A DVD decoder is a small piece of software that reads digital videodiscs. Most versions of Windows do not come with one installed, so you need to install it so that so media players within Windows, primarily Windows Media Player, can play the DVDs. Otherwise, Windows Media Player will just give you an error message every time you insert a DVD and try to play it in Windows Media Player.
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Navigate to Microsoft's list of DVD decoders.
Select one of the decoders that you would like to use to play DVDs in Windows Media Player. Click on the link provided and you will be taken to where you can purchase and download the DVD decoder that you have selected.
After purchasing and downloading your selected decoder, you'll be left with an EXE file. Double-click on that EXE file wherever you saved it during the download and you will be presented with on screen instructions to install your decoder. Follow the instructions on each screen, clicking the "Next" button to move on to the next screen of instructions.
Click on the "Finish" button when it appears. This means that you've completed all the instructions to install your decoder except for one. Restart your computer to complete the installation, and when you log back into Windows, you'll be able to watch DVDs in Windows Media Player.
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