublisherID = 11967;
var dc_AdLinkColor = ‘6699cc’;
var dc_adprod=’ADL’;

38 thoughts on “Internet Explorer 7 Overwriting Album Art with Black JPEGs?

  1. Are you sure it’s actually overwriting the images? It seems more likely to me, that wmp and explorer use IE to render jpegs. Have you tried opening the images in another photo viewer, or copying them to another machine w/ IE 6? Most likely there something funny in the jpg which causes IE7 to not like them.

  2. This has been happening in Media Center 2005 with me for quite a while, out of an 11gb colleection (128 Albums) around 10-15 albums are affected.

    lets hope we can get a fix, as in MCE05 is just doesnt look good

  3. There’s a separate issue wherein if you explicitly set the album art in a track via Advanced Tag Editor, as opposed to doing it with “Find Album Info” or pasting it in, it doesn’t show up in MCE.

  4. PJ: I’ve open the various JPEG’s in MS Paint, Photoshop, etc. All programs see them are pure black, so I assume it’s not just a thumbnail rendering problem.

  5. I’ve had this happene to me for ~50 albums – I thought it was something I’d done with an alabum art updater progream as it effected the albums in alpaabetical order.

    Too kne ages to get them fixed too.

  6. This is interesting and I am looking into it at MS.
    As a technical FYI (for those interested), Internet explorer only decodes the images, we dont change them in any way. We dont have encoding functionality built into IE. When a user changes or saves an image, we pass the encoding call off to Windows. Im contacting the approriate windows imaging people to look into this.

    Peter Gurevich,
    IE7 imaginag Program Manager

  7. I’ve seen this problem as well; any album I played while IE7 was installed has an all-black cover image now.

    Reverting to IE6 stopped new occurrences of the problem, but has not fixed the broken images. I’ve tried this with both WMP10 and WMP11, and as long as IE7 is installed, the images are ruined.

  8. Yep,

    Happened to all my cover art. It leaves the Folder.jpg behind intact though and any cover art embedded into MP3. But after IE7 (no previous betas installed and clean machine) I now get black cover art for any PLAYED songs in MCE (MP11 is fine).

    Media Player 11 has the bug where when you rescan your library or a new user does a fresh scan of a folder, or an xbox 360 does a scan, it overwrites ALL your folder.jpg’s with what IT thinks it should be !!!!

    Basically MP11 either takes a random piece of cover art embedded from one of the songs int he folder OR it will download from the internet! Only a NEW scan will overwrite existing cover art a RESCAN to update a library will leave intact BUT it will create a local cache using the algorithm mentioned. If you delete the local cache the original Folder.jpg’s will be used and all will be fine again until you rescan and the cache gets repopulated OR a new user logs on and the libary scan will then bulldoze over your data,

    Also a bug in MP11 with track numbering. If you blank a track number out, it insists on labelling it as Track 0 ! grrrrrr! Not in MP10 as a bug EXCEPT for WMA. Now its WMA and MP3 in MP11 !!!

    Shocking bugs and MS truly deserve a kick up the behind because various program managers even charlie owen from MCE team were told about these issues!!!!!!!!!

  9. I have had the same problums with albumart described avbove in both WMP (overwriting existing album art with newer, often incorrect and much smaller(!) versions) and MCE2005 (the black icons).

    If MS wants MCE to succeed it is exactly these kind of details that we should pay attention to. It is ridiculous that users have to restore painstakingly collected album art and that we have a nice MCE interface that does not show graphically what song/album is playing.

    If MS wants Apple to win the battle for the living room….this is the way to go….

  10. Yep,

    Just happened to me tonight to. 🙁 I have been using IE 7 for awhile though with no issues. I think the issue is I just updated to WMP11 tonight and then my Xbox 360 lost all my music in Extender Mode so I rescanned to add it all back and now what is weird is when I am just looking at the folders through Media Center the art shows, but once I start playing the file it shows the art as all black. If I just play it through WMP 11 the art is there. I mean this is totally weird. It is like it cannot render the art just when it is playing the file in Windows Media Center. Does anyone know if my art is gone now? I have 57 GBs of music luckily I backed it up. I hope Microsoft cmes up with a fix for this!!
    This is nuts!!


