How to fix Windows Media Player cannot play the file error

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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windows media player cannot play the file

A lot of people still love to use Windows Media Player as their go-to player, but many users reported Windows Media Player cannot play the file error while trying to play certain files.

Given the fact that whenever certain media file has a space in their path or file name, the error is bound to appear. Without further ado, let’s see how we can fix this problem for good.

How can I fix Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file error?

  1. Wrong audio device fix
  2. Download codecs
  3. Registry fix
  4. Try using a different player

1. Wrong audio device fix

Windows Media Player cannot play the file error can take place when the wrong device has been selected.

  1. To change it, go to Tools, then select Options now click on Devices, and select Speakers.
  2. Lastly, select Properties, as this will allow you to change it.

speaker properties Windows Media Player cannot play the file

2. Download codecs

For this fix, we’re going to play the file in question and we’re going to try to download the necessary codecs.

  1. Simply play your file and right-click on it in the library.
  2. Then click Properties, and on the File tab, look for the Audio codec and Video codec sections.
  3. You can download and install codecs by going to the Player section and checking the Connect to the Internet and Download Codecs Automatically from the player section.

player options Windows Media Player can't play the file

Also you can configure protocol settings.

  1. Go to the Tools menu, next click on Options, and then click the Network tab.
  2. In the Streaming protocols section, select all the protocol check boxes at hand.
  3. When you’re connecting to a server running Windows Media Services, your Windows Media Player attempts to use all the selected protocols.

network settings

Got a problem with missing codecs? Download and install them using this guide!

3. Registry fix

If you’re still having Windows Media Player cannot play the file error, you might

  1. Press the Windows Key + R then type regedit and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.
    regedit Windows Media Player cannot play the file
  2. Locate the following registry key:
    • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{DA4E3DA0-D07D-11d0-BD50-00A0C911CE86}\Instance\{083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86}
  3. Make sure that the CLSID {083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86} has the Merit section set to 00600000 and has DWORD Value.
  4. If there’s no value set, create a new CLSID value key, by right-clicking in the right side window and select String value then type the name of the key as CLSID, click on it and enter the value {083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86}.
  5. Next, create the key FriendlyName and enter its value as DirectShow Filters.
  6. Next, click on FriendlyName, and select DWORD value then enter its name as Merit, then double-click on it and enter 00600000 as it’s value and click OK.
  7. Exit the Registry Editor and restart your machine.

4. Try using a different player

Windows Media Player cannot play the file use different player

Windows Media Player cannot play the file error can occur if the file you’re trying to play is encoded using a codec that is not supported by your Windows Media Player. If this is the case, try using a different media player.

Windows Media Player can’t play certain files? One of these media players surely can!

It should be known that the affected media files include files that have the following extensions: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .mov, and .adts. Use the appropriate codec when playing these files. You can also try playing the file in question on a different machine, and check if the file is not corrupted or not.


Keep in mind to update or sometimes reinstall your sound card and graphics card drivers, when you’re getting this error. Also, you’d want to have the latest DirectX version on your machine.

We hope that these solutions were of help to you. In the meantime, let us know on what’s the player of your choice when playing your favorite videos, in the comment section down below.


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