[Error Solved] Windows Media Player Encountered a Problem While Playing the File

My Windows Media Player shows Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file and this is happening on every video file that I try to play. How can I play these videos with my WMP?

Windows Media Player (WMP) is an inbuilt media player available on Windows. This Microsoft application allows you to play media files and is known as the safest media tool.

However, most users have experienced this error, Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file. While this error can be file specific, it's also likely that it can be caused by a fault in the system. In this post, we will show you some of the proven methods that can fix this error.

Part 1. Diagnose Windows Media Player Errors

WMP is available in all Windows operating systems designed to allow you to open and use video and audio files of different formats. This is a simple application that meets most of your needs, but many users experience some serious errors while using it.

One of these errors is WMP encountered a problem while playing the file. This occurs when you try to open a file and the error prevents you from opening it.

WMP encountered a problem while playing the file error can appear when playing certain video file formats, such as WAV, AVI, and MOV video formats. AVI format works pretty well with most media players but you can encounter this error on WMP. Also, this error can come suddenly despite playing your video files previously.

1. Introduce different causes of the error

As you can see, this error can appear due to various reasons. Knowing the causes of this error can help you fix this problem. The causes of this error can be because of several reasons. These include the following:

  • The WMP doesn't support the video or audio file format.
  • There is a missing or wrong codec.
  • The file is broken or damaged.
  • There was improper conversion or transfer of the video file.
  • Windows operating software is outdated.

Part 2. Solve "Windows Media Player Encountered a Problem While Playing the File"

Once you understand the reason why you are seeing the windows media player encountered a problem error, you can use the various solutions to fix this problem. If you don't know the cause of this error, you don't need to panic because you can use all these solutions one by one and find the one that works for you.

Method 1: Use Windows Media Player Troubleshooter

If you see the WMP encountered a problem while playing the file error, your first option is to use the troubleshooter for Windows Media Player. You can go to the WMP setting and do the following:

1. Simultaneously, press the Windows + R options.

windows media player troubleshooter

2. Then, in the Run dialogue box, type the following: msdt.exe -id WindowsMediaPlayerConfigurationDiagnostic. Now, you can click the OK button to get the Windows Media Player Settings option.

3. In the WMP settings, Click the Advanced and choose the Run as administrator.

4. Click the Next option and click the Apply this Fix to troubleshoot and solve the error problem.

Method 2: Reinstall WMP

If this error message comes because of the problems in the Windows Media Player installation, perhaps reinstalling the application can fix this issue. So take the following steps to reinstall WMP:

1. You can go to the Control Panel and choose the Programs and Features.

reinstall windows media player

2. Click the Turn Windows features on or off option.

3. In the new window, expand the Media Features list. Uncheck the Windows Media Player and click the OK button to confirm.

4. Lastly, restart your computer and go to the Media Features list. Then check the Windows Media Player and play your media files.

Method 3: Download Windows Media Play codecs

Codecs play an important role in compressing and decompressing videos when you play them in Windows Media Player. Therefore, you can encounter various error problems if you're playing a video that doesn't have the supported codec.

If you can play your videos on other media players except on your device, the absence of the right codecs may be the culprit. So take the below steps to resolve the problem:

1. Open your Windows Media Player and select the Tools > Options.

download wmp codecs

2. Click on the Player button. Right under the Player option, you will see the checkbox with Once a day, Once a week, etc.

3. Choose your desired option and click the OK button. This will make sure that the WMP codecs are automatically installed when available.

4. Alternatively, you can download a codec pack for Windows. You see, a codec pack can help you to play most of the video file formats. Some of these codec packs include Shark007X Codec Pack, K-Lite Codec Pack, and X Codec Pack.

Method 4: Convert a video format to another format

The truth is that the Windows Media Player cannot play videos that are not compatible with it. Hence, the Windows Media Player shows encountered a problem while playing the file could be because of an incompatible video or audio file.

convert video to another format

In this case, you need to convert the video file to a different format. You can use any of the available media file converter tools to convert the file to WMV, MP4, MOV, or any other Windows Media Player compatible file formats.

Method 5: Disable the network sharing service on your Windows Media Player

The network sharing service can sometimes cause the WMP encountered a problem while playing the file. Therefore, here is how you can fix this problem:

1. Press the Windows button and R simultaneously to open the Run window. In the dialogue box, type in the "services.msc" and click the OK button.

disable wmp network sharing service

2. Choose and right-click the WMP Network Sharing Service. In the Properties, choose the Disabled option which is under the Startup type.

3. If the service status indicates it's running, consider clicking the Stop button.

Method 6: Do the system restore

This method comes in handy when you recently installed an app on your computer. So here is the deal, if you started experiencing the error after installing a particular app, then try to restore your Windows computer to its previous status.

You can use the Windows System Restore to bring it to its previous working state. The good news is that this method doesn't affect your data on the computer. Below are the steps to restore your Windows:

1. Press the Windows + R keys at the same time and click the Run button.

2. Now, type the following in the dialogue text box, rstrui, and click the OK button.

3. Click the Next button in the system to restore the window.

restoring windows

4. From the list, you can choose a restore point. Click the Next and Finish option. Restart your Windows computer. The videos should now play in your Windows Media Player.

