Wondershare Recoverit

Hard Drive Recovery

  • Recovers deleted or lost files from hard drive effectively, safely and completely.
  • Supports data recovery from 500+ data loss scenarios, including computer crash, partition loss, accidental human error, etc.
  • Supports 1000+ file formats recovery with a high success rate and without any quality loss.
Free Download Free Download Free Download Learn More >
hard drive recovery

What to Do When Windows Media Player Not Playing MP4?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions

Q: "Need help when I try to open an MP4 file in Windows Media player, it says Windows Media player cannot play the file, what can I do?"

mp4 can not play on windows media player

Windows Media Player is the most common program to play both video and audio files, mainly thanks to its interactive user interface, however, commonly the program presents errors that prevent playing some audio and video formats, I've seen so many times people struggling because they need to play their videos but Windows Media Player cannot play their MP4 file, but chill, there is more than one way to solve these problems and I am here to show you how easy it can be.

Part 1: Why Is My MP4 File Not Playing on Windows Media Player?

Q: "How do I fix the error "Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file?"

Several factors can trigger a problem when you want to play a video in Windows Media Player; depending on the nature of the error, there are different ways to proceed to solve it. Below, I will explain the most common causes and their respective solutions.

1. Codec:

Q: "What is a codec?"

Video files are usually very heavy and this can impede sharing them. To solve this problem, there are Codecs, which are responsible for compressing the video and thus converting them into a smaller file. Video players have a library of Decoders, whose function is to process previously compressed files and interpret them while retaining the highest possible quality for the viewer to enjoy the video without even noticing changes in the product.

2. Corrupted File:

Q: "How do video files get corrupted?"

All types of digital files are composed of bytes, this includes videos, and, for this reason, when there is a problem in writing, players interpret these anomalies as a damaged file since it cannot adequately process the information.

3. Permission Problems:

Operating systems offer their users the option to filter access to files, denying or giving specific permission to certain users of the computer, this includes the option to open files. If you do not have permission, you won't be able to open or make any changes to them. Therefore, you must ask the administrator for permission to enable those features.

4. Hardware Problem:

Have you ever noticed any noise coming from your computer? Does the video signal is interrupted from time to time or works slowly, restarts, or displays blue screens of death (BSoD)? These are usually indicators of a malfunction of any of the multiple components of the computer. I will describe some of the most common errors regarding hardware:

Hard Disk: The errors of reading or writing on the hard disk make it impossible for you to open your documents or files (including videos) or they do it very slowly, this usually happens after a long time of using, since, like any component, it has a shelf life.

Solution: You can search a computer component store for a part that is compatible with your computer, for this you will need to find out the model of your Motherboard to know what type of hard drive is right for you.

RAM: RAM problems are usually directly related to the ability of the PC to run and keep open programs stable. It can be due to various problems, such as the malfunction of a module, however, the most common problem is usually the lack of RAM and is quite simple to solve.

Solution: you will have to acquire a new RAM card of greater capacity, for this, you will only need to know the model of your Motherboard since there are different types of RAM and you will need to find out which model is the one that your PC needs, I recommend you ask the advice of your component supplier before making a purchase.

Video Card: Graphics Processing Units (GPU) are the processing units responsible for graphic processes, this includes the reproduction of videos among many other functions. In some cases, processors (CPUs) already include this function as an alternative to the use of a video card, however, if this is not your case, you will have to pay attention to your graphics card as this may be the reason of the issues.

Solution: You must replace the damaged graphics card with a new one but you must consider that there is a wide variety of graphics cards designed for different purposes, there are basic graphics cards, which are affordable and offer enough performance to play videos even on a 4k resolution.

Part 2: What Are the Conditions of Windows Media Player to Play An MP4 Format?

All video files have a format through which information and coding are organized. Video playback applications can play (or not) certain types of files depending on the compatibility with the formats and codecs. Windows Media Player can play a very diverse amount of video formats, including MP4, however, not everything depends on the format but also on the video codecs.

Below, I will describe the features natively supported by Windows Media Player.

  1. Windows Media Player 12 has native support for the MP4 format, for this reason, just make sure you have the correct codecs installed.
  2. Windows Media Player 12 is the most recent and updated version of Windows Media Player, to use this version, we will need to have a version of Windows 7, 8, 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11 installed.
  3. Verify that the format of your file is included in the list of formats supported by default in Windows Media Player 12.

