FIX: Windows 10 can’t play MP4 files

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Loading Comments
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

  • MP4 is a digital multimedia container format most commonly used to store video and audio.
  • This format replaced MP3 on most portable devices since MP3 was limited to storing only audio data.
  • If you want to read more about this amazing file format, check out our dedicated MP4 hub.
  • For more great troubleshooting guides, check out our PC Software Fix page.
can't play mp4

We all enjoy in multimedia content on our Windows 10 devices, and as you know, multimedia comes in all sorts of formats. Speaking of multimedia formats, users have complained that Windows 10 can’t play MP4, so let’s fix this problem.

Before we start, we need to explain how MP4 file format works. The MP4 file format is a digital multimedia container format, similar to MKV.

In fact, not that long ago, we’ve covered what to do when you can’t play MKV videos in Windows 10, so you might want to read that as well.

Since an MP4 file is a multimedia digital container, it relies on different codecs in order to work properly.

Enjoy any multimedia content with best video codec packs for Windows 10 to play all file formats

What can I do if Windows 10 can’t play mp4?

MP4 files are great, but sometimes issues with them can occur. Speaking of MP4 files and issues, in this article we’re going to cover the following topics:

  • VLC not playing MP4 Windows 10
    • If VLC can’t play an MP4 file, it’s most likely due to its settings.
    • To fix the problem, you just need to go to the configuration page and change a few settings.
  • How to play MP4 on Windows 10
    • If you can’t play MP4 video on Windows 10, you should download third-party codecs and install them.
    • If you don’t feel comfortable downloading codes, you can always install VLC Player and use it to play MP4 files.
  • Windows Media Player won’t play MP4 video
    • If you have problems with MP4 files in Windows Media Player, you might be able to fix the problem simply by disabling video acceleration in Windows Media Player.
  • Can’t play MP4 in Movie Maker
    • Several users reported that they are unable to play MP4 files in Movie Maker.
    • This can be a big problem, but you can fix it by reinstalling Windows Live Essentials.

Quickest solution: Adobe Premiere Pro (free)


Before starting searching for codecs, players and problems inside your OS, we would recommend you to let a third-party software do the job for you.

Adobe Premiere Pro is a great tool that supports pretty much any type of video file format for both import and export.

This tool will not only open your .MP4 and other video-format files but it also lets you convert them in one of the most popular video formats: MP4.

The only thing you have to download it, set it up, and to open your files with it. It will also help you with other files whenever you will need to.

Download Adobe Premiere Pro free

1. Install necessary codecs

As we have already mentioned, mp4 files rely on different codes in order to work properly, and if you don’t have these codecs installed, you won’t be able to play mp4 files on your Windows 10 PC.

To fix this issue, it’s advised that you download and install a codec pack on your computer. One of the most used codec packs is K-Lite Codec Pack, and you can download it from here.

If you wish to use any other codec pack, feel free to do so. Once you download and install the necessary codecs, MP4 files should work in all media players.

2. Switch to a third-party media player

Windows Media Player doesn’t come with necessary video codecs, and this is why Windows 10 won’t be able to play mp4 files on your computer.

Windows 10 doesn’t have native support for all mp4 files, therefore, it relies on video codecs. If you don’t wish to install video codecs, you can always install a third-party media player.

Most of these players come with all necessary codecs, and they’ll able to play all mp4 files without any issues. If you’re looking for a good third party media player, we recommend downloading the VLC player from here.

Once you install VLC Media Player, you should be able to play any MP4 file without issues.

Alternatively, you can make your free time better with one of these media players from our fresh list!

3. Run the troubleshooter

According to users, if you can’t play MP4 files on your PC, you might want to try running the troubleshooter.

Windows comes with built-in troubleshooters that can fix various problems, and if you can’t play MP4 files, you might be able to fix the problem simply by running a troubleshooter.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app by pressing Windows Key + I.
  2. When Settings app opens, go to Update & Security section.
    VLC not playing MP4 Windows 10
  3. In the left pane, navigate to Troubleshoot section.
  4. In the right pane, select Video Playback and click Run the troubleshooter.
    How to play MP4 on Windows 10
  5. Now follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooter.