Method 7: Update Windows

If your Windows Media Player supports the media file extension but the extension of that file is not working, perhaps there is a conflict in the system. The best option is to update Windows by taking the following steps:

1. To open the Settings, click on the Start option and click on the gear-like icon.

2. Click on the Update which is in the Updates and Security.

update windows

3. Restart your computer when the update is done.

Method 8: Check for any 3rd party app that can be interfering

The problem with third-party programs is that they can cause various problems, especially when you have just installed them on your computer. So you can remove the interfering programs by taking the following steps:

1. Press the Windows icon + R and write the command control panel. Then click the Enter to get the Control Panel.

2. In the Apps and Features, arrange the programs according to their date of installation.

check for any 3rd party apps

3. Check for any recently installed programs that could be causing the error. Once you identify the programs, uninstall them.

Part 3. Repair Videos Not Playing on Windows Media Player

When none of the above solutions to fix the Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file don't work, don't lose hope. There are good chances that the video or audio file is corrupt. In such cases, your best option is to use a video repair software.

With the help of Wondershare Video Repair software, you can fix a corrupted or damaged video file that is unable to play on your Windows Media Player. Best of all, this tool has a simple interface, making it easy-to-use. Whether you are experiencing blurry or jerky videos, this software can repair your videos so that you can watch them once again in a matter of a few minutes. Some of the unique features this tool has including the following:

  • The tool allows you to repair various video formats, such as MP4, MOV, M4V, FLV, and AVI.
  • You can repair corrupt or damaged videos stored on external devices including flash disks, digital cameras, and mobile devices.
  • The tool gives you a chance to repair videos regardless of their size or length.
  • You can also repair full HD and 4K videos without any hitches.

Wondershare Video Repair software has two repair modes, which are the basic and advanced modes. Both of the modes can help you repair either simple errors or complex errors in your precious videos. The process to repair your videos are shown in the below steps:

Step 1. Add corrupted video

Download the Wondershare Video Repair software and install it on your computer. Then launch the tool, you can add the corrupted or damaged video files on the home screen. There are two ways you can load corrupted videos:

  • Click on the area marked Add video and start repairing.
  • Click on the Add button.

add your wmp encountered a problem video files

Step 2. Repair corrupted videos

When you have loaded the corrupted video(s), you can click on the Repair option to proceed. When the repair is done, a pop-up window will alert you to save and preview the video. Then you can click on the OK button to save.

start fixing video can't play issue

Step 3. Preview the repaired video

To preview the repaired video, you only need to click on the triangle. In this way, you can check if the repair was effective so that you can save it.

preview and save the repaired videos

Step 4. Add sample video (optional)

This method is proper for severely corrupted video files. Firstly, choose the Advanced Repair option. Then click on the folder icon so you can add a sample video to repair. Keep in mind that a sample video refers to a video that was created by the same device and has the same format as the corrupted video.

add a sample video to repair corrupted video

Next, click on the Repair button. Here, you will see the option to save the repaired video before you continue with the advanced repair. The reason for doing this is that the Advanced Repair doesn't automatically save the repaired video. Lastly, depending on your choice, you can click either Yes or No.

Step 5. Save the repaired video

When prompted, choose Save and then select the location path. Ensure that you select a different location from the original one to prevent another corruption.

save videos to any location

Part 4. What You Should Know About Windows Media Player

No doubt that the Windows Media Player is a convenient tool for many Windows users. After all, it's already installed on your Windows computer and has great features. But like all other tools, it's not perfect. You may find out that other video files can't play. Therefore, to avoid such problems, here are some suggestions to help you avoid them:

  • Disable antivirus software. In some cases, the Windows Media Player can fail to play video or audio files because an antivirus software might be interfering with it. Therefore, you should disable the antivirus software temporarily to determine if it's the one causing the problems.
  • Find out if the video file is corrupt. Various factors can cause the video files to be corrupt, such as interruptions during video download. For damaged files, your best option is to use a professional video repair software.
  • Install the right codec pack. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't provide adequate codecs to WMP. For this reason, the media player can only play a few multimedia files. Hence, the only way out is to look for third-party codec packs to make sure that the media player supports all file formats.
  • Make use of the Buffer. Windows Media Player has a buffer that is designed to store media content. Therefore, if you have problems with the internet speed, you can use select the value of the buffer to ensure that content is stored before the beginning of playback.
  • Update the graphic card driver. Windows Media Player can encounter media playback problems because the current driver is outdated or it has one that is generic and not from the manufacturer. As a result, it can fail to support all video formats. Therefore, try to update the driver through Windows or the manufacturer's website.

Closing Words

The usual methods like converting a video file to a compatible format, downloading the right video codec packs, updating your Windows Media Player have been known to help many users solve this error of Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file.

If these methods fail, then your best bet is to use a video repair tool such as Wondershare Video Repair software. You can restore any type of video corruption and play them once again on your Windows Media Player or any other media player.