OverDrive Media Console Issues

May 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’ve been using the OverDrive Media Console without issues for years, and it just took me an hour to figure out why I couldn’t load WMA files with it on my new laptop.  There are pieces to the solution out there (80% coming from the brilliant mind of Jon Gallant), but it took me several tries with several sources to figure it out.  I thought I’d summarize here.

1. If you use Windows 8, there are two options: the old desktop version and a new version for Windows 8.  The Windows 8 version claims it won’t play WMA files.  As far as I know, this is true, so the trusty old version is preferable if you use this file type.  If you download both, like I did, you’ll have to fuss with making sure the Windows 8 version is not the default, or just uninstall it.

2. If you just downloaded the old desktop version, when you attempt to download an audio book from your library, you will see this error message, beginning “Unable to acquire a license to play the selected title”:


3. Click Tools > Windows Media Player Security Upgrade.  Surprise!  Another error message: “Your Windows Media Player requires a security upgrade to play protected content.”


4. Discover a grayed-out “Upgrade” button.

5. Learn the hard way that you can only use Internet Explorer to download the security upgrade.  This should resolve the grayed-out button issue so that you can actually click it.

6. A fresh level of Hell.  “Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file.”:


7. Discover that you don’t even have Windows Media Player loaded onto your laptop.

8. Install Windows Media Player and poke around in the Help files.  Discover nothing at all about media acquisition, which you have been researching for some time.

9. Discover this link:

http://blog.jongallant.com/2012/11/windows-media-player-overdrive-error.html#.UYli1rWG18F (I snagged all the screen shots from here, realizing after I had resolved the problem that I could not duplicate them on my own system).

10. Follow his steps 1, 2, and 3, failing to achieve the dialogue box in step 4. (Right-click the Internet Explorer icon and right-click again on the pop-up menu that appears.  Select “Run as Administrator.”  Choose the Security tab, second from the left, and uncheck the “Enable Protected Mode” checkbox at the bottom.  Click “Apply.”  Then click “OK” on the warning box that results).

11. Realize that you must start again at the beginning, following my steps 1-5. (Open the OverDrive Media Console. Click Tools and choose Windows Media Player Security Upgrade.  Press F1 and copy the URL into Internet Explorer.  Click the Upgrade button).  THIS time the following dialog box should appear:


12. Click “Upgrade” and watch as what should have been a 30-second fix magically works the way it was supposed to.

I find it disgraceful that this security upgrade issue has been resulting in complaints since 2009, and yet neither the OverDrive site nor any of the library sites includes comprehensive directions to resolve it.  Then again, I’ve used it on two desktops and my iPhone with no hassle, and it’s pretty ungrateful to complain about free software that enables me to download free library books.

Hopefully this post will help at least one other person.


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  1. One! Your post has helped at least one other person!

    I, too, found Jon Gallant’s info the most useful, but I couldn’t get past that ANNOYING, greyed-out upgrade button (even running IE as an administrator).

    Frustration built, but I would not be denied! Yet another search led me to http://overdriveblogs.com/library/2013/03/25/tech-tips-windows-8-and-overdrive-media-console/, where Justin Noszek’s article (is a blog entry even an article?) suggested also using COMPATIBILITY VIEW.

    Thanks again!

    • Awesome! My work here is done! 🙂

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