I have a .wmv file I uploaded to my website. When I click the link to the video, the video plays in Windows Media Player without any problems. However, on some systems when the user clicks the link, Windows Media Player gives them the error:

Window Media Player cannot play the file. The player might not support the file type or might not support the codec that was used to compress the file

All I did was copy the video to the server and store the URL in a database. Why are users getting this error? How can I fix it?


2 Answers 2


Every video format has a certain 'codec' that is needed to play it. A codec is like a key or a set of instructions on how to read that type of video format. MKVs, WMV, M4V, 3p2 (among many others) all have unique codecs. Although you are trying to play a WMV (Windows Media Video File) with Windows Media Player (WMP), it may not have the correct version of the codec or their copy of the codec may be corrupt. Also newer versions of WMP may use an updated codec that older versions do not. Try providing a link to the Windows site for that codec and instructing them to download an updated codec if they see the error.

A good place for more info is here (Microsoft Help Page)

The site to download the WMV codecs is here (Microsoft Download Center)

Note: you will have to go through a short validation step to verify your copy of windows is valid before downloading.

  • 1
    not entirely true. not all videos use codecs, just those that are compressed. CODEC = COmpress + DECompress. But other than that, you are correct.
    – Keltari
    Nov 26, 2013 at 1:59

I ran into the same problem today with a .WMV that I think was created via an old version of LiveMeeting. This WMV in WMP problem is apparently common after upgrading to Windows 10.

I tried a lot of posted solutions with no luck. I gave up and installed VLC. My .WMV file would not play there either, but VLC gave me a better error message. I installed Microsoft Application Screen Decoder (MSA1).


Once I did this, Windows Media Player is now playing my WMV file.

For reference, here is a MS forum thread about the issue with the other solutions I tried first. They may work for you.


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