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I have started using the RC1 version of windows 7, and I noticed that for playing videos, Windows 7 does not use ffdshow after I installed it. I narrowed down the issue to the fact that Windows 7 prefers to use the new Windows Media Foundation over DirectShow filters if that is available.

The problem that I have is that the H.264 Windows Media Foundation decoder is stuttering for me, and I would prefer using the decoder from ffdshow.

Does anyone know how to "force" Windows 7 to use the DirectShow filter instead of the Windows Media Foundation one?


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What application do you use to play back media? Windows Media Player? – heavyd Jul 16 '09 at 23:27

Here is an article showing how to do what you want to do.

Another option you might want to try is to use a purely DirectShow based media player application like Media Player Classic. I'm not 100% sure it won't use the built in codecs, but its worth a try before screwing up your system.

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DirectShow and Media Foundation are APIs and applications are built against one of the APIs, against both APIs with hardcoded priority or API at user choice/configuration. It is only last case where you might have options to switch between APIs. That is, your way out is to choose the application which you can set up to use specific codec of interest.

The change on Windows 7 you are referring to is a system priority to stock H.264 decoder. While in most cases codecs are fighting one with another for being picked up by registering themselves with higher merits, Windows 7 put a stop to this fight by putting stock decoder unconditionally on top of that.

To add to this, if you are playing with Windows Media Player, it attempt to play with Media Foundation and if only this attempt fails, then there is a second try with DirectShow. So you have to ruin Media Foundation API/components to be unusable to make WMP go to DirectShow for H.264. I certanly don't recommend this, and another more suitable player is the proper alternate option.

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