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Cannot Play a Movie or Audio File

With the enormous and ever-growing number of different media formats out there, being unable to play a certain type of audio or video file is a very common problem. Windows Media Player, for example, does not play a wide variety of audio and video formats. Most other media players also have fairly limited support for the types of files that they can play. If you are encountering such issues, consider the following options to overcome them.

1 - Try a Different Media Player
If you're just relying on Windows Media Player, you'll find that it is unable to play anything other than the most common formats such as MP3 audio or WMV video. The easiest way to try to open your video or audio file is to simply try to open it in another media player. Some popular free media players which you can choose from include Winamp, Foobar2000 and VLC Media Player.
Most media players aren't capable of natively playing all of the audio and video formats out there, but the one which comes closest is VLC Media Player. With VLC, you don't need to download any codec packs and the player can open almost any type of audio or video file.

2 - Try a Codec Pack
Downloading and installing a codec pack is the best option if you want to be able to play any audio and video format in any media player on your computer. If you like to use different media players, you should always install the latest codec pack. Codec is short for "coder-decoder." Each unsupported file format requires a codec in order to work correctly and a codec pack typically alleviates all compatibility-related problems.
Popular free codec packs which support almost every audio and video format include the K-Lite codec pack and the Shark007 codec pack. If you're running a 64-bit version of Windows, you'll need to install both the 32- and the 64-bit version of the codec pack.

3 - Try an Audio/Video Converter
Generally, to enjoy the best experience from an audio or video file, you should stick to playing it in its original format. However, if you want to make an audio or video file more compatible, you may want to convert it to a more common format. This will mean that you'll be able to play the file with more media players and different devices. There are various free audio and video converters available for download on the web.


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