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How can I find which codec an AVI file needs? A method that does not require downloading a program would be preferred (such as looking at the file in notepad).

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

Open in notepad, do a search for 'vids' - the FOURCC is right after that. Eg you'll find something like:


Then google for 'fourcc WMV1' in this example.

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Interesting solution, didn't know about this. +1 – Sasha Chedygov Aug 17 '09 at 23:17
Woo hoo! I got an accepted answer! That never happens! – Chris Aug 18 '09 at 4:14

This is a very simple process and can be done using the GSpot Codec Information Tool. Just download the program and install it. Now go into your Start Menu and open the program.

  1. Select File | Open and select your AVI file
  2. Look for the FourCC code for the file's Video Codec

  3. Visit the FourCC website and find out who develops that codec

  4. You can now go to that developers website to download your codec. You can also visit the Codec section of wmplugins.

Note: Do not download anything labeled as a "Codec Pack" or from the links at the top of the FourCC website. This will help you stay out of trouble when playing your files.

VLC has support for Divx and 3ivx built in for all platforms.

Source :

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I think he would prefer a method that does not require downloading a program. – hyperslug Aug 17 '09 at 0:13
GSpot is <200KB and doesn't require installation. Downloading and running it will probably be faster than trying to load a video file on Notepad. – Badaro Aug 17 '09 at 0:47
+1 for Gspot, it works great – Ivo Flipse Aug 17 '09 at 6:36
A good answer, but it wasn't the answer I was looking for. – C. Ross Aug 17 '09 at 12:48
@Badaro agreed that GSpot is the best. I have a small folder named "Other Programs" on my E:\ secondary HDD just for storing programs like these. very quick solution and it works for all AVI formats – Jake Rocheleau Oct 14 '12 at 16:44

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