FIXED: Windows Media Player encountered an error while playing file

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
6 minute read
play avi windows media player

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8 methods to fix Windows Media Player errors

  1. Fixing MP3 Playback
  2. Fixing AVI, WAV and MOV Playback
  3. Fixing RA, RAM and RM Playback
  4. Use the Windows Media Player Settings Troubleshooter
  5. Restore Windows to a Restore Point
  6. Turn Off Windows Media Player Network Sharing
  7. Reinstall Windows Media Player
  8. Play the Videos or Music in VLC Media Player Instead

Windows Media Player was once the default media player in all Windows platforms. However, the Groove Music and Movies & TV apps have replaced WMP as the default media software in Windows 10.

Nevertheless, Windows Media Player is still included with Win 10; and some users still utilize that software for video and music playback.

However, Windows Media Player doesn’t always play media files. A “Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file” error message pops up for some users when they try to play music or video in WMP.

Consequently, the software doesn’t play the music or video for its users. If the same WMP error message pops up for you, check out some of the potential resolutions for it below.

Solutions to fix Windows Media Player errors

1. Fixing MP3 Playback

Some WMP users have stated that a “Windows Media Player encountered a problem” error message appears when they try to play MP3 files. Thus, the error message can pop up even when you try to play the most universal music file formats.

If the issue arises when you try to play an MP3, the file might be corrupted. As such, you might need to repair the file. You can fix MP3 files with the MP3 Repair Tool as follows.

  • Press the Download Now button on this webpage to save the MP3 Repair Tool ZIP to a folder.
  • Open the folder you saved the MP3 Repair Tool ZIP to, and click the Extract all button.

  • Click the Browse button to choose a folder to extract MP3 Repair Tool to.
  • Press the Extract button.
  • Open MP3 Repair Tool from the folder you extracted it to.

  • Select the folder that includes the MP3 you need to fix from the drop-down menu.

  • Then you can select the MP3 to repair.
  • Select the Remove option.
  • Enter the value 1 in the text box.
  • Press the Repair button to fix the MP3.
  • Alternatively, try downloading the MP3 again if you got it from a website. Open an MP3 website, and download the same music again.

— RELATED: How to Add AVI Codec to Windows Media Player in Windows 10, 8.1

2. Fixing AVI, WAV and MOV Playback

If the “Windows Media Player encountered a problem” error message pops up when you try to play an AVI, WAV or MOV video, your WMP software might be missing some codecs needed to play those file formats.

Installing a few codec packs might resolve the issue for those video formats. The XviD and Media Player Codec Pack are two WMP codec packs that support most media file and compression types.

Click XviD code v1.3.2 for Windows on this page to download Xvid, and press the Download button on this webpage to save the Media Player Code Pack installer to a folder. Then you can open the setup wizards for each codec pack to install them. Thereafter, restart Windows, open Windows Media Player and play the videos. This post provides further details for installing the XviD codec.

3. Fixing RA, RAM and RM Playback

The “Windows Media Player encountered a problem” error can also be due to incompatible media files. RA, RAM and RM are three RealAudio file formats that Windows Media Player used to play, but it no longer supports those file formats. So if you’re trying to play RA, RAM and RM files in WMP, or another unsupported file format, you’ll need to convert them to a compatible format. This page includes a list of WMP‘s supported file types.

The best video and audio formats to convert files to for WMP playback are probably WMV (Windows Media Video) and WMA (Windows Media Audio). You can convert videos to WMV files with the Online WMV video converter web tool at this page.

To convert files to WMA, check out this web tool. Then you can click the Choose Files and Start conversion buttons on those web tools to convert selected files to WMV or WMA.

4. Open the Windows Media Player Settings Troubleshooter

Windows includes a troubleshooter specifically for WMP. That is the Windows Media Player Settings troubleshooter that fixes WMP settings. So that troubleshooter might be worth noting when the software doesn’t play media files. This is how you can open Windows Media Player Settings.

  • Open Run with the Windows key + R hotkey.
  • Enter ‘msdt.exe -id WindowsMediaPlayerConfigurationDiagnostic’ in Run’s text box, and press the Return key. That will open the troubleshooter shown directly below.

  • Click Advanced and select the Run as administrator option.
  • Press the Next button to go through the troubleshooter.
  • Press the Apply this Fix option to apply a suggested resolution.


For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

— RELATED: The best cross-platform media players to use

5. Restore Windows to a Restore Point

Some users have fixed WMP by rolling Windows back to a restore point. That might remove recently installed software which could have changed audio settings. You can roll Windows back to an earlier time with System Restore as follows.

  • Enter ‘rstrui’ in Run’s Open text box, and click the OK button.
  • Select the Choose a different restore point option on the System Restore window, and click the OK button.

  • Click the Show more restore points check box to fully expand the list of restore points.

  • Select a date that will restore the OS to a time when WMP played all your music and videos.
  • Click the Next button.
  • Then press the Finish button to confirm your selected restore point and roll back Windows.

6. Turn Off Windows Media Player Network Sharing

  • Some WMP users have also confirmed that switching the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service off can fix the media player’s music and video playback. To do that, open the Run accessory.
  • Enter ‘services.msc’ in Run’s text box and click OK to open the window shown directly below.

  • Double-click Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service to open the window in the snapshot directly below.

  • Click the Stop button if the service is running.
  • Then select Disabled from the Startup type drop-down menu.
  • Click the Apply and OK buttons.

— RELATED: Download Kodi Media Player on Windows 10

7. Reinstall Windows Media Player

Reinstalling Windows Media Player is another potential fix for the software’s video and music playback. However, you can’t reinstall WMP in the same way as most other software. Instead, you’ll need to turn the software off and back on again as follows.

  • Right-click the Start button and select Run.
  • Enter ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run, and press the Return key.

  • Then click Turn Windows features on or off on the left of the Control Panel. That will open the window shown directly below.

  • Double-click Media Features to expand that category.
  • Deselect the Windows Media Player check box.

  • A dialog box will then open. Click the Yes button on that dialog box to confirm.

  • Press the OK button to close window.
  • Restart your desktop or laptop.
  • Then open the Windows Features window again, and select Windows Media Player to turn it back on.

8. Play the Videos or Music in VLC Media Player Instead

Ok, this isn’t really a fix for the WMP playback error. However, VLC is a great alternative to Windows Media Player that plays almost all media file formats. VLC is the closest thing to universal media file player there is. So VLC media player will probably play most music and video formats that WMP doesn’t support. It’s a better media player than WMP, so you might as well check it out. Click the Download VLC button on this webpage to add that software to Windows.

Those resolutions will probably fix the “Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file” error for most WMP users. If the error message appears when you try to stream media files, you might also need to check your net connection and that your WMP software is correctly configured for streaming. Also check that you’re not utilizing an outdated Windows Media Player version.

RELATED STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

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