Audio CD DVD-Video WMA (Windows Media Audio) DVD-Audio MP4 WMV (Windows Media Video) MP3 MPG AVI 3GP MOV ACC Xvid DivX

Part 3: How to Play MP4 Files in Windows Media Player?

Q: "How can you play an MP4 file on Windows Media Player?"

In most cases, when you play an MP4 file, it must work correctly, however, there is a possibility of a compatibility issue between Windows Media Player and the file encoding. There are two simple solutions to this problem and I will explain it below.

  1. Install necessary codecs: There are two ways to get the Codecs, the first and most recommended one is to use the native Windows Media Player update tool to keep the codec library always updated. For the second one, we will need to use our web browser and search for the necessary Codecs, which can be found on the Internet in a wide variety of packages, once you've found the most suitable for you, you'll have to download and install them.
  2. Convert videos: A simpler option is to convert the MP4 format to the WMV format, since this is the default format and, therefore, it has full compatibility with Windows Media Player.

Part 4: How to Convert MP4 to Windows Media Player Format?

Q: "What is the best way to convert mp4 to wmv format?"

There are several programs on the internet that can be useful for this task, you must download and install a video format conversion tool, in this case, I will use the UniConverter tool, and then I will explain how to use it, however, you can choose any tool of your choice.

Step 1: Download UniConverter (Converter Tool)

download uniconverter


You can download the UniConverter tool in the link that is written above, which is very easy to use and makes conversions with very high quality.

Step 2: Locate the Installer Tool

Go to the Installer and double click it to begin the installation.

Step 3: Customize Install

install the uniconverter

After opening the installer, a box will appear where you can customize the language preferences, once everything is in order, you will have to click on "Install" to continue.

Step 4: Drag & Drop the File You'll Convert

add the video that you want to convert

When you start the program, you can notice there's a displayed tool to attach files to convert, you can drag and drop them into the picture of the folder or you can just click on "+".

Step 5: Customize the Conversion Features

customize the conversion features

In the "Target" section, click on the dropdown options button. (In this example I set up WMV with its original resolution as target).

Step 6: Locate the Converted File

locate the converted file

Once you have done all the previous steps, the file should be ready, you can find it in the "Converted" section that it's located next to the converting section, then just click on the "folder" icon, this will open the location of the file.

Part 5: Solved: Corrupted MP4 Not Playing in Windows Media Player

Q: "Can I repair a corrupted MP4 video file?"

Occasionally, when you want to open a file, Windows shows a pop-up window that states that the file is damaged or corrupt. This can be due to multiple factors, such as errors in the operating system or a program that is using it and the activation of a virus or malware.

A corrupt file is a complicated problem to solve without the right tools, but there is a reliable and versatile option that will help you to solve this problem, it is Wondershare Repairit video repair software. This tool scans the corrupted files and analyzes the damaged fragments, rebuilding segment by segment the original file with excellent quality results, preserving the original structure and names of the folders; The tool is designed to repair files of various formats, such as MOV, MP4, M2TS, MKV, MTS, 3GP, AVI, and FLV, so it is necessary to keep it in case of any future unexpected problem. Now I will show you how to use it.

Step 1: Quick Repair Mode

add the corrupted mp4 video to repair

Within the Quick Repair mode, drag & drop the videos you want to repair into the box with the video camera icon and then click on "Repair", this will fix any common damage.

Step 2: Advanced Repair Mode

add sample video to start advanced repair

If your video files are severely corrupted, it would be useful to add a sample created from the same device as the corrupted file, this will help the tool to recognize the original format to repair the corrupted file with high accuracy.

Step 3: Set the Features and Video Sample

scan the sample video files

Once you've added the sample video, select the "Advance Repair" option that is located at the right side, here you will be able to mark as "Sample Video" too, after that, click on "Save" to set the features.

Step 4: Click on "Repair"

repair the corrupted mp4 files

Once you have reached this point, you just have to wait, the tool should take a couple of minutes to repair the video.

Step 5: Locate Your Repaired File

save the repaired files

Once the tool has finished the process, your video should be ready, and now you will be able to save it and locate it into the destination folder.


Videos are one of the most essential resources within the medium of communication and thousands of people use this resource for work, educational, or entertainment purposes; for this reason, every day it is more common the creation of new formats and codecs to be created to offer the best quality. Nowadays, one of the most common video formats is MP4, for this reason, it is necessary to know how to solve the multiple problems that can occur when Windows Media Player cannot play an MP4 and thus save us many hours of effort.

Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

Home > Resources > Photo/Video/Audio Solutions > What to Do When Windows Media Player Not Playing MP4?