  11. Yes mate,

    If you had Folder.jpg’s and you did a NEW SCAN or scan from xbox 360, then they would have been overwritten by WMP11 formula which I described in a previous post.

    If its a RESCAN on existing user account, they should be there, but you will need to delete the Local Art Cache in your user profile to get MCE and WMP11 to read the actual Folder.jpg’s rather than its generated cache of c*ap. Look in you local settings\application data folder\Microsoft\Media Player\Art Cache!

  12. Hey thanks–but the only art cache that was in that folder was for my videos. The Thumbnails that WMP11 created for videos oh and also my pictures that it is reading. Not sure where the album art would be for media center cover art! I mean that folder just seems like it is for WMP11 not for media center and in media center is the only time I see this black cover art and only when the song is playing. If I am browsing by album the cover art is there. If I select the album again the cover art is there but once I actually hit play and the bigger cover art picture comes up then it goes black. This also happens when I delete an album and copy my backup copy of it over where I know it is fine–media center will still display the black art. Only re-riping the CD will actually bring it back as far as I can tell.

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks Again,


  13. One other thing I figured this out I think!! I found only two albums where the “folder.jpg” file did not get overwritten and sure enough those albums show the art when playing in Media Center 2005 fine. However I copied some “folder.jpgs” back to my main folders from the music backup I had on ones I knew were not working and when I would launch Media Player 11 or Media Center those “folder.jpgs” would disappear so somehow Media Center 2005 is looking for “folder.jpg” where as WMP11 does not use them and this is what is screwing it up. Even though I had my WMP11 setting set to not overwrite anything it still seems to make those “folder.jpgs” disappear and this is what needs to be fixed. I think it is just Windows Media Center 2005 and WMP11 are not quite compatible because MCE 2005 is looking for file that is different then what WMP11 is providing for it for the art display when playing. That is what needs to be fixed for sure.

    Hope someone at Microsoft reads this and listening here!!



  14. I have the same problem. Any embedded album art displays as a black box on the song. The album itself displays properly, but the song that is playing is black. I like IE7 but am considering removing it to properly display album art in MCE.

    I hope someone at Microsoft is working on a fix…

  15. There are THREE issues here:

    One ith IE7 and black cover art playing in MCE. The Album view in MCE looks correct bu when you play a song its black cover art. In WMP11 cover art of some description will show fine (read next two issues why it might not be the cover art u expect!!)

    One with WMP11 overwriting Folder.jpg when a new user scans a folder into library for creating of it and then it creates a local cache.

    Another with WMP11 using a local cache of what IT thinks is the album cover art for the ALBUMS view in MCE (they both use same cover art!) when doing a RESCAN of a folder to UPDATE a library. In this case deleting the local cache as described before cures it.

    It is easy to get confused between EMBEDDED cover art which WMP11 does NOT interfere with and generic art such as Folder.jpg which is used for Albums view in WMP11 and MCE 2005 and for cases when no cover art is embedded in a track’s file.

    Theres also a fourth issue not connected with the main topic here, but Media Player and MCE Vista (only) using “0” as track number if the track number has been blanked out INSTEAD of just not displaying a track number.

  16. Thanks UK user again but I deleted the local cache as you described and I still have “black” cover art when playing in MCE2005 only and plus the only art that was in that folder were Thumbnails of my Videos and Pictures no Album Art covers whatsoever. So album art must be kept in a different folder somewhere? Any ideas? Do I need to re-add the folder again? Plus I used another program (Nero) to show those hidden album art files and they show up fine they are not blacked out only they show up black again when playing in MCE2005. So it is not rendering the pictures even though they are there OK.

  17. There isnt a fix for black cover art.

    The issues are (state again)

    Black Cover Art in MCE
    Messed up Album views in MCE and WMP11 because of WMP11 overwriting your own cover art with ITS version.

