How to Play an MP4 on Windows Media Player

Written by nick davis
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How to Play an MP4 on Windows Media Player
To play MP4 files in Windows Media Player, you must download a special utility file. (Media player vector iconset image by Aleksandr Lukin from Fotolia.com)

Windows Media Player is capable of playing a variety of media files including streaming media, audio files, video files as well as files combining both audio and video data. The player, available on Windows-based systems, cannot directly play Moving Picture Experts Group 4 (MP4) files without loading a special file known as a codec file. The codec file tells Windows Media Player how to load the MP4 file, which combines both audio and video data, and process the video images and audio tracks.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Internet connection
  • Internet browser

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Close any open programs and files. Open your computer's internet browser.

  2. 2

    Click on the "FFDShow MPEG-4 Video Decoder 2010-05-31" link (see Resources) to access the codecs file for playing MP4 files on your Windows 7 or Vista-based system.

  3. 3

    Click on the "Download FFDShow MPEG-4" link. Click on "Download [ FFDShow MPEG-4 Video Decoder 2010-05-24 ]" to download the package. Double-click "Save," "Save As" or "Save All" when the "Opening ffdshow0100524.exe" dialog box appears.

  4. 4

    Open the directory containing the downloaded file. Click on the "ffdshow0100524" file name to run the set-up program.

  5. 5

    Select the language you want the codec pack installed in. Click "OK." Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. Click "Finish" when prompted. The codec package will install automatically within Windows Media Player.

  6. 6

    Click "Start," "All Programs," "Windows Media Player" to open the application. Right-click on the media player's toolbar and select "File," "Open" to navigate to and open the MP4 file you want to play.

  1. 1

    Close any open programs and files. Open your computer's internet browser.

  2. 2

    Click on the "Codec Installation Package" link (see Resources) to download the codecs file for playing MP4 files on your Windows XP system.

  3. 3

    Click "Continue" to validate your computer's version of Windows XP. Click "Continue" under the heading "Run the validation tool."

  4. 4

    Click "Save," "Save As" "Save All" when prompted. Double-click on the downloaded file to run the validation. Click "Copy to Clipboard" when prompted.

  5. 5

    Return to the "Genuine Windows Validation" website. Right-click in the box next to the "Validate" button. Select "Paste." Click "Validate."

  6. 6

    Click "Download." Click "Save," "Save As" or "Save All" when the "Opening "WM9Codecs.exe" box appears. Open the directory containing the downloaded file. Double-click on the "WM9Codecs.exe" file name to run the installation program.

  7. 7

    Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. Click "Start," "All Programs," "Windows Media Player" to open the application. Right-click on the media player's toolbar and select "File," "Open" to navigate to and open the MP4 file you want to play.

Tips and warnings

  • If using an older version of the Windows operating system, click on the "Codec Installation Packages for IT Professionals" link (see Resources) to download the codecs pack for your computer by clicking on the "Download Now" button next to your operating system---Windows 98, ME or 2000.
  • If running Windows 7 or Vista, you can also download a codec package for MP4 files by clicking on the "Windows Vista/7 Codecs" link or "Windows 7 Codecs (100% Free)" link (see Resources) and clicking the "Download" button. Then complete steps 4 through 6 in the "Codec Pack--Windows 7 & Vista" section to complete the installation.

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