FIX: Windows Media Player cannot open WAV/MP3/MP4/AVI/MKV

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • Many users have reported that Windows Media Player cannot run WAV, MP3, MP4, AVI, or MKV files.
  • Since many of these formats are common, we decided to look into the matter.
  • The guide below is just one of many that we've included in our Windows 10 Fix section.
  • For more help with various tech troubles, go to our Troubleshooting Hub as well.
Windows Media Player cannot open audio and video files

Although Windows Media Player is becoming increasingly outdated, quite a few users still utilize it for playing videos and audio.

However, the reality struck when users see that Windows Media Player cannot open WAV, MP3, MP4, AVI, MPG, MKV, and MOV videos and music for some users even though the software supports those file formats.

Why can’t I play video/audio files on Windows Media Player?

1. Switch to a different video player

While Windows Media Player is still a solid video player and it does come preinstalled with the Windows OS, it lacks many of the tools and features that third-party video players have,

That being said, one great alternative to Windows Media Player is the Winx DVD player, a video player for both short 5 MB videos as well as full-length movies from copy-protected DVDs.

The interface is extremely simplistic, so you can enjoy the movie more and worry less about audio and video adjustments.

As for versatility, this media player can easily handle popular formats such as AVI, MP4, DivX, MPEG, RMVB, VOB, WMV, Xvid, and more.

Winx DVD Player

Winx DVD Player

If Windows Media Player can't playback certain video formats or DVD movies, then you should try this better alternative!
Free trial Get it now

2. Fix corrupted video files

Sometimes the reason behind a video not being played back is not the video player, but the file itself. As such, if you notice that multiple video players don’t work on it, then maybe you should consider performing a video file repair.

With that in mind, we recommend that you try Stellar Repair for Video to restore your precious video files.

  1. Download and install Stellar Repair for Video
  2. Launch Stellar Repair for Video, and click the Add file button on its window.
  3. Select a video file to repair.
  4. Press the Repair button.
Stellar Repair for Video

Stellar Repair for Video

Videos can get corrupted for a variety of reasons, but whichever they are, Stellar Repair for Video can fix it immediately!
Free trial Visit website

3. Open the Video Playback Troubleshooter

  1. Open Windows 10’s search utility with the Windows key + S hotkey.
  2. Input troubleshoot as the search keyword, and select Troubleshoot settings to open Settings as shown directly below.The Troubleshoot window windows media player cannot open WAV/MP3/MP4/AVI/MKV/MPG/MOV files
  3. Select Video Playback and click Run the troubleshooter to open its window below.Video Playback window windows media player cannot open WAV/MP3/MP4/AVI/MKV/MPG/MOV files
  4. Users can then select three alternative troubleshooting options.
  5. As the first two options seemingly do not exactly pertain to Windows Media Player not playing video files, click I want to continue with this troubleshooter to initiate it.

First, check out Windows 10’s Video Playback troubleshooter, which might come in handy for fixing Windows Media Player’s video playback.

4. Install the K-Lite Codec Pack

Windows Media Player still needs a K-Lite Codec pack to ensure it plays even all of its supported file formats ok.

To install K-Lite, click Mirror 1 or Mirror 2 on the Download K-Lite Codec Mega page. After downloading it, click K-Lite_Codec to open the pack’s installer.

Then users can go through the setup wizard to install the codec.

K-Lite Codec Pack page windows media player cannot open WAV/MP3/MP4/AVI/MKV/MPG/MOV files

Windows Media Player is outdated. Use these tools to play videos and never look back.

5. Reinstall Windows Media Player

  1. To reinstall WMP, open the Run accessory by pressing the Windows key + R hotkey.
  2. Then users can open the uninstaller window by entering appwiz.cpl in Run and clicking OK.Programs and Features window windows media player cannot open WAV/MP3/MP4/AVI/MKV/MPG/MOV files
  3. Next, click Turn Windows features on or off to open the window shown directly below.Windows Features window windows media player cannot open WAV/MP3/MP4/AVI/MKV/MPG/MOV files
  4. Double-click Media Features to expand it.
  5. Deselect the Windows Media Player checkbox.
  6. Click OK to uninstall WMP.
  7. Restart Windows after uninstalling the media player.
  8. Open the Windows Features window again.
  9. Then select the Windows Media Player checkbox.
  10. Click OK to reinstall the software.

Reinstalling Windows Media Player might resolve playback issues for both video and music.

By following these steps, you should be able to watch movies again, but whether this is with the Windows Media Player is entirely up to you.

Let us know which solution helped you most by leaving us a reply in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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