Windows Media Player: How do I Play Ogg and FLAC Files in WMP?

   Posted by David Kirk in Windows

Ogg and FLAC are two popular formats that are being used more frequently by music enthusiasts. Unfortunately, WMP does not support these file types by default. To use Ogg and FLAC files in WMP, you will either need to convert them or install the required codecs.

Ogg is an mp3-like compression audio format except that it is open-source and patent free. For these reasons many audio users prefer this format over MP3 files. FLAC is a lossless audio format. This means that the audio is compressed, but there is no loss in quality.

As these formats are competition to other proprietary music storage file types, Windows Media Player (WMP) will not play these files without additional software or conversion. This continues to be true in Windows 7 and Windows 8 releases. To get Ogg and FLAC files supported in WMP, you have two options.

1. Install the codecs. You can download and install the codecs from here:
http://www.xiph.org/quicktime/download.html. The xiph open source community does a wonderful job of supporting both of these audio compression formats. These codecs will enable WMP to play both types of files.

2. Convert the formats. A large number of audio conversion software packages exist for converting these files to WMP, mp3, or anything else that WMP will play natively. Be aware that converting already compressed files (especially ogg files) may degrade their quality. Much of the conversion software will require the above codecs to be installed. Conversion may make sense if you ultimately wanting to share your music with devices such as the iPhone that does not support the FLAC or ogg formats.

Editor’s note: Article refreshed and republished with new links and new information.

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Presence

    Help Us All

    • Name

      Here is my problem, Ive got a movie, the audio is FLAC, video works, audio doesnt….

      • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

        If you’re not using wmp for the library/sharing features, and you are having trouble installing these codecs, then try VLC just as a temporary solution.

    • Wellsp

      I think the main thrust was why won’t Window’s Media Player support the
      FLAC codec natively.

  • hans

    That’s a rediculous advice you’re given.
    Who in his right mind would want to transcode a lossless file to lossy.
    Best advice would be to install a better player than WMP, something like foobar2000.

    • boattown

      You Can Decode Flac files to wave files using flac frontend or TLH(traders little helper). Wave files are decompressed and lossless.

    • http://www.editoptimisation.co.uk Sanjay Shelat

      Thanks man – THIS WORKS just fine. Easy quick install, job done. Good work!

    • IT Guy

      Well I must be out of my mind. I cant stand flamers and that is a ridiculous comment!

      “Who in his right mind would want to transcode a lossless file to lossy.
      Best advice would be to install a better player than WMP, something like foobar2000.”

      Your MP3 player decodes FLAC? And WMP is an excellent player.

      • Andrew

        Both of my MP3 players decode FLAC and OGG (which sounds better at similar bitrates.) His comment was not ridiculous at all. There is no excuse for having a mp3 on your home machine when you could have a FLAC (even if you convert elsewhere), or for WMP for not supporting it.

        • Rico

          A user might just not have the physical space on their Hddrive, FLAC’s are larger files after all….

      • iPodmAster

        I believe you can do it in rock box

    • shawnz

      WMA has a lossless mode.

      • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

        but WMA is proprietary and nobody uses it

        • VVN

          WMA lossless ISN’T LOSSLESS. IT’S COMPRESSED AND BOOSTED> WHY DOES EVERYBODY THINK IT’S LOSSLESS????????

          • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

            it’s called lossless, it sounds lossless (aka. great), and it has a huge bitrate. Sounds pretty lossless to me.

            Why does everyone think it’s lossless? BECAUSE IT IS. Also it has lossless in it’s name.

          • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

            what does “boosted” mean?

    • Arro

      Jeez Hans, take a deep breath pal!
      It is possible to obtain an audio file and want to play it on a system that isn’t FLAC compatible. And very few audio systems offer sufficient fidelity that you would even be able to tell the difference anyway. And then there is the little issue of file size too. Lossless IS just bigger. There are many reasons someone “in their right mind” would want to do this. Unclench a little, man. People need options sometimes without needing others to take it personally. Y’know?

  • Minnor

    foobar2000!!!
    why waste time converting to another format to play it on windows media player? i switched from WMP to foobar months ago, little tweeks here and there, works like a charm!
    once you get used to it, you NEVER ever want to go back to WMP!

    • Anonymous

      What ‘little tweaks’. Sounds like hour wasted to me ….

  • Will

    Codec works a treat!

  • VideoGeek

    There are reasons to use Windows Media, flawed as it may be. For example, my (now broken) mp3 player synced with WMP so I had to use it to put music on there. And if I have to have music on WMP for my mp3, what’s the point in having another program entirely wasting space on my hard drive?

    • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

      WMP is awesome software – it is well laid out and syncs to almost all mediaplayers with the exception of iPods because they suck

      • Ray

        Agreed. Plus WMP12 (or Media Connect) is an excellent streaming server (foobar2000 can also do streaming but does not run as a windows service, so you need to have it open all the time). Library functionality of WMP is also first rate. The only problem with WMP is it’s lack of support for formats like FLAC, having said that, there really isn’t any need for FLAC when there is WMA Lossless (lol)..

        • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

          Yeah, microsoft’s been putting a lot of effort into their streaming and network sharing technologies! I’m loving all of the new features, but I’m finding that to take advantage of ALL of them, i’ll probably have to upgrade a few of my computers to windows 7, but that’s ok.

          I hope ubuntu implements something like that in the future!

        • VVN

          Why—-The—-HELL—-does everyone think WMA lossless is lossless?
          It isn’t. Neither is Apple Lossless…

          • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

            BOTH of those are lossless audio files. HECK they have LOSSLESS in their names! SO STOP SAYING THEY AREN’T! What’s next, are you gunna say FLAC’s not lossless? Grow up.

  • wosscoe

    Installed the codecs as in first option and it all works well. had to change the file association so WMP was default player, but it decodes and plays great. thank mate, good advise.

    dont worry about hans, he sounds abit different,,,, you advise worked……

    seeya

  • kevin

    use mediamonkey, it plays al formats and is free too!!!!

  • Marc Gibson

    zoom player is also free and plays flac files effortlessly (and every other file too)

  • Matt

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks works GR8, easy to install and does what it says on the tin.

  • unnamed

    Why waste time with windows media player when VLC media player can play all file formats and DVDs for free?

    Download here: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

    • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

      I use VLC all the time for my video files because I don’t have TOO many video files, and because I use playlist, but it doesn’t support libraries and WMP has a nice layout and ways to find and enjoy your music more.

    • Shah

      vlc sux when it comes to audio quality, and the whole point of lookin for flac i assume is wanting higher quality.

      • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

        How can something suck when it comes to audio quality???
        Either it plays or it doesn’t!

        I’m pretty sure that audio quality depends completely on hardware, as all the other parts like decoding are digital, so there can’t really be any degradation there.

        But prove me wrong. How could one player have better sound quality that the other???

        • CB

          “I’m pretty sure that audio quality depends completely on hardware, as all the other parts like decoding are digital, so there can’t really be any degradation there.”

          Aaaaiiiiiiiii
          Hardware only?
          Ever thought about compression and codec(s) ?
          Guys you anything you want, just download ffshow and k-lite codecs extra: all works.
          WMP is THE shittiest player around and yes I’m a pro in this area.
          Use Wmp classic + VLC player and you play: with the named codecs packs: everything.
          If you want it on cd for the car: just wave it, that goes pretty lossless to carspeakers.
          But yeah my studio headset says different………

          • CB

            stupid me: typo’s

            “Guys play anything you want, just download ffdshow and k-lite codecs extra: all works, audio+video”

          • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

            yeah, but this is all dependent in where the file COMES from or is created with.

            I use VLC player mainly now and for most of my media library stuff I use Rythmbox (for Ubuntu) or Songbird (based on firefox).

        • Umeed

          i installed a codec for windows to play a flac file, i ahve excellent speakers, and i also felt these songs using a flac player without decoding, there is a hell of a difference mate…

    • Anonymous

      I downloaded vlc to play flac it worked for a while but no plays with no sound even though the volume level is up.

      I have done a google search and I am not the only one with this problem although nobody offers a solution.

  • yoyo

    My mp4 player can’t handle FLAC-files, so I wanna convert them. But that dBpowerAMP doesn’t work, I can only convert .cda, mpg, mpeg, mpa, mpga, mpx, mp1, mp2, m2a, mp3 and wav. Could someone pleas help me :$ ?

  • Aleksandra

    Thank you, WMP with codecs you gave link to, opens .flac files now! Good advice.

  • Anonymous

    when i have a rest, I always enjoy listening to music. Thanks for two guidings. I try to do that. Any suggestions. Give us. Nice days

  • Anonymous

    It worked for me. I can now play ogg & FLAC files with WMP. Many thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you very much!
    I was looking for this for some time=)

    regards,
    Anna

  • Name

    Thanks for the easy & quick instructions! Works great now in WMP.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks ! worked like a charm. (codecs that is)

  • Jason

    If you are using windows 7 64-bit or vista 64-bit you need the updated codecs from here: http://www.xiph.org/dshow/pmwiki.php/Main/Downloads

  • Dex Luther

    The sad truth is that FLAC is a needless waste of space. Most people can’t even hear the difference between a FLAC and MP3 yet they insist on using bloated FLAC files just because people say it’s better.

    Nothing but sheep.

    I keep two files on my MP3 player just to prove this point whenever someone brings up the FLAC topic. Two copies of the same song. One FLAC the other MP3. I play them both for the ‘FLACists’, and most of them can’t even tell the difference. The ones that do just get lucky guessing.

    The truth is that even with an expensive sound system (I have JM Labs speakers just to give you a little idea) there’s no real audible difference. If there is it’s because you’re an idiot listening to 192kbit MP3’s.

    I only get FLAC when there’s no other choice. Otherwise it’s all 320kbit MP3 and there’s absolutely no audible difference at all.

    • CJ

      Just to clarify, since of course a file format can’t put in extra clarity all by itself: your FLAC file was mastered from an analog and non-CD source?

      Since CD audio is only ‘average’ quality for certain types of music, playing a FLAC mastered from a CD vs a 320kbps MP3 from the same source really isn’t a fair test of the format.

      But your point that people “insist on using bloated FLAC files just because people say it’s better” is still accurate, as there’s no disclaimer around FLAC saying it really only gets to shine when taken from a high-quality (non-CD) source, and otherwise 320kbps MP3 should do a similar job with less space, as you say.

    • Nick

      Im listening to Fire On High by ELO. Right now Im listening to a .mp3 version.
      Earlier I was listening to my CD copy .flac Version, And the difference is Really clear.
      The high end sounds clearer and the cymbal crashes dont ring at all.
      And 320kbit mp3 is stupid. Same as 192kbit on my koss lv 20 headphones.

    • Hellbilly Hillraiser

      The point of FLAC is so that when files are traded multiple times they don’t get degraded. Anyone can incode a 96kbit MP3 file as 320kbit but the audio quality is still 96kbit. The FLAC format preserves original adio quality for music traders.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry Dex,

    But you are obviously frustrated by something, either youth or a lack of disk space, but I ask you this? Why would you even bother to bother what other people do? It is not your disk space, and not your time… True, most wont tell the difference, but many can and do… I am an audiophile and have audiophile quality equipment and I can hear the difference clear as day…

    I’m not a sheep (remember, baa-aa-aa means no), I just like to hear the music, and ALL the music, not sound that mimics the music because of the lopped off highs and flooded lows…

    • ProfessorKelp

      Well said. There is a big difference between FLAC and MP3. Especially with classical music.

  • Micky

    The problem with using a codec for flac files to play on WMP is that you still can’t add Flac files to your WMP Library.

  • http://www.mydailytech.com Connor McBrine-Ellis

    If you like firefox, check out the player called SONGBIRD – it has addons like firefox, and is based on the mozilla engine!

  • http://www.burtonsys.com/email/ Dave Burton

    This link (for the codecs) is obsolete:
    http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/

    The current link is:
    http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

    Dave Burton

  • http://www.baglamabuyusu.org Bağlama Büyüsü

    Thanks man – THIS WORKS just fine. Easy quick install, job done. Good work!

  • Gary

    I tried to download the OGG and FLac codecs, but was sent to a page that is blocked.

  • London SEO

    yeah cracking! thanks!!!

  • Chunky Hunk

    What advice can anyone give around the best media player to have on my system?

    I just want a player that will play what WMP won’t

    • razzz42

      FLV (video and audio)

      Foobar (audio)

      Windows Media Classic [download via K-Lite Codec website( video and audio)]

      • CB

        As said above: 100% correct.
        But I dont use windows audio progs so in win its just a vid prog to me.
        Thanks and agreed.

  • Travis Harding

    Honestly i would recommend installing VLC or media player classic, also installing K-lite codec pack http://www.codecguide.com/download_kl.htm. This should help.

  • Iokjjkjjk

    thnks

  • Matrixmayhem

    the most simple solution is download k light mega codec and its smooth sailing from there.

  • http://twitter.com/PanicFreeRadio James Zace

    Vlc Rocks!!

  • http://twitter.com/PanicFreeRadio James Zace

    Ya know… to the people talking about quality. If you have a decent pair of headphones (earbuds suck imo) and a powerful player .flac is much better while VERY close to 320 mp3 using Sony sound forge I could not only hear the difference, I could see the difference. Mp3 and other compressions chop the top and bottom so to speak. But… if im away from my computer and i want to listen to it in my car i just convert it and put it on cd or mp3 player cause lets face it, when im driving im paying more attention to the road than wether or not my music is flawless.

  • retsamhsif

    Thank you Dave Burton, my flacs work with WMP on Windows 7 now!

  • http://www.forexabc.lt Info

    Thankk you Dave, my WMP is also workin on Win 7 just fine

  • Mimi

    Just use K-lite codec pack. It is much better.

  • Mr Knowitall

    Windows Media Player: How do I Play Ogg and FLAC Files in WMP?
    The answer: Who cares.
    There is a ridiculous amount of alternatives to WMP that are infinitely better.
    For audio try: J River Jukebox, Media Monkey, XBMC, Songbird.
    For Video try: VLC, J River Media Center, XBMC, TMT.

  • Dj_jammer

    Let’s get this clear. FLAC is Free Lossless (not entirely) Audio Codec. It has ome loss. Not as much as mp3. FLAC is a compression technique.
    Compression techniques take large files such as wave (.wav) files and reduce the data bits while preserving as much of the audio landscape as possible. It is NOT 100 percent lossless. It is taking a .wav file and compressing it into a container. Notice “as possible” being a key phrase. NOTHING is 100 percent lossless!!!!

  • Dj_jammer

    one thing to add….linear pcm is also .wav. linear pcm is standard wave format. In which goes into FLAC container. 

    Everyone has different sets of ears. Taste is all that matters. No sense in flaming. 

  • paulaTuk

    Hi folks- very interesting read… have problem… i have downloaded VLC .flac files… i prefer wma formats as its more compatible with my players in home and car… i dont know how to get to play VLC .flac files in wma format… tried the link you gave the first one with to allow me the codecs and the page wont come up… can anyone help me? perhaps recommend somewhere i can get the codecs or converter tolls without downloading a bunch of viruses and spyware. cheers folks