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Winamp is back from the dead

Winamp 'about' tab screenshot
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One of the most popular MP3 players of all time is back! Though active development on Winamp ceased back in 2013, in 2018 word came through that development had restarted, and after a long period with little news, the Winamp 5.9 release candidate is now available for download (opens in new tab) (via Bleeping Computer (opens in new tab)).

Winamp 5.9 RC1 Build 9999 comes with a comprehensive changelog, beginning with porting to Visual Studio 2019, updated libraries, Windows 11 compatibility, codec updates and much more.

DJ Egg posted the following in the Winamp forum: ‘This is the culmination of 4 years' work since the 5.8 release. Two dev teams, and a pandemic-induced hiatus period in-between. To the end-user, it might not seem like there's a whole heap of changes, but the largest and hardest part was actually migrating the entire project from VS2008 to VS2019 and getting it all to build successfully. The groundwork has now been laid, and now we can concentrate more on features.’

Judging by that, It appears as though there is some work to be done. There are known issues, including problems with the Milkdrop visualization feature and older plugins. Some of these should be relatively simple fixes to older .dll files. Other bugs are sure to be revealed as users get to testing.

Winamp holds a place in many PC user’s hearts. Before the days of streaming services, the MP3 was king. It wasn’t too hard to rip CDs and encode them to MP3. One of the things I loved was its support for lossless codecs including APE and FLAC, which weren’t widely supported back in the 2000s. 

Winamp screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

Who can forget the infamous Napster and other similar pirating tools such as Kazaa, Limewire and eMule? It made acquiring (cough) MP3s ridiculously easy, and Winamp was arguably the best player out there.

I loved its simple interface, playlist management and particularly the visualizations. For so many years, I didn’t feel the need to upgrade my media player, though eventually VLC and Media Player Classic took over my PC, due to their superior video capabilities.

I for one am very happy to see that Winamp is back in active development. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to grab hold of this new version. I’m in the mood for some nostalgic llama ass whipping.

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Chris Szewczyk
Chris Szewczyk

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.