You can also run the Troubleshooter from Control Panel. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter control panel. Select Control Panel from the list of results.
    VLC not playing MP4 Windows 10
  2. When Control Panel opens, click on Troubleshooting.
    How to play MP4 on Windows 10
  3. Click on View all from the menu on the right.
    Windows Media Player won’t play MP4 video
  4. List of troubleshooters will now appear. Select Windows Media Player Settings.
    Can't play MP4 in Movie Maker
  5. Now follow the instructions on the screen to complete it.

After running the troubleshooter, the problem should be completely resolved and you should be able to play MP4 files.

4. Reinstall Microsoft Live Essentials

If you can’t play MP4 files in Windows Movie Maker, the issue might be related to Microsoft Live Essentials. According to users, they had issues with Windows Live Essentials, but they fixed the problem by reinstalling them.

To remove a certain application from your PC, along with all of its files, we recommend using an uninstaller software.

Tools such as Revo Uninstaller, IOBit Uninstaller (free), and Ashampoo Uninstaller are great tools that can uninstall any application from your PC.

After removing Microsoft Live Essentials, download the latest version and install it. After doing that, you should be able to play MP4 files in Windows Movie Maker again.

5. Turn off WMV DirectX video acceleration

According to users, if Windows Media Player won’t play MP4 videos, the issue might be WMV DirectX video acceleration.

To fix the issue, you need to disable this feature by doing the following:

  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Click on Organize > Options.
    Windows Media Player won’t play MP4 video
  3. Navigate to the Performance tab and disable Turn on DirectX Video Acceleration for WMV files.
  4. Now click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    Can't play MP4 in Movie Maker

After disabling this feature, restart Windows Media Player and check if the issue with MP4 files is resolved.

6. Change the file extension

According to users, you might have to change the file extension of the MP4 file in order to play it. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Locate the video that you want to play.
  2. Make sure that file extensions are revealed.
  3. To show file extensions, click on View > File name extensions.
    VLC not playing MP4 Windows 10
  4. Optional: Create a backup of the video file before you change its extension.
    • Changing the file extension might cause your video to become unreadable, so it’s advised to create a backup just in case.
  5. Now locate the file and rename it. Change the extension of the file from .mp4 to .mp4v. For example, if your video is named video.mp4, rename it to video.mp4v.
  6. When the confirmation message appears, click Yes to confirm.
    How to play MP4 on Windows 10

After doing that, try playing the video again. This is a simple workaround, but it might help you with this problem, so be sure to try it out.

If you change a file name extension, it may become unusable. Check out our guide to avoid this unpleasant surprise!

7. Change VLC settings

Sometimes you might not be able to play MP4 properly while using VLC Player. However, you can fix that by changing few settings in VLC Player. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open VLC Player.
  2. Navigate to Tools > Preferences.
  3. Now select Input / Codecs.
  4. In Codecs section, locate Hardware-accelerated decoding and change it from Disabled to Automatic.

After doing that, the problem with VLC and MP4 files will be resolved and they should start playing again without any issues.

8. Convert your files

If other solutions can’t fix your problem, you might want to consider converting your MP4 files to a different format.

There are many great applications that can convert your MP4 files to other formats, and the best ones are iSkysoft iMedia Converter Deluxe (free) and Any Video Converter.

Both applications are simple to use, so you should be able to convert your MP4 files with ease.

Keep in mind that file conversion can take a while, usually a couple of minutes depending on the size of your video. If you can’t play just a couple of MP4 files, you can convert them all using these tools.

However, if you have dozens of MP4 files, then you might want to consider a different solution.

Problems with MP4 files aren’t related to Windows 10 itself, they are related to video codecs that might not be installed on your computer, and the only solution is to download and install those codecs, or to use a third-party multimedia player.

FAQ: Learn more about MP4 files

  • What is an MP4 file?

MP4, also known as MPEG-4 Part 14, is a digital multimedia container format most commonly used to store video and audio, but it can also be used to store subtitles and still images.

  • How do I play MP4 files?

The easiest way to play MP4 files is to use a video player since this is one of the most common file formats available.

  • Are MP4 files still used today?

Yes, MP4 is still a very common video file format, especially when it comes to portable multimedia devices. Music players usually convert them to MP3.

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

Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know! You can also help us by leaving a review on MyWOT or Trustpillot.
Get the most from your tech with our daily tips
Tell us why!