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Recommended free software? Players, music libraries?

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Hi all,


After some time I find myself revisiting audio and music slightly, not been visiting the forums for some years, not had much time for audio these days.


I am wondering if there are any recommended free media players these days, last two I played with were Media Monkey which I was not fond of, and the trial of J-River before it went on sale.


Is there any sort of Media Player only OS install, or do we still have to run windows/Linux/OSX these days?


Now I would like a media player that is simpler with regard to the music data and library, IE a folder labeled as Mixed - Various artists would remain as an album named such, with the album art I pasted, and not split into umpteen unknown album/artist/genres when the system threw a hissy fit due to me opening a home group and sharing the music drive/folder.


A recent play with a couple of PC's had me set up home group on two Windows 7 PC's. I used to do this years ago with absolutely no issues for music and media streaming via three PC/HTPC's, but this time something went wrong, my music library lost a lot of info and metadata for some reason, much of it had previously been put in manually due to the variable sources of my music over the years.


I also ended up with duplicate libraries and albums with the same location drive, and lost the ability to add photo's etc to that drive.


MyMovies could not access my film library.


I gave up on it, deleted the home group, and now I am tidying up the mess. Thing is, a central library that can only be edited from the PC's admin account is still what I will require if I want my music and movies throughout the house for the family. But I yet again find myself peeved at Windows Media Player and it's inability to NOT change my files.

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