I have Windows 8.1 Pro N version installed, which comes without Windows Media Player and 'media features'. This includes no support for *.wma files. I have been looking for a way to install codec for wma files, but all I found is to install whiole Windows Media Feature Pack, which is not what I expected when I was installing N version.

The only codecs available on Microsoft downloads webpages are for windows xp and lower.

I have already installed K-Lite Codeck Pack (Basic), wma still doesn't work.

Is there any way to play wma files on Windows N without installing whole Media Feature Pack?


You could download and install just the Windows Media Player, as it is free.

You could download and use a third party player like Foobar which would allow you to play virtually any common lossy or lossless audio format. And is also free.

Have you also gone in and checked your file associations to determine if the file format is non-associated with a program that could play it?


  1. Search Windows for 'file associations'

  2. Click the choice that says 'Change the file type associated with a file extension' or similar

  3. Find your file type

  4. Click 'Change programs...'

  5. Determine if there are any media players on your computer that are actually capable of playing the file format. Usually very visible.


Per a discussion on the Foobar Forums, in order for Foobar to play .wma files, it does so by accessing the windows API (Application Programming Interface). If WMP or the Windows Media Format Runtime isn't installed, then it doesn't have the means to translate the file format. This is a contradiction of the Foobar Wiki, under supported formats, which says it can play .wma natively.

A workaround is the option of trying to install an older version of the WMP software by using Compatibility Mode to install it in Windows 8.1. This would provide the media formats for Foobar to reference, without having to install all of the extraneous material from the Windows Media Feature Pack.

Other options would be using other media players like Media Player Classic, which wasyl has already found will support the format.

Also, as suggested by Ramhound, using the media player VLC.

  • My point was to not install WMP - it bundles with lots of stuff I don't want (download webpage instructs to install Media Feature Pack I mentioned before). I don't want neither WMP nor "Media sharing and Play To", ActiveX controls or anything. I just want WMA codecs. – wasyl May 26 '14 at 14:56
  • But I have now opened wma file in Media Player Classic (I swapped K-Lite Basic for Standard) and it does play! While foobar/aimp don't recognize it (foobar console states that "WMA support requires Windows Media runtime libraries installed"). I was under impression that no program is able to play it. So now to enable wma in foobar... – wasyl May 26 '14 at 14:58
  • Apologies for the WMP. I don't use it and was still under the impression that Microsoft still let you download just the program. – tk1974 May 26 '14 at 15:13
  • @wasyl There are two possibilities that I can think of for Foobar. 1. See if you can install an older version of WMP with just the player that doesn't have all of the extra garbage. Then you can use Foobar to convert the files. 2. See if installing just the codecs for Windows Media Codecs from the following works: microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=507. – tk1974 May 26 '14 at 15:46
  • Unfortunately previous versions of WMP as well as codecs from link you provided are for windows xp/vista/etc and refuse to install on Windows 8.1 – wasyl May 26 '14 at 19:11

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