I have come across a very rare, interesting problem. I need to play video on a computer with Windows XP on which I have no system-wide privileges. I cannot install any software. However, I can run executables, naturally, as long as they stay away from system32 and folders like that. That's why I downloaded Media Player Classic (portable), and there is no problem running it. Nevertheless, I got it to run only to find that the computer doesn't have the codecs needed to play files such as .mp4, .mkv, .avi. Of course it will play .wmv but video files nowadays don't come in that format that often, do they?

So, my problem seems to be solvable only by one of these two alternatives (assuming I don't change the video file itself in any way):

  • A program which already carries the ability to play these formats itself (it would mean the executable carries the codecs)
  • Some sort of portable codecs. Codecs that can be read by the player without having to be actually installed for everyone to use.

I don't know which one of these alternatives is the most likely, but I certainly expect at least one of them to be possible, so as to find the solution to this conundrum.


Try VideoLAN (Client). While the official release is an installer, you can extract it with 7-Zip (available as a portable version), or just get a portable version of VLC. VLC supports most video formats via DLL files in its own folder, so it does not need to rely on codecs installed on the system (though you can configure it to use those instead).


Media Player Classic - Home Cinema also exist as portable and have internal support for a big list of codecs

  • Doesn't the OP already have MPC, its just the codecs are a problem? – TheLQ Feb 15 '12 at 21:33
  • 1
    @TheLQ - Two separate projects – AnonJr Feb 16 '12 at 6:15

You might also consider SMPlayer (basically a front-end on top of MPlayer), which also has a portable version you can download.

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