Windows Media Player 11 Help

Windows Help  > Windows Media Player 11 Help  > Codec Error and Problems While Playing Videos

Windows Help

Codec Error and Problems While Playing Videos

When you try to play audio/video files on your Windows Media Player 11, codec error messages similar to the ones given below, may be displayed on your screen, or you may experience a problem in which the audio plays and video files do not play.

Windows Media Player cannot play, burn, rip, or sync the file because a required audio codec is not installed on your computer.

A codec is required to play this file. To determine if this codec is available to download from the Web, click Web Help.

Windows Media Player cannot play the file because the required video codec is not installed on your computer.

Invalid File Format.

The main cause of this error is a missing codec. If a required codec is not installed on your system, you will be unable to play a file that needs to use it and error message will be displayed on the screen.

To resolve these errors, and to ensure that such problems do not occur in future, it is recommended that you configure your Media Player 11 to automatically download codecs to your system. You can do this by performing the steps listed below:

  1. In the Windows Media Player window, open the Tools menu and then select Options.

    Tip : If the toolbar with Tools menu is not visible, right-click at the top of the Window, and then point to Tools.
  2. On the Player tab, select the Download codecs automatically check box, and then select OK.

Advanced Troubleshooting

You need to proceed with advanced troubleshooting only if you are unable to resolve the error by enabling automatic codec updates. The steps listed below are a bit complex and you must perform them only if you are comfortable with them. Otherwise, it is recommended that you seek the help of a more experienced computer user or a technician.

Step 1: Check if the codec required to play your file is installed on your computer.

  1. Right-click on the file you are trying to play in the Now Playing area and select Properties.
  2. On the File tab of the properties box that opens, note down the name of the codec given for Audio codec and Video codec. Move on the Step 2, if you find the following information mentioned here.
    • Audio codec: No audio codec is specified.
    • Video codec: No video codec is specified.

  3. If the information on the File tab is fine, exit the properties box, open the Help menu, and then select the About Windows Media Player command.
  4. In the About Windows Media Player dialog box that opens, select the Technical Support Information link.
  5. Now, go through the Web page that opens, that the audio/video codec you determined earlier are listed here or not.
  6. If the codec is not listed proceed with the Step 2, otherwise try to reinstall the codec and try to play your file. If you succeed, stop troubleshooting.

Step 2: Install the required codec.

  1. If you receive an error message while trying to play a file, select Web Help, otherwise, proceed to Step 3.
  2. When the Microsoft Web site opens, click the link that will take you to the Wmplugins Web site. Otherwise, open the following Web site:
  3. Follow the instructions given on this Web site to automatically search for, download and install the required codec on your system.
  4. If you are unable to find the required codec, or if your file still fails to play proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Obtain and install third-party codec.

Depending on your requirement, you can obtain information regarding third-party codecs from the following Microsoft Knowledgebase Web sites:

Note : If you are on a network, it is recommended that you contact your IT department or your network administrator to obtain or help you obtain the required codec and install it on your system.

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