If I can add my 20 milli-quatloos, there is way of telling WMP not to touch the Internet, and it’s buried down in the bits of the Microsoft Management Console. I’m running WinXP Pro SP2. XP Home may be different, as it really isn’t supposed to be in a corporate setting.
To get to the right place to flip the bits:
Start → Run, enter “mmc”. That’ll open the management console with basically no functionality present.
From the top line, select File, and select “Add/Remove Snap-In”.
That’ll give you pretty much another blank selection window. Click “add”, and from the list select “Group Policy Object Editor”. Keep it to your Local Computer. The Management Console stuff is designed for corporate environments with centralized remote management. Click Finish, and you’ll get a “Local Computer Policy” in the snap-in list. Close and OK back out.
When you get back to the Console1 screen, expand Local Computer Policy, Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components.
At the bottom of that list, you’ll see two entries: Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Digital Rights Management, as folders.
Each of these folders contain settings that you can configure. Click to highlight the setting, and right-click to select Properties to change the setting.
Making a change takes effect immediately, so watch your step.
You will want to save this console, so when you’re done, click File → Save As, to give it a name, and save it in some folder somewhere.
Corporate environments use templates like this to lock down machines (who wants Movie Maker running on the Finance Dept payroll box? And explain why, to the risk auditors?) Mess up settings, and you will pretty much have to reinstall from scratch. Registry editing is comparatively a breeze. But you can turn stuff off, and it’ll stay turned off.