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How to Fix Window Media Player "Cannot Play This DVD" Error Message

Isn’t it great that even in our modern computer age with Windows 7 and Windows 8, you can still receive an error message like “Windows Media Player cannot play this DVD because there is a problem with digital copy protection” when you trying to watch Netflix regular on your computer? It’s a shame that something like this doesn’t just “work,” given that people VERY NORMALLY watch DVDs on their computers!

Anyway, it happened to me last night and it took me about 20 minutes to fix the problem, so I thought I’d write how I fixed it! I hope you read this before you thought it was some kind of problem with Windows or your DVD drive, etc., as I have seen some people reinstall Windows or buy a new DVD drive due to this error !

Actually, the problem comes down to the so-called codecs. Codecs are small programs that can decode DVD material. Every time a DVD is created, especially a new one with copyright protection software installed on it, the contents of the DVD are encoded using algorithms into a special format. This encoded data cannot be played back on your computer in normal format, so it must be DECODED on your computer before playing.

You may have heard of DivX, a codec that allows people to compress full-size DVDs to CDs without losing much of the original picture quality. Some software DVD players will automatically download the required codecs for you and hence you won’t have this problem, but for some reason Windows Media Players can’t handle this and pop up with an error message.

If you have a Blu-ray drive and are trying to play Blu-ray disc in Windows Media Player, the same applies. Windows Media Player cannot play Blu-ray Discs like DVDs by default, so you need to install the correct codecs for them to play in Windows Media Player.

You can download all codecs for just about any type of video by going to Free-Codecs.com and downloading the X Codec Pack or K-Lite Codec Pack. You will see both of them listed: one on the first page and one on the second. Just ignore all greyed out items as they are deprecated.

I suggest to go ahead and install the K-Lite Codec Pack 10.xx Full, Standard and Basic on your system if you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8. This codec pack also supports 64-bit, so don’t worry about the 64-bit version of the K-Lite Code Pack as it’s discontinued.

You can install the X Codec Pack for Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well, but K-Lite seems to be the more popular choice, with almost 247 million downloads! If you have enough space on your system, I would recommend installing the complete code package, not the standard or base one. This way, you can play any video file you want without worrying about installing additional codecs later.

As for Blu-ray drives and discs, if Windows Media Player cannot play the disc even with the codecs installed, you may have to try installing something like VLC from VideoLAN In fact, if you don’t mind installing VLC, it might be worth trying to play the disc with VLC before installing the codec pack, because VLC can play many formats without additional software. Also make sure you have a drive that can read Blu-ray discs. Enjoy!

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