    The obvious is the first one because its visible as black squares when playing a song in MCE but OK in WMP11. The second only obvious if you had your OWN folder.jpg’s (noticeable by visually different cover art after a libary scan in MCE)

    I cant make any clearer, there is an ALBUMS view in MCE and a SONG PLAYING view. There is also EMBEDDED cover art and songs without embedded use a jpg file in the folder.

    Truly disgraceful of Microsoft and I hope the teams concerned get a good kicking.

    A workaround is to create a READ ONLY share to your music folder and access the share in WMP11 (MCE WILL USE THAT TOO). Youll still have to delete the local cache (in user profile) and copy any FOLDER.JPG’s back from a backup if its overwritten it. Using the read only share means your own Folder.jpg’s wont get overwritten.

    As for black square when playing songs in MCE, well we will just have to wait until MS get their act together and sort this sorry mess out ! (no wonder people like iTunes !)

  18. In my case, where the only thing installed has been IE7 (read, no WMP 11 installed) it can be fixed.

    Open Windows Explorer uncheck hide protected protected files (Tools | Folder Options | View).

    Now navigate to the folder of the album with the black album art. Delete all the JPEG’s including AlbumArtSmall.jpg, AlbumArt_.jpg, and Folder.jpg. Also delete Thumbs.db if it exists.

    Now just readd the album art. I tried mine using Album Art Fixer and it worked correctly.

    Albums that where black now have perfect album art, both when browsing through the albums in Media Center and while playing them.

  19. This doesnt work for me as the cover art itself is not black just displays as black in MCE when song is selected for playing.

  20. Ok, just to put the theory about WMP11 messing up cover art (BUT NOT THE BLACK COVER ART ISSUE!) to the test for you all…..Works for WMP11 on XP or Vista but the locations specified here relate to XP Pro/MCE 2005.

    So try this:

    1. In a test folder, put subfolders containing songs for each artist eg Alanis Morisette, Alice Cooper etc etc etc.

    2 . Then drop YOUR own cover art into each folder – This may be just a 300×300 pixel generic picture of the artist with the artist name or if you sort by album names, an album cover. For purpose of this test, use a different album cover to the ACTUAL album name THIS IS IMPORTANT.

    3. Log on as a user that doesnt have a library database (or delete from your local profile in Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabasexxx.wmdb)

    4. Add the folder as a folder to monitor in WMP11 under options. Wait until scan of the folder is completed.

    5. Voila ! See your folder.jpg’s have been COMPLETELY overwritten and the file attribute changed to a hidden one.

    If you replace step 3 with a RESCAN for a user that had an exiting database, and you dont manually delete the DB as in step 3, you will notice that your Folder.jpg MIGHT still be in the folder, but it is displayed as something else in both WMP11 and MCE (Mce in Albums view). This is because WMP11 tried to be clever and take a random embedded cover art picture from one of your tracks for each folder scanned and copied it to the local cache. Each filename in the cache is a GUID number with the extension .JPG.

    The cache can be deleted and this will force WMP11 and MCE to use the folder.jpgs in the track folders.

    C: \Documents & Settings\userid\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Media Player\ArtCache\LocalMLS

    Personally, I don’t sort by Album names. I put all songs by one artist into one subfolder from my Music root folder.

    Im sick of WMP11 messing up my own Folder.jpg’s everytime I do a library scan.

    A bug NOT in previous versions of Media Player (the bug in MP10 before was only when u ripped extra tracks from a CD that had been ripped from before. In this scenario, it would then overwrite the custom Folder.jpg’s for the songs already ripped to disk)

  21. One thing I did was to uncheck the “Hide Protected Operating System Files” and I do see my album art files and guess what. None of them are black so I know they are there. They are just hidden and MCE2005 cannot pick them up because the “folder.jpegs” are all gone now! Thanks to the rescan.

  22. I too am experiencing the same issues after installing IE7. However I find that WMP11 has no impact. The Album art covers show well. In MCE 2005, I see all the album art in the collections list, however I get the black jpegs when albums are playing only. What I did was delete all album art with the exception of Album Art Small.jpg and Folder.jpg

  23. Hallo there,
    I have a similar problems (I think) with looking at viedos in the internet. I can watch Youtubes or also filmtrailers at with Quicktime or Realplayer!! When I want to start the same trailer with WMP10 or 11 I only see a black screen and the video isn´t started. This problem came up after installing IE7. I already deinstalled, reinstalled and reupdated IE7 and WMP but nothing solved the problem. Anybody a clue??

