Problems with Windows Media Player
January 19, 2006 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me play an .avi file.

Everytime I try to load a particular .avi movie, I get a warning from Windows Media Player saying it cannot be played as a codec is missing. The Windows site says if you know the codec you can search for and download it. But, I don't know what codec I need. Is there a way to tell, or is there some popular codecs I should download? My frustration level is mounting.
posted by TorontoSandy to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
 
Download VLC Media Player.

It's free, and plays pretty much everything you throw at it, no problems. I've been using it to watch DVDs and AVI's (divx and xvid codecs) for a few months with no problems at all.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 6:26 PM on January 19, 2006


What coach_mcguirk said. VLC seems to play everything.
posted by fire&wings at 6:32 PM on January 19, 2006


VLC. But you can also identify the codec if you download and install G-Spot.
posted by holgate at 6:42 PM on January 19, 2006


Here's the videohelp.com tool page for codec/video identifiers.
posted by puke & cry at 6:44 PM on January 19, 2006


if you prefer to use windows media player, i recommend downloading K-Lite Codec Pack Full; it has every codec you might need.
posted by tysiva at 6:44 PM on January 19, 2006


Go to "Run" and then type in "mplayer2" in the Open box. The try running the AVI file from that window. Mplayer2 will sometimes fix the problem by automatically downloading the necessary codec. Worth a try.
posted by apple scruff at 6:46 PM on January 19, 2006


if you prefer to use windows media player, i recommend downloading K-Lite Codec Pack Full; it has every codec you might need.

As I've said before on this subject, shovelware codec packs often cause more problems than they solve. I'd recommend the defiler pack, if you're going to use one, which will play anything, and is relatively minimalistic.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:58 PM on January 19, 2006


Wow, thanks everyone I had no idea there were so many options available. I was afraid it might be a lost cause.
posted by TorontoSandy at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2006


If you just want to know what codec you need so you can go find just that one, or if you're curious, give GSpot a try. It's a great utility that will tell you tons of information about your video files.

The most useful multi-codec all-in-one and free (GPL) solution I've found is ffmpeg's DirectShow filter, ffdshow. Works great for 98.722% of the videos I've downloaded.
posted by xiojason at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2006


i second ffdshow, its lite and has never caused me any problems
posted by xospecialk at 7:28 PM on January 19, 2006


Defiler pack uses ffdshow, by the way. That's why I recommend it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:48 PM on January 19, 2006


Also (sorry), I highly recommend and use Media Player Classic, which will use ffdshow for decoding, if it's installed.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2006


Unless you play mass amounts of video on your computer, the most sensible thing is to find out the exact codec you need and download only that. You can do this without any program you don't already have. Just Open the file as usual in Windows Media Player and hit close for the error message. The file name is displayed on the right of the screen. Right-click on it and hit properties - the codec will be displayed on that screen. Just google for it.
posted by frankie_stubbs at 8:13 PM on January 19, 2006


FFDShow works fine for me as well.

GSpot is sometimes more info than you need. AVICodec is a nice lightweight drag'n'drop util that will print out a quick list of codecs in an AVI.
posted by meehawl at 8:16 PM on January 19, 2006


No offence to people above, but you'll save a lot of time and hassle if you just follow the first advice - download and use VLC.
posted by ascullion at 10:43 PM on January 19, 2006


Quite true, ascullion, but I don't tend to recommend VLC to people, mostly because it has one of the worst and most unintuitive user interfaces EVAR.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:55 PM on January 19, 2006


you're probably just missing something usual like divx or xvid, so install xvid and see whether it works now
if you don't like videolan or have problems with it, then don't install a "codec pack" but get ffdshow and media placer classic (latest stables from here)
posted by suni at 4:21 AM on January 20, 2006


I'll second DefilerPak, AVICodec and Media Player Classic
posted by Sharcho at 5:04 AM on January 20, 2006


Maybe the Mac interface for VLC Player is very different from the Windows one--I regularly recommend the program to n00bs and they have no problem finding all the standard features like fast forward, rewind, play/pause, full-screen, float-on-top, etc.
posted by bcwinters at 5:35 AM on January 20, 2006


I use and love VLC on Windows, but have to agree with stavros - the interface is teh sux0r.
posted by youarenothere at 9:10 AM on January 20, 2006


"if you prefer to use windows media player, i recommend downloading K-Lite Codec Pack Full; it has every codec you might need."

Right answer, right link. Should get best answered.
posted by SlyBevel at 12:45 PM on January 20, 2006


Not necessarily, Mr Presumptuous, for the reasons I mentioned upthread. How about you leave your best-answering for threads you actually start, huh?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:36 PM on January 20, 2006


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