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How to Find and Install Codecs for Windows Media Player to Solve Playback Failures?

Author by Vita

July 29, 2020

“Windows Media Player cannot play the file because a required codec is not installed on your computer”. If we load a video or audio file that encoded with an unsupported codec in Windows Media Player, this error message pops up. Fortunately, we can install matching codecs for Windows Media Player to add the support. The following content is about how to efficiently perform the installation.

For media players, codec is an important program or software helping decode video and audio data from a file. Although Windows Media Players includes many popular video and audio codecs, there still are some codecs it can’t handle, which is most of the causes people run into playback failure when playing specified files, and the most practical solution is certainly to install matching codecs for Windows Media Player.

Related Searches: Play MTS in Windows Media Player l Play FLAC on Windows Media Player l Play MP4 in Windows Media Player  

Part 1. Which Codec I Should Install for Windows Media Player

If you want to install a particular codec for playing a file on Windows Media Player, you need first know the exactly missing codec, which usually requires the help of third-party detector software (MediaInfo, VideoInspector, and Codec Installer are good options. They can read the video information, check the video/audio codec, and even direct you to the sources where you can download the missing codec). Meanwhile, here is a way you may also give a try without asking for help from these tools:

Step 1. Add the video in the video library of Windows Media Player, under the Videos section, right click on the video, select Properties. You should see the video/audio codec on the new Properties dialog. However, if there is no specified codec information, you still need to switch to a third-party tool that can supply the file information.  

Windows Media Player codec pack


Step 2. To make sure that the problem is due to the missing codec, you may further check whether Windows Media Player includes the video or audio codec the file uses. For this, click on Help on the top menu bar of Windows Media Player, select About Windows Media Player, then Technical Support Information.


Enter the Technical Support Information page


Scroll down to the Video codecs section and Audio codecs section. If the video codec or audio codec you have checked in step 1 isn’t included therein, just download the corresponding codec from a reliable source and install it on your computer to see whether the problem goes away.  


Check Windows Media Player codec Windows 10

Due to different scenarios, the way above to check out the missing codec would not always workable. Therefore, by comparison, we strongly recommend that you update the Windows Media Player codec packs or install an all-round codec pack that contains most codecs, as the parts below show.

Part 2. Update Windows Media Player Codecs

Updating codecs in Windows Media Player should be the first thing you need to do when faced with the missing codecs for Windows Media Player. For the update, here is the detailed procedure:

Step 1. Open Windows Media Player, click Tools > Options on the top menu bar. If the menu bar isn’t displayed, right click on the top blank area, select Show menu bar.

Step 2. Check the Once a day option under Automatic updates, then click Apply to update Windows Media Player codecs and other assemblies.

Beyond that, you may manually update Windows Media Player for the latest version and related components: Go to Help > Check for Updates on the top menu bar.

Windows Media Player codec pack

Part 3. Install an Additional Codec Pack to Work with this File in WMP

Installing an additional codec pack is the most efficient way to add support for multiple types of files since a mighty codec pack can package all common and even some rare codecs into one. Besides tackling your current playback failure caused by codec, it can further enable you to play more files Windows Media Player doesn’t natively support. K-Lite Codec Pack is a dependable & powerful option for Windows. You can give it a try.

Step 1. Go to the official download page: http://codecguide.com/download_kl.htm

Step 2. The basic version should be enough for Windows Media Player. Click on Download Basic, then choose a download server.

Step 3. Wait while the download completes. Follow the instruction to install it on your computer.   

Tips. You need to take some efforts for the whole set-up of K-Lite Codec Pack. It is noteworthy that on the File association setup dialog, you’d better choose Windows Media Player for creating file associations and choose all the file extensions that you want to play with Windows Media Player on the next setup dialog.

Install K-Lite Codec Pack

Part 4. Find More Third-party Codec Packs for Windows Media Player

Additionally, we have sorted out some other good codec packs, if you think K-Lite Codec Pack isn’t the most fitting one for you:

1. Media Player Codec Pack: https://www.mediaplayercodecpack.com/

2. Shark007: https://shark007.net/standard.html

3. CCCP – Combined Community Codec Pack: http://www.cccp-project.net/   

4. X Codec Pack: https://www.xcodecpack.com/

To learn the detailed information and their highlights, check out this review>>The 5 Best Codec Packs for Windows.

In Summary

We have summarized all the practical methods of updating, installing and finding downloadable codecs for Windows Media Player. These methods are well tested and effective in most cases. Go and try them.

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