Fix Windows Media Player Not Playing MP4 [Solved]

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Playing MP4 videos on Windows Media Player should be straightforward, but it can sometimes be challenging. If you don’t have the necessary codecs or software, you may encounter issues such as Windows Media Player refusing to play certain MP4 videos or displaying error messages that prevent playback. To resolve these problems, please read the complete article, which provides solutions for fixing unplayable MP4 video files on Windows Media Player.

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Windows Media Player has been around for a long time and remains a popular choice among users. While it supports various media file formats, including MP4 files, there are many instances where it might display a "can't play MP4" error. However, with the help of relevant solutions, you can resolve the issue and play .mp4 files on Windows Media Player.

Why My MP4 File Doesn’t Play in Windows Media Player?

Missing CodecWindows Media Player relies on codecs to play media files like MP4, MOV, or AVI. If the necessary codec is missing or incompatible, MP4 playback issues can arise. So it is necessary to know the codec of your videos.
Broken MP4 filesIf the MP4 file you are trying to play is incomplete, you might encounter issues playing it on Windows Media Player. Interruptions while downloading MP4 can result in playback problems.
MP4 Video CorruptionIf your MP4 video file is corrupt or damaged due to malware infection, a faulty storage device, or other factors, then it cannot be played on Windows Media Player.
File transfer errorsInterruptions while transferring videos from your camera to your Windows operating system can cause damage to the MP4 files.

How Do I get Windows Media Player to Play MP4 videos?

Method 1: Install the Codecs

Before Installing the latest version, check for the latest updates using Automatic Updates. It will download and install codecs for Windows. Follow the below steps to install the Windows update.

A) Open Control panel

B) Select Windows Update

Select Troubleshooting

That’s it you will be able to install or update new/required codec

To Install the Required Codecs in WMP for Your MP4 Files:

  • Launch Windows Media Player, go to Tools, and select Options
  • Under the Player tab, choose Download codecs automatically and hit OK
  • Play the MP4 file, click the Install button when you are asked to install the codec

Method 2: Convert MP4 Videos Using Windows Media Player

If you were not able to find the right Codecs to play your Mp4 files on WMP, then you have another option to make it work by converting the MP4 video file format to Windows Media Player compatible file.

You can simply use the VLC media player to convert the video file to any video file format that WMP supports for free.

Convert MP4 files to Windows Media Player supportive file formats using the below steps.

Note: Try these steps on a copy of your MP4 video file.

  • Open your MP4 file in Windows Media Player, click on Organize and select Options
Open windows media player to fix Mp4 not playing on windows media player
  • Switch to the Rip Music section, click on the Change button, and mention the destination location to save the converted video file
Select Organize to fix mp4 not playing windows media player
  • In Rip settings, under Format, select MP3 and hit the OK button

Now, you can play the converted MP4 video file in Windows Media Player without any hustle.

Method 3: Run the Troubleshooter

To resolve .mp4 videos not playing in Windows Media Player, you can run Troubleshooter. Windows 10/11 comes with a troubleshooter that can check the configuration and network settings that might be preventing the MP4 video files or movies from playing on Windows Media Player.

Steps to run the troubleshooter:

  • Open Windows Setting by pressing on Windows + I keys.
  • Click on the Update & Security option and click on Troubleshoot from the left column.
Troubleshoot to fix MP4 not playing windows media player
  • Search for Video Playback and click on it.
video playback
  • Select Run the troubleshooter.

If you get the message saying that no changes or updates were necessary, move to the next method below.

Method 4: Turn Off DirectX Video Acceleration For WMV Files

  • Open Windows Media Player.
  • Click on Organize button and select Options.
  • Click on the Performace tab and disable Turn on DirectX Video Acceleration for WMV files.
  • Click on Apply and select OK to save changes.
  • Restart the Windows Media Player.

Method 5: Fix Windows Media Player Not Playing MP4 Using VLC

If certain MP4 files remain unplayable, consider converting them to a different format supported by Windows Media Player, such as AVI or WMV to fix issues like MP4 not playing on Windows.

There are many free video conversion tools available one such free tool is VLC. Here are the steps:

  • Open VLC Media Player.
  • Click on Media in the menu and select Convert / Save.
  • In the File tab, click Add to choose the MP4 file.
  • Click on the Convert / Save button at the bottom.
  • Select the output format (e.g., AVI or WMV), choose the destination folder, and click Start to begin the conversion.

Method 6: Play MP4 Videos on Other Media Players

If you were not able to download the codecs or convert your .mp4 video file to make it compatible with Windows Media Player, then you can simply make use of other media players that are available for free. VLC is one such media player that will allow you to play videos of various file formats.

If your MP4 file fails to play on the VLC player, it can be your video file at fault, not the media player.

If still you are not able to fix the issue, then there is a chance that your MP4 file might be corrupted. Corruption is one of the reasons for MP4 not playing on a Windows media player. You can repair the corrupted video by making use of Remo video repair software.


Encountering issues with Windows Media Player's inability to play MP4 files can be frustrating. However, by understanding the possible reasons behind the problem and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can resolve the playback issues and enjoy your favorite videos without any hindrance.

About the Author: Molly Owen

Molly is the Lead Technical Specialist with distinguished knowledge and understanding of Mac computers and operating systems. Being a veteran photographer and video recovery specialist, Molly’s expertise in video formats and file repair has helped restore a lot of videos and cherished memories of users. As a technical specialist, she also believes in learning and…