How can repair my video codecs?
July 16, 2007 5:20 PM   Subscribe

How can repair my video codecs? Out of nowhere, I cannot see any video in my AVI files but I can hear the audio just fine. Windows Media Player 11 simply does not load when I click to open an AVI. It is fully installed and everything but when I try to click on an AVI to open it -- nothing happens.

I've installed the VLC player in hopes that plays it, no dice. Same goes for Windows Media Classic.

I've installed the k-lite codecs pack which worked for me for years but for some odd reason, things crapped out on me.

I've also used GSPOT to see what codecs were needed for certain movies but each time it said that everything was fully installed.

How can I rectify this extremely annoying problem? Is there some kind of tool I can use that will repair this?

The specs I am running are: OS: WinXP Professional 5.1 Service Pack 2 (Build #2600) CPU: Intel Pentium D , 2.99 GHz Video: Plug and Play Monitor on nVidia GeForce 7800 GTX Sound: SB Audigy 2 ZS Audio

Thanks in advance
posted by cheero to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
VLC has its own built-in codecs, so if it also doesn't show the video, you aren't having a codec problem. I'm guessing that you have a problem with your video card's drivers, since all of the players mentioned in your post rely on your video card for video acceleration by default. Try upgrading or re-installing your nVidia drivers.

If that doesn't work, tell the video players to not use overlay or other video acceleration. All of them should have such controls (I think the one for Windows Media Player is under the "Performance" tab in options). This won't actually solve the underlying problem, but should fix the symptom of no video.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 5:31 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Same thing happened to me. No video, for any player (WMP, VLC, DIVX)

On a hunch,I swapped out my Radeon 9800 video card (I have a spare POS), everything now works.

I haven't a clue how this could happen.
posted by vaportrail at 5:41 PM on July 16, 2007

Funny, this article on how to install missing codecs with CodecInstall was just posted today on Looks like it's right up your alley.
posted by furtive at 5:46 PM on July 16, 2007

Thanks for the suggestions, unfortunately none of them seem to work.

When I load an AVI inside VLC, I can hear the audio just fine but see no video.

Ive given up on WMP11, that thing is a POS. It won't even load.
posted by cheero at 6:02 PM on July 16, 2007

Do you have another computer or can you borrow another to check if the problem is with your files or a video problem, maybe related to the card as suggested above? That would be my next step. Or trying a different format of video to see if that plays.
posted by 6550 at 6:30 PM on July 16, 2007

No other computer unfortunately.

Is there a way to completely remove all video codecs that were installed and start fresh?

I really don't understand why Windows Media Player 11 does not even load, as if something is preventing it.
posted by cheero at 6:31 PM on July 16, 2007

I'm not sure why you'd be seeing this in your particular situation, but this can happen when you run up against Macrovision DRM-type limitations (intended to prevent unauthorized display of content). You see this sometimes when you play a DVD on a laptop and try to use the video-out port to pipe the signal to your TV - the playback window looks and behaves just fine, and you get audio, but no video signal. Are you doing anything unusual with video out, or anything else that might be causing Macrovision DRM to freak out?

on preview - WMP11 may be more trouble than it's worth; I downgraded back to 10 myself a while ago. Still, I'd expect VLC to work fine. If you want a third opinion there's always BSplayer; between that and Gspot to help me troubleshoot codecs, I've been pretty lucky.
posted by herichon at 6:43 PM on July 16, 2007

scan for spyware?
posted by whatisish at 6:54 PM on July 16, 2007

It sounds like you might have some codec conflicts going on. You could try and use a program like Codec Sniper to see if you have multiple codecs trying to do the same thing.
posted by FreezBoy at 7:12 PM on July 16, 2007

Like marionnette en chaussette says, VLC uses it's own internal codec, which is based on ffmpeg. If your videos wont play in it, then probably something is broken somewhere. I can't really say what's going on without more information, but here's some very general things you can try. You should try to follow the same order:

1) Remove all codec packs, players, and other associated stuff. Look in add/remove programs for other things you may have installed lately that could be an issue. Clean sweep on the codecs, get rid of everything, manually if you have to. After all this, restart. Then add back the default windows codecs. Note that this operation will get rid of any mpeg2 (DVD) decoder you have. If you have a retail one, make sure you have reinstallation media or a key or something.
2) Boot into safemode, scan/remove spyware with spybot or adaware. Reboot.
3) Back in regular mode, run msconfig from command line and check for anything fishy.
4) Uninstall videocard drivers, reboot, then reinstall. Reboot again.
5) Update Windows completely, restart.
6) Hopefully you have a clean slate now. Download and try VLC. Does it work? If yes, download and install CCCP (carefully), then check if MPC works, and if it does, don't fuck around with anything anymore. If VLC does not work, you've still got problems, but at least they definitely are not codec problems. In that case, I don't know what to do anymore, but probably someone else does.

Of course, you can always just backup important data and then nuke Windows from orbit. But that's for wimps.
posted by tracert at 11:30 PM on July 16, 2007

Try CodecInstaller. It was created for situations such as yours.

From the website:

CodecInstaller is a Windows program that detects the Audio and Video codecs installed on your system, analyzes files to understand which codecs they require and suggests you to install them.

posted by tjvis at 2:01 PM on July 17, 2007

Oops. furtive mentioned that from the Lifehacker link already.
posted by tjvis at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2007

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