Troubleshoot “Windows Media Player Encountered a Problem while Playing the File” Issue

Summary: Windows Media Player is a video playback application built-in to your Windows operating system. You may find the issue “Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file” when playing a video. Below we discuss the issue in detail and provide you with solutions to play your video with simple steps.

Content Table:

Reasons for “Windows Media Player Encountered a Problem while Playing the File”

If you get an error pop-up when playing a video with the message “Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file,” this can be due to multiple reasons. We have given some of the common ones below,

  • The player does not support the video format.
  • Necessary codecs are corrupted or missing.
  • Media Player is outdated.
  • Conflict with the recent update.
  • Incomplete transfer of the file.
  • Video downloaded from an unreliable source.
  • The video file is corrupted.

Methods to Solve the Error “Windows Media Player Encountered a Problem while Playing the File”

Above we have seen some of the common reasons for facing the issue of Windows Media Player encountering a problem while playing the file. You can use many methods to solve the problem, but not all give you desired results. That is why we have curated some of the easy and reliable solutions below.

Method 1: Troubleshoot with Windows Media Player Settings

The easiest way to fix encountered the problem while playing the file issue is to run troubleshooting for the media player. Microsoft has provided a troubleshooter built-in the system as well, please follow the steps below,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run

  • Now type msdt.exe -id WindowsMediaPlayerConfigurationDiagnostic then press Enter.
  • In the Windows Media Player Settings window, click on Advanced then on Run as administrator.

  • Now click on Next and wait for the scan to complete.
  • Click on Apply this fix to fix the issues find.

  • Now verify the issue is resolved.

Method 2: Update Windows Media Player

Most of the issues in an application happen when you ignore the necessary updates for it. Similarly for the Windows Media Player as well, if it is outdated there are issues start to come up. Below are the steps to update the application,

  • Open the Windows Media Player and click on Help at the top of the screen.

  • Now click on Check for updates, this will take you to the Windows update
  • Now click on Check for updates to find available updates.

  • If any updates are found, click on Download and Install and restart when prompted.
  • Once the update completes, open the application, and verify the resolution of the problem.

Method 3: Download Necessary Windows Media Player Codecs

Another reason for now able to play a video is due to the necessary codecs are missing in the player. You can easily solve this problem by downloading and installing the codecs. You can follow the steps below to install the necessary codec,

  • Open Windows Media Player and click on Tools at the top.
  • In the Options window, click on the Player
  • In the Automatic updates section, select a Check for update

Note: You can set the Check for update period as Once a day, Once a week, or Once a Month.

  • Click on Apply and OK then restart the player.

If you cannot do the above steps, you can manually download codecs such as H.265 (HEVC), VP9, AAC, DTS, and others, or codec packs like K-lite codec pack, Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP), and other.

Method 4: Update Device Drivers

Device Drivers are the interpreter for the operating system and hardware of the system. So, an outdated driver fails to do its job properly and causes issues. You can update the drivers with the following steps,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run

  • Now type devmgmt.msc and press Enter.
  • In the Device Manager, find Sound, Video, and Game Controller and Expand

  • From the available device drivers right click on each and click on Update driver.
  • In the Update Drivers window, click on Search automatically for drivers.

  • And wait for the search to complete, if found update then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Once completed, open the media player, and check if the issue persists.

Method 5: Try Playing in Different Media Players

If any of the above solutions repair the Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file issue, it might be because it does not support the format. You can find different media players which can play the format. There are multiple options such as VLC media player, Winamp, QuickTime player, Windows media player, and others.

Method 6: Try Re-Download Video File

If you have downloaded the file from an unreliable source or lost connection while transferring, the file may have been corrupted. An easy solution for this is to download the file again from a reliable source. Please make sure to have no connection issues while downloading the video again.

You can try the below solutions to repair the corrupted video files as well.

Method 7: Convert Video to Different Format

File conversion can be a solution when there are some corruptions or when your system does not support the current format. You can find many conversion tools on the web. But you can also use a VLC media player as well if you already installed it. Follow the instructions below to convert video format using the VLC media player,

  • Open the VLC media player and click on Media.
  • Now click on Convert / Save from the list.
  • In the Open Media window, click on the File tab and then on Add.
  • Select the corrupted video file and click on Open.

  • Now click on the Convert / Save
  • In the Convert window, select the Profile from the given options.

  • Provide a location to save the file and click on the Start
  • Wait for the conversion to complete, once done try playing the file.

Method 8: Repair the Corrupted Video Files

If you do not the find desired result with conversion, then you can use a repair tool to fix the corrupt video file. SFWare Video Repair Tool is a user-friendly software to manage various video file issues in multiple video formats.

Steps to Use SFWare Video Repair Tool

Download and install the SFWare Video Repair Tool then follow the instructions to repair corrupt video files.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

  • Open the software and click on the Select file button on the main screen.

  • Select your corrupted video file and click on Open.
  • If prompted click on Choose Reference MOV file
  • Now select a healthy file to function as a reference for the tool.

  • Now click on the Repair button and wait for the process to complete.
  • Once repaired you can preview the file.

  • If the result is satisfactory, then click on the Save

Method 9: Perform System Restore

If Windows Media Player played the video properly before and now you are facing encountering a problem while playing the file, this can be due to some changes you made recently. Here you can use System Restore to go back to the last working state of the system. Follow the steps below to use System Restore,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run

  • Now type rstrui and press Enter.
  • In the System Restore window, click on Next.

  • Select a restore point from the list and click on Next then Finish.
  • Restart the system to complete the process.


We have discussed the Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file in detail with this blog post. We have provided some easy and successful solutions for the issue. Let us know how you find these methods in your search for solutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *