Fixing Windows Media Player Errors

Although Windows Media Player comes with support for many different types of audio and video files, there are certain formats that it can't play without some modification. A Codec, or a "Compressor-Decompressor", is the software responsible for interpreting your media files so that Windows Media Player can play the files back to you. If you're missing codecs from your computer, you may receive one of the following errors:

Windows Media Player and Codecs

These error codes are all related to your system suffering from missing, corrupted, or incorrect codecs. Your first step should be to reinstall the Microsoft Windows Media Player Codec Installation Package, which is a free download from Microsoft available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/format/codecdownload.aspx. If this does not fix the Windows Media Player error, the file you are attempting to play is not natively recognized by Windows Media Player. This means you will have to use an external codec.

If the file has an AVI extension, it is most likely a DivX file. DivX is an alternative video compression technology, and you can download their free codec pack from http://www.divx.com/divx/windows/codec/. If the files in question are in fact compressed using the DivX file format, you can then choose to use the lightweight DivX player instead of Windows Media Player to circumvent further Windows Media Player errors.

Files ending in OGG are audio files compressed in the OGG or OGG-Vorbis format. Windows Media Player requires an external codec in order to understand and play OGG files. You can download the free codec from http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/oggcodecs_0.69.8924.exe.

MPEG or MPG files are most likely compressed using the MPEG-2 format, which is not natively supported by Windows Media Player. The most common use for this format is on DVDs and DVD rips. A free, alternative video player like VLC Media Player will handle these files without forcing you to install other codecs in to Windows Media Player. You can get VLC Media Player from http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html.

MP3 files are natively supported by Windows Media Player, and thus should not cause any Windows Media Player errors. You can attempt to re-register the MP3 codec by choosing "Start", then "Run", and entering "regsvr32.exe l3codeca.acm" before pressing "OK". You can read further information on this problem at Chris Lanier's blog on Microsoft digital media technologies.

Windows Media Player Generates Unknown Errors, C00D11CD

Unknown errors are perhaps the most frustrating of all Windows Media Player errors. The program gives you absolutely no information with which to attempt to seek a solution for the problem it's encountering before crashing back to the desktop. What does this error mean, and how can you solve it?

As mentioned above, Windows Media Player is integral to many operations in Windows. This means that multiple applications on your system may try to access its functionality at the same time. This can potentially cause problems with the software itself.

Microsoft's own response to the problem isn't very helpful:

"This error usually occurs when another program or operating system component that is used by the Player encounters a problem, but unfortunately, doesn't communicate the nature of the problem to the Player. Because this generic message can be displayed in a wide variety of situations, there is no single solution.

The Windows Media Player team at Microsoft is investigating ways to improve error detection and reporting for problems caused by underlying programs or system components. We will provide more information about what causes these unknown errors in future columns, so keep checking back."

(Taken from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/knowledgecenter/mediaadvice/0093.mspx.)

The best way to circumvent an unknown error is to first terminate all other applications running on your computer when the error is encountered. If this does not resolve the error, ensure that Windows Media Player is fully updated. You can do this by choosing "Help", then "Check for updates". Finally, try using an alternative player, like VLC media player.

Related content: