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

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77 Responses to “Windows Media Player: How do I Play Ogg and FLAC Files in WMP?”

  1. October 22, 2008 at 7:43 am, Presence said:

    Help Us All

    Reply

    • April 07, 2010 at 8:16 am, Name said:

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

      Reply

      • August 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

        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.

        Reply

    • February 15, 2011 at 2:38 am, Wellsp said:

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

      Reply

  2. October 31, 2008 at 3:54 am, hans said:

    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.

    Reply

    • February 07, 2009 at 8:37 pm, boattown said:

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

      Reply

    • February 21, 2009 at 8:40 am, Sanjay Shelat said:

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

      Reply

    • February 26, 2009 at 3:04 pm, IT Guy said:

      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.

      Reply

      • June 14, 2009 at 3:55 am, Andrew said:

        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.

        Reply

        • November 17, 2010 at 1:39 am, Rico said:

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

          Reply

      • August 27, 2010 at 3:27 am, iPodmAster said:

        I believe you can do it in rock box

        Reply

    • August 04, 2009 at 9:03 pm, shawnz said:

      WMA has a lossless mode.

      Reply

      • October 31, 2009 at 2:10 am, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

        but WMA is proprietary and nobody uses it

        Reply

        • February 09, 2011 at 8:12 am, VVN said:

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

          Reply

          • February 09, 2011 at 1:08 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

            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.

          • February 09, 2011 at 1:12 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

            what does “boosted” mean?

    • December 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm, Arro said:

      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?

      Reply

  3. November 09, 2008 at 3:59 pm, Minnor said:

    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!

    Reply

    • November 09, 2009 at 3:14 pm, Anonymous said:

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

      Reply

  4. November 10, 2008 at 11:23 pm, Will said:

    Codec works a treat!

    Reply

  5. November 19, 2008 at 1:41 am, VideoGeek said:

    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?

    Reply

    • October 31, 2009 at 2:12 am, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

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

      Reply

      • August 24, 2010 at 8:48 am, Ray said:

        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)..

        Reply

        • August 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

          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!

          Reply

        • February 09, 2011 at 8:15 am, VVN said:

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

          Reply

          • February 09, 2011 at 1:14 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

            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.

  6. November 22, 2008 at 7:09 am, wosscoe said:

    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

    Reply

  7. December 17, 2008 at 4:17 pm, kevin said:

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

    Reply

  8. December 18, 2008 at 3:38 pm, Marc Gibson said:

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

    Reply

  9. February 26, 2009 at 4:31 am, Matt said:

    Thanks!

    Reply

  10. March 22, 2009 at 11:05 am, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  11. April 18, 2009 at 8:18 pm, unnamed said:

    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/

    Reply

    • October 31, 2009 at 2:16 am, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

      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.

      Reply

    • November 09, 2009 at 7:41 am, Shah said:

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

      Reply

      • August 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

        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???

        Reply

        • August 30, 2010 at 2:58 pm, CB said:

          “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………

          Reply

          • August 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm, CB said:

            stupid me: typo’s

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

          • August 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

            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).

        • December 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm, Umeed said:

          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…

          Reply

    • November 09, 2009 at 3:06 pm, Anonymous said:

      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.

      Reply

  12. May 31, 2009 at 11:40 am, yoyo said:

    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 :$ ?

    Reply

  13. June 05, 2009 at 10:55 pm, Aleksandra said:

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

    Reply

  14. June 10, 2009 at 1:05 am, Anonymous said:

    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

    Reply

  15. July 11, 2009 at 6:50 am, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  16. September 18, 2009 at 5:30 am, Anonymous said:

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

    regards,
    Anna

    Reply

  17. September 24, 2009 at 12:36 am, Name said:

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

    Reply

  18. October 06, 2009 at 1:36 am, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  19. October 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm, Jason said:

    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

    Reply

  20. November 10, 2009 at 10:28 pm, Dex Luther said:

    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.

    Reply

    • January 08, 2010 at 11:57 pm, CJ said:

      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.

      Reply

    • July 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm, Nick said:

      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.

      Reply

    • March 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm, Hellbilly Hillraiser said:

      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.

      Reply

  21. November 18, 2009 at 5:54 am, Anonymous said:

    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…

    Reply

    • June 29, 2010 at 7:27 am, ProfessorKelp said:

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

      Reply

  22. December 12, 2009 at 6:11 am, Micky said:

    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.

    Reply

  23. February 10, 2010 at 2:39 am, Connor McBrine-Ellis said:

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

    Reply

  24. May 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm, Dave Burton said:

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

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

    Dave Burton

    Reply

  25. May 28, 2010 at 11:06 am, Bağlama Büyüsü said:

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

    Reply

  26. June 06, 2010 at 9:01 pm, Gary said:

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

    Reply

  27. June 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm, London SEO said:

    yeah cracking! thanks!!!

    Reply

  28. August 21, 2010 at 8:09 pm, Chunky Hunk said:

    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

    Reply

    • August 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm, razzz42 said:

      FLV (video and audio)

      Foobar (audio)

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

      Reply

      • August 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm, CB said:

        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.

        Reply

  29. September 01, 2010 at 9:35 am, Travis Harding said:

    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.

    Reply

  30. September 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm, Iokjjkjjk said:

    thnks

    Reply

  31. October 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm, Matrixmayhem said:

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

    Reply

  32. November 08, 2010 at 4:43 pm, James Zace said:

    Vlc Rocks!!

    Reply

  33. November 08, 2010 at 4:44 pm, James Zace said:

    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.

    Reply

  34. November 11, 2010 at 6:24 am, retsamhsif said:

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

    Reply

  35. December 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm, Info said:

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

    Reply

  36. January 05, 2011 at 5:26 pm, Mimi said:

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

    Reply

  37. March 08, 2011 at 7:53 pm, Mr Knowitall said:

    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.

    Reply

  38. August 15, 2011 at 4:28 am, Dj_jammer said:

    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!!!!

    Reply

  39. August 15, 2011 at 4:36 am, Dj_jammer said:

    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. 

    Reply

  40. June 22, 2012 at 10:53 am, paulaTuk said:

    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

    Reply

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