What to Do if a Video Can’t Play on Windows 10


Have you come across a video that you can’t seem to play on your Windows 10 PC? In some cases an error may appear, while in others it may seem to play but the screen may remain blank. In yet others the audio may actually play but the video will not.

When you encounter a video that you can’t play, there are a few ways that you can fix it.

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Video Can’t Play on Windows 10

How to Fix Video Can’t Play on Windows 10

Method 1: Check and Download the Required Codec

The most common reason why you may not be able to play a video is if your computer doesn’t have the codec for it. To fix that you should:

#1. Check the codec that the video is using. Most media players will let you view the media information, or you could use a third-party tool.


#2. Download the codec by searching for it on Google – but make sure it is the right version (i.e. 32-bit or 64-bit). In some cases it may help to download one of the many codec packs that are available – so you don’t face similar issues in the future with other formats.

#3. Install the codec and try to play the video. If it still doesn’t play there may be some other issue preventing the video from loading properly.

It should be noted that instead of downloading a codec, it may be preferable to convert the video to a format that you know is compatible. For example you could use Movavi Video Converter (https://www.movavi.com/videoconverter/) and convert your video to MP4 with H.264 – which should be compatible with any Windows 10 PC.

Method 2: Reinstall and Update the Drivers

Sometimes your display or graphics card driver may not be functioning properly, in which case some videos may have trouble loading. That can be fixed by reinstalling the driver, and preferably updating it as well.

To reinstall the driver you will need to:

  1. Open the Device Manager by right-clicking the Start Menu and selecting it.
  2. Uninstall the driver by right-clicking on the device under Display Adapters.
  3. Select ‘Scan for hardware changes’ under the Action menu.
  4. Restart the computer after the driver has been installed or when prompted.

After the computer has restarted you should then check to see if there are any new versions of the driver that are available. That can be done by visiting the manufacturer’s website and checking manually, or by using one of the tools to update drivers automatically that are available nowadays.

Method 3: Switch to a Software Decoder

Another option that you could try is to force the media player (or browser) that you’re using to use a software decoder instead of a hardware decoder.

The exact method to do that will vary depending on the media player that you’re using, but it should be somewhere in the settings. Normally it will either let you select whether to use a hardware or software decoder, or enable or disable hardware acceleration – which is essentially the same thing.

Just remember that software decoding is more processor-intensive and will consume more power. As such although this option may work as a short-term fix to watch some videos, in the long term it may end up causing other performance issues.

Final Words

Between the three methods listed above you should be able to find a way to play the video that you had an issue with. However if you still can’t then it may be possible that something is wrong with the video file itself and you should check its source.

Of all the options, the best is to have a video converter of your own available so that you can switch videos you have trouble with to formats that you know are compatible. In the long run it will save you from a lot of hassle, and having to try different methods in the future.

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