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Movie Files Will Not Play (aka Codec Problems)

Divx, xvid, mpeg — these are just some of the video codecs that exist. This tech-recipe gives a little insight in how to debug codec problems.

Downloading video files is easy these days; viewing these files often is difficult. The video files can be formatted in several different codecs and if the user doesn’t have these codecs installed, the video will not run correctly. Not only is the right codec or codecs required, but often the correct version is needed as well.

What a pain!

So if you get a file that doesn’t play correctly, what should you do?

First of all, download GSpot. After it is installed, load the video file into GSpot:
1. Click on File menu
2. Click on Open
3. Browse to and click on the video file.
(Alternatively, you can just open GSpot and click/drag the file onto the open GSpot program)

The program will tell you what codecs are needed to play the file and if you have the correct codecs installed. If you don’t have them, you can either google for the needed codec or go to a page like codec-central in order to find the codecs you need.

GSpot is also nice for telling you which codecs are installed on your system and if all the required files for that codec are there:
1. Click on View
2. Click on Installed Codecs
3. Click on audio or video

Broken codecs are marked in red. Uninstall and reinstall the latest version if any of the codecs you need are broken.

David Kirk
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.


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