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Download MKV Codec for Windows Media Player to Play MKV Files

"I got error message while playing .mkv file in Windows Media Player, saying 'Windows Media Player cannot play the file. The player might not support the file type or might not support the codec that was used to compress the file.' Is there a codec out there that works and will let me watch this video on Windows?"

Microsoft gives native MKV support on Windows 10. MKV codec for Windows Media Player on Windows 10 has already installed so that theoretically you can play MKV files on Windows 10 without downloading extra MKV codec. However, you may still encounter MKV not playing in WMP issue. Worse still, Windows Media Player on Windows 8.1/8/7 can't play MKV natively. So, we need to download MKV codec for Windows Media Player.

So in this article we will show you where to get MKV codec for Windows Media Player Windows 10/8(.1)/7 to play MKV video files successfully.

Download a Free MKV Player with All MKV Codecs Supported

5KPlayer – this popular 100% free media player is a skilled expert on playing MKV files as well as 8K/4K/HD/SD videos covering H.265, M2TS, AVCHD, VP9, MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV, WebM etc, on Windows 11, 10, 8 (.1), 7 without codecs installed. Free download it now to have a try! [100 Clean and Safe!]

Where to Download MKV Codec for Windows Media Player

Windows 8.1, 8, 7 users often come across problems on playing MKV files using Windows Media Player (12), because MKV is not included in the list of supported file types. Microsoft figures out that additional file formats might be supported if you install new codecs in Windows. But, where to download MKV codec for Windows Media Player?

1. Get MKV codec from Media Player Codec Pack
It is a versatile codec pack for Microsoft Windows Media Player, containing overall modern video/audio file types (MKV included, as well). The latest version 4.5.6 is compatible with 32 & 64 bit Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000, 2008, & 2003.

Open and tap Download button on the homepage to get MKV codec for Windows Media Player 12, 11 & 10.

Get MKV codec from Media Player Codec Pack
Install Media Player Codec Pack

2. Get MKV codec from CCCP (Combined Community Codec Pack)
Originally designed for anime video playback, CCCP now is developed as a simple but all-sided video compression filter for Windows 10, 8, 7, XP and Vista. With the support for various video formats, it is capable of playing MKV animations in Windows Media Player trouble-free. It is suggested to download the newest pack from the official site.

Get MKV codec from Combined Community Codec Pack
Combined Community Codec Pack

3. Get MKV codec from ffdshow
ffdshow is a DirectShow filter and Video for Windows codec based on FFMPEG library, which is mainly used to decode H.264/DivX/Xvid videos as well as supports a wide range of video and audio formats, for example MKV. After installation of ffdshow, the compatible Windows Media Player can automatically use its decoder for playing MKV files. It is available for Windows XP and later systems.

Install MKV codec from ffdshow
Install MKV codec from ffdshow

Download any one of the above mentioned MKV codecs for Windows Media Player. Double click the .exe setup file and follow the steps to install. Afterwards, the MKV video can be played back in Windows Media Player smoothly.

Issues still Occur After Installing MKV Codec for Windows Media Player

If the source file is a 4K HEVC MKV video, jerky/choppy or dropping frames playback probably happen. Both 4K and HEVC require better processor or hardware-based encoder to achieve smooth playback performance.

Additionally, you may find MKV no sound, grainy image, stuttering/lags, black screen or no video when playing MKV on Windows.

What to do now? Two ways. The first is to try a Windows Media Player to play your MKV file, another is to download a MKV converter. Next, we'll recommend two powerful tools for you.

Best Windows Media Player Alternative - Play MKV without Installing Codec Pack

Some people get used to Windows Media Player and would rather download codec pack for playback more WMP incompatible video formats, like MKV, FLV, WebM, VOB, HD camcorder videos (MOD, TOD etc.), while more people turn to other powerful third-party best free media players which are available to play any video formats without MKV or other codecs installed on Windows PC.

5KPlayer is such a perfect video player supporting any 4K/HD/SD video formats, MKV, M2TS, AVCHD, MOD, TOD, MPEG2, VOB, MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV, WebM, M4V etc. as well as audios MP3, WAV, FLAC and more. It is not only a player but a great video downloader to free download videos/audios from Dailymotion, MTV, Metacafe and similar sites (1000+) without original video/audio quality. Bundled no adware, malware and virus, it is no harm to your computer at all.

Best Windows video player with native MKV codec
Best Windows video player with native MKV codec

Convert MKV File to Make It Playable Anywhere!

A qualified video converter can also help you play MKV and other Windows Media Player incompatible formats smoothly without installing codecs. You can use it to convert MKV to MP4 (H.264)/AVI/WMV which are the best video formats for Windows 10/8(.1)/7.

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is such a program. It can convert any MKV file regardless of video/audio codec and resolution. It can utilize Intel, AMD, NVIDIA hardware acceleration to speed up video decoding, processing, and encoding. So, MKV (even 4K HEVC codec) conversion won't take forever to process, no CPU overuse/overheating, laptop lagging issues. And importantly, no visible quality loss.

Free download to have a try. You can convert MKV to Windows Media Player supported format in 3 simple steps: load target MKV -> choose WMP playable format -> hit RUN to start converting.

Convert MKV to Windows Media Player
Convert MKV to Windows Media Player


Q1. Can you play MKV files on Windows Media Player?

It depends. In theory you can play MKV on Windows Media Player when the appropriate codec is installed.

Q2. Why windows media player cannot play MKV?

The main causes could be:

  1. The necessary codec is not provided with your Windows Media Player.
  2. The resolution of your MKV file is too high to open properly.
  3. The MKV file is corrupted.

Q3. How to play MKV files on windows 10/11?

Generally speaking, Windows 10/11 can play MKV natively. But if you fail, try the following solutions:

  1. Install MKV codec on your Windows 10/11.
  2. Download a MKV player, such as 5KPlayer, VLC.
  3. Convert MKV to Windows 10 supported format.

Q4. What codec do I need to play MKV files?

You can download Media Player Codec Pack, CCCP, ffdshow, or K-Lite Codec Pack to help play MKV video files.

External Sources from Wiki:

  • MKV (Matroska Multimedia Container) - an open standard free container format, a file format that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture, or subtitle tracks in one file…
  • Video Codec - an electronic circuit or software that compresses or decompresses digital video, thus converting raw (uncompressed) digital video to a compressed format or vice-versa…


author - Kistent Waung

Kistent Waung twitter icon

Graduated from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, she employs herself in IT related content creation (since 2013) and happens to perfectly combine her major (computer & science) and her gusto (writing). She's seasoned at offering video audio conversion workarounds and always passionate about new trends, from hot HEVC, 4K to the new AV1 codec.

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