  24. I was having the same problem with black artwork when playing albums in MCE (as well as with Media Center on my XBox 360). I didn’t know if it was IE7 or WMP11 causing the problem, as I had installed both at the same time. I uninstalled IE7, and I no longer have the artwork problem.

  25. I too have this problem with album art and MCE after installing IE, although I have yet to experience the destruction of my folder.jpg files.

  26. This has been a problem for me long before IE7 came into the picture. About 20% of my album art is black. I followed some of the instructions posted above and got nowhere, but I figured out why I’m getting nowhere.

    Windows Media Player keeps replacing that stupid black artwork a few seconds after I delete it. It’s infuriating. Does anyone know why this is and how to make it stop trying to think for me???

  27. Home network with:
    1 PC with MCE and MP10
    1 PC with all my MP3 music files on it and MP10.
    All mp3’s have embedded cover art
    All mp3’s from the same album are in the same folder with a folder.jpg file

    The MCE PC scans the other PC for music files. This was working fine until I installed IE7 on both PC’s. As described above in MCE the album art was OK, but while playing a song the cover became black for about 50% of the songs. Then I deleted all music from MP10 on the MCE PC and rescanned them. Now all (100%) of the song art became black. The album art was still OK.

    I just uninstalled IE7 from the MCE PC (the other with the MP3’s on it still has IE7) and indeed suddenly all song art is OK!

    A realy weird bug. How can IE7 influence this in MCE?

  28. I brought the IE7 issue of blacking out album art during playback (not in the album view though) during the Microsoft MCE2005 Expert Chat today ( )

    They were unaware of the issue and referred me to the user community (MCE05 newsgroups and the greenbutton pages), which have this issue discussed multiple places. They must not read the chat groups… So it seems like they are burying their head in the sand on this one… I bet the MCE05 group is pointing at the IE7 group and vice versa…..

  29. What ‘WMP 11 User’ writes is correct, WMP 11 is messing up your own cover art (and I don’t think this has anything to do with IE7) and deleted my own for more than 300 albums (I’m furious… all my scan work for nothing !!!!).

    Is there any way I can stop WMP11 from doing this… unsettings the Add Media stuff doesn’t seem to work anymore like it did fine in WMP10 ????

  30. I have the same problem with some of the new albums I added to my library after IE7 and WMP11 were installed on my MCE2005ru2 machine. The thumbnail in MCE Album view and other small images were fine, but the larger View Cover image and the small image while the music was playing were both all black. Uninstalling IE7 fixed it for me. Not sure why. Don’t care, but I hope it is fixed at some point along with other odd album art behavior.

  31. Sad to hear that Microsoft are not taking this seriously (the amount of hours making cover art !) What is strange is that under Vista RC2 all cover art works without a problem and this is with IE7 and WMP11. Obviously they expect everyone to upgrade to Vista !

  32. I have been getting the same problem, album art looks fine in WMP11 but in MCE2005 albums show black when on now playing screen. But it seems to be only MP3’s with embeded images, as soon as I remove the embeded image the album art is displayed. Hope this helps.

  33. I have the same problem about folder.jpg, and I have Vista RC2 and wmp11. So these bugs it is NOT fixed.

    It just eat folder.jpg with somebody other and hidden that file (why can they doing without asking the user?). I may now rename all files to cover.jpg and use a another player.

  34. I have recieved support from the Microsoft tech supervisor and they are now aware that the problem is being caused by IE7 (because I went back to IE6 and that fixed the problem). I have Windows XP MCE2005 and WMP11.

    Hopefully there is a fix soon…

  35. I don’t run XP home , IE6 and WMP11
    No IE7 or MCE but:
    I still get the occasional blacked out album art.
    AlbumArtSmall.jpg goes to a 75×75 black square at 727 bytes.
    Folder.jpg goes to a 200×200 black square at 1.27KB.
    Go figure….

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