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How to Fix Windows Media Player Cannot Play the File? Here Are Quick Fixes

Author by Vita

Updated on Jul 28, 2023

As you have come here, you have probably met Windows Media Player playback error and received an error message “Windows Media Player cannot play the file because the required video codec is not installed on your computer” or something like this. Don’t worry! This article will give the overall solutions. And onverting the video/audio to a Windows Media Player-supported format is an effective method. You can try the powerful file converter:

Windows Media Player has not lost its appeal though various advanced media players appear on the market. For many Windows users, the classic media player for windows is an essential tool to enjoy videos, listen to music, burn DVDs, and organize files on PC. While playing videos or music on Windows Media Player, you may probably encounter the error of Windows Media Player cannot play the file. In fact, it’s a common Windows Media Player error. Let’s see how to resolve it.

Also Read: Best Free DVD Players for Windows 10 l Trim MP3 in Windows Media Player

Method 1: Install a Codec Pack for Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player can’t recognize a file encoded with unsupported video or audio codec. You can install the missing codec to solve this problem. There are two common ways to install codecs for Windows Media Player.

Install Codecs from Window Media PlayerInstall Codecs from Window Media Player

1. Update Windows Media Player Codecs Automatically

On Windows Media Player 11, select Tools > Options, choose Download codecs automatically box under the Player tab, and click on OK to save the changes; then try to play the file again. If it asks you to install the codec, select Install.

On Windows Media Player 12, navigate to Tools > Options, and choose Once a day under Automatic updates section, then select OK. By this way, Windows Media Player automatically downloads and installs updates and codec enhancements from the Internet when available.

2. Download a Third-party Codec Pack

A codec pack is also a convenient way to make Windows Media Player understand any files, which is a collection of audio codecs for encoding and decoding video/audio files. So you don’t have to find out the certain codec you need for playing your video or audio. Here is a good list of codec packs for your reference >> The 5 Best Codec Packs for Playing Video and Audio Files Without Any Issue. Just choose the needed one and install it on your computer to solve Windows Media Player cannot play the file.

Method 2: Convert the Video/Audio to a File Supported by Windows Media Player   

You can also encode the video/audio file and make it compatible with Windows Media Player. WMV is Windows Media Video file so you can convert videos to WMV. Similarly, you can convert unsupported audio files to WMA. WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro is an easy and simple video converter that supports almost all video/audio inputs, and 500+ digital formats and devices. After the conversion, you’re able to play the file on Window Media Player without a hassle. The following instruction shows you how to convert unsupported videos to Windows Media Player. Download the converter software for preparation.

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Easy Steps to Convert Videos to Windows Media Player

Three Steps to Convert Files to WMV

Before start, please free downloadfree download the software.

Step 1. Add the Video Files

Open WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro, and select "Converter". Then, click "Add Files" to import your videos or directly drag and drop them into the software .

Step 2. Choose WMV as the Output Format

Click the Output Format profile on the right side of the window, and then choose "WMV" under the "Video" tab.

Step 3. Initialize the Process

Hit "Run" on the lower right corner to initiate the conversion. Once the conversion is completed, you will be prompted to open the output folder to check the converted files. Now you can play the files without Windows Media Player error anymore.

Method 3: Update Video and Sound Card Drivers of Your Computer

Update Video and Audio Card DriverUpdate Video and Audio Card Driver

When you find that Windows Media Player cannot play the file normally and there is sound or picture only, you can try to update or install the Video Card and Sound Card drivers:

Open Device Manager, expand Sound, video and game controllers, right-click on the driver software and select Update Driver Software and then Search automatically for updated driver software to update the Video and Sound Card drivers.

Method 4. Update or Reinstall Windows Media Player

Reinstall Window Media Player Reinstall Window Media Player

Updating the version can solve most errors and bugs you met using the old Windows Media Player. The latest version of Windows Media Player is Windows Media Player 12. Besides, if you’re using the latest version, reinstalling Windows Media Player is also a good practice.

Open Control Panel, select Program > Program and Feature > Turn Windows Feature on and off; extend the Media Features category, uncheck Windows Media Player, and select OK; you need to restart your computer.

Now repeat the steps above to check the Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center box. After that, select OK to reinstall Windows Media Player on your computer, then play files on Windows Media Player to see whether the Windows Media Player error goes away.

Method 5: Use a Third-party Media Player

The four methods above can solve most Windows Media Player cannot play the file, Windows Media Player cannot find the file, and other similar Window Media Player errors. However, if the issue still exists after you have tried all the methods above, we recommend that you use a Windows Media Player alternative to play the files. There are many powerful and easy-to-install media players on the market and VLC Media Player is surely a top choice. It can deal with virtually any files you throw into. Install VLC Media Player from the official site:

It’s all about how to fix Windows Media Player cannot play the file problem. If this article is useful for you, please share it with more friends. If you have any other good ways to solve this problem, you’re welcome to share with us, too.

An All-purpose Video Converter Enables to Play Any Video/Audio

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WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro

It offers support for a wide range of video/audio codecs, formats as well as profiles for devices; with it, you can also easily save videos from websites for offline playback. The software also offers advanced features including video editor, GIF maker, subtitle extractor and ringtone maker. Download it here to give it a spin.

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