FIX: Online/Offline videos won’t play on Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Playing videos is a core part of the Windows 10 experience, allowing you to enjoy great moments in front of your PC.
  • Unfortunately, a variety of issues can make viewing videos impossible, and that's what we will be discussing below.
  • This article is part of a much larger dedicated hub for troubleshooting System Errors.
  • For even more troubleshooting guides, check out our PC Software Fix page.
windows 10 error video could not be decoded

Video is perhaps the most consumed type of content today, whether you’re streaming online or watching offline from your computer or device.

Windows PCs have over the years enabled many of its users to not just create videos, but also embed and edit them from their computers, using different Office programs and apps.

Windows 10, the latest operating system in the Microsoft stable, has seen steady uptake from consumers, but this too has come with many troubleshooting concerns.

One of these concerns is videos not playing in Windows 10. Among the quick fixes for this is restarting your computer or the video itself, but should this not help, try the solutions below.

What can I do if videos aren’t playing on Windows 10?

  1. Uninstall and reinstall the display driver
  2. Convert the video into a readable format
  3. Update drivers automatically
  4. Install missing plug-ins
  5. Open video in browser
  6. Check if the proper codec is installed/run Optimize compatibility
  7. Check for all available Windows updates
  8. Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering
  9. Turn off X-reality setting

1. Uninstall and reinstall the display driver

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • From the list of devices, select Display drivers to expand the list

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Right click on the device and click Uninstall
  • Ensure the option to delete the driver package from the system is checked/selected, so that the driver package installed is deleted
  • Go to Action menu
  • Select Scan for Hardware changes, to reinstall the driver

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Close and restart the computer

Windows can’t automatically find and download new drivers? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

2. Convert the video into a readable format

Sometimes the issue may be that the video’s format is not compatible with any of the video players installed on your PC. One workaround for this issue is to open the file in a video editor or a converter, transform it into a readable format, and play it again.

One great video editor that is extremely versatile in terms of what file formats it can handle is Adobe Premiere Pro. Not only can it open pretty much any type of video that was recorded on pretty much any type of camera, but it is also a professional-level video editor.

  1. Download Adobe Premiere Pro free here
    • Register an Adobe account if you don’t already have one
    • Sign up for the free 7-day trial
  2. Install Adobe Premiere Pro
  3. Log into your Adobe account and open Adobe Premiere Pro
  4. Load a Video File into the Adobe Media Encoder Queue.
    • You can do this by clicking the + button in the queue panel to add your video to the queue
  5. Choose a file format
  6. Choose a Quality Preset.
  7. Select your save location
  8. Start the conversion and wait
  9. Try opening the video again

3. Update drivers automatically

If you don’t  have the necessary computer skills to in order to follow the steps above, don’t do it. You can permanently damage your computer by downloading and installing the wrong driver versions.

In order to prevent that, we strongly suggest to do it automatically by using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater tool.

This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus and will help you update all outdated drivers safely. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide how to do it.

    1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updaterdriver updater starting window
      • Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically.
      • Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates.
      • All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
        tweakbit driver updater scanning drivers windows 10
    2. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC.
    3. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once.
      • To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name.
      • Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
        Automatically Update complete

Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.

Did you know that the majority of Windows 10 users have outdated drivers? Be a step ahead using this guide.

4. Install missing plug-ins

You may be missing Adobe Flash or Silverlight plug-ins that could enable video playback, especially for Internet Explorer. Get the right or missing plug-ins and then check if the video is playing again.

5. Open video in browser

Some sites have online videos that cannot play from other applications. Try opening through your browser by pressing Esc to dismiss the video, right click on the video and click Open Hyperlink.

If it doesn’t open, check that the plug-ins are enabled. To do this:

  • Open Internet Explorer.
  • Click Tools

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Click Manage Add-ons

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Under Add-on Types, click Toolbars and Extensions.

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Under Show, click All add-ons.

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Select the Flash and Silverlight add-ons
  • Click Enable and try playing the video again

6. Check if the proper codec is installed/run Optimize compatibility

If your Videos are not playing on Windows 10, it could be that you don’t have the proper codec installed. For example, someone could send you a PowerPoint presentation with media based on a codec that your PC doesn’t have.

The best solution is for the author of the presentation to run Optimize Compatibility before sending the file to anyone else.

  • Determine which codec you need to run the media, or install a third-party tool that can examine a media file and determine which codec it needs.
    • Then install the codec required to run the media.
  • Download a third-party media decoder and encoder filter, such as ffdshow or DivX, which will allow you to decode and encode a variety of formats.
  • If you created a presentation on a PC and decide to deliver it on a Mac, use media with the .mp4 file format extension.

If you’re a BS Player user and you can’t download codecs, we’ve got a dedicated guide to solve the issue. There’s a similar guide for Windows Media Player, as well.

Looking for some all-in-one video codec packs? Take a look at this list with our top picks.

7. Check for all available Windows updates

  • Click Start and select Settings

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Click Update and Security

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Click Windows Updates

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Click Check for Updates

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Install the updates that are pending

If you can’t open the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

Having trouble updating your Windows? Check out this guide that will help you solve them in no time.

7. Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering

  • Select the Network and Internet

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Select Internet Options

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • An additional window titled Internet Properties will open.
    • On this window, select the tab labeled Advanced
  • You will see a section titled Accelerated Graphics.
  • There is a check-box underneath labeled, Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering. Check it.

Videos not playing on Windows 10

  • Scroll down the list until you see an additional section labeled “Security”.
  • Find the checkbox labeled, Enable 64-bit processes for Enhanced Protected Mode* and check it.
  • Now select Apply and OK
  • Restart your browser, and try watching a video again. If it still does not work, restart your device and try again.

You can’t open Control Panel? Take a look at this step-by-step guide to find a solution.

8. Turn off X-reality setting

If you’re using a Sony VAIO, you can fix the Videos not playing on Windows 10 issue by checking the settings.

Something in the pre-installed Sony software prevents playback, so go to the VAIO control center app, under Image quality tab, and find the X-reality for mobile setting. Turn it off.

Did any of these solutions fix Videos not playing on Windows 10 issue? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.

Also, leave there any other suggestions or questions you may have.

FAQ: Learn more about videos

  • What are the best video players for PC?

The best video players for PC include VLC Media Player, GOM Media player, and more.

  • What are the best video editors in the world?

The best video editors in the world include Adobe Premiere Pro, Power Director, Adobe After Effects, and more.

  • What are video codecs?

A codec is a device or software that is used to compress or decompress a digital media file, such as a video or song. The lack of a codec means that you will be unable to play that video or audio file.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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