In Windows 8, is there a way to have all the controls automatically hide when I’m watching a video? I like to keep the window small, but really don’t want the play, back, forward and other buttons displayed!
Sounds like you’re running the stock Windows Media Player (aka WMP) on your Windows 8 system and it definitely has the ability for you to auto-hide the controls, along with a lot more you can tweak.
Before we go further, however, you are aware that there are a lot of other media players available for your system too, right, including one I’m a particular fan of because of the incredible range of video files it can play: VLC. From AVI to MKV, MP4 to .MOV, if you can get it onto your Win8 system, odds are very good it can play it for you.
Windows Media Player itself has a lot of capabilities, and, heck, you can always grab iTunes for Windows too if you’d like to give that a whirl.
In Windows Media Player, watching a movie produces a raft of different controls and info displays all over the Window:
You can see how far into the movie you are, both visually (the blue bar long the bottom) and in terms of time (we’re 13:28 into the great Lee Marvin film Point Blank), it shows you the name of the movie file (top left) and, of course, the main controls are brightly shown at the bottom of the window too.
To get rid of the display, you need to right-click somewhere in the playback window to get the contextual menu to appear:
If you’re guessing that “More options…” is what you need to choose, you’re right. Do so.
And now we’re back to, what, an original Windows 95 system configuration window? In any case:
I’ve highlighted the option you want to check: Allow autohide of playback controls.
Choose that, click “Apply” and after a few seconds the controls will all vanish from the window and you’ll see just the movie itself displayed:
Really, way nicer. Now about my peach colored windows theme…
While we’re here, it’s worth having a quick peek at some of the other menu options available off that main WMP context menu too, starting with “Video”:
I particularly like the 50% and 100% playback options as they display the movie with the least scaling. Shortcuts, as you can see, are Alt+1 and Alt+2.
Also check out “Enhancements”:
Here the most useful option is to see that you can change the playback speed. Not so good for a cinematic movie, but those boring training videos? Yeah, a 20% increase in speed means you get through ‘em just that much faster.
Hope that’s helpful. Me? I’m going back to Point Blank to enjoy some gritty 60’s action cinema…