Posted by: Jack | July 17, 2007

Windows Media Player 11 With Vista

I, and apparently many others, am encountering a problem with Media Player 11. Basically after installing any one of a long list of unrelated programs, plug-ins for other applications or codecs, Media Player 11 will stop playing certain video file types. When I attempt to play these files it actually crashes Media Player. After lots of frustrating searching for a solution, I found that the current recommendation by Microsoft and most of their distributors is to reinstall. This would seem like a reasonable solution for any buggy program. However, the recommendation is to reinstall Windows, and a fresh install at that. So basically the current solution for a problem with an unavoidable cause is to spend hours taking your system back to the state that it was in before the problem was caused…without implementing any thing that might prevent the error from occurring again.

The unofficial solution that most people are recommending is to download and install the free program, VLC Player. This media player supports nearly every media type that exists and is extremely simple to use. And it’s free! It may not be as flashy as WMP but when it comes to software, functionality should always trump aesthetics.



  1. Way old post, but in the interest of having good information out there:

    Anybody recommending “reinstalling” to fix this would be giving you bad advice, given your problem scenario. Given what you’ve indicated, this is probably a crash in a third party codec. Those barnacle themselves onto the system in a fashion that isn’t affected by player uninstalls/reinstalls.

    As such, the best and correct troubleshooting methods here are:
    A: For a developer or product support, review the crash data for that crash from Event Viewer (or Problem Reports and Solutions control panel). That will probably point out the bogus codec – or if it’s a bug in the player, might point that out. Debugging the DMP file can be useful, but just the crash data often can pinpoint what went wrong how.
    B: For everybody else: for the given scenario, you’re evidently playing video file types. So then the question would be what video files types are affected, and what codecs those use. That would trim down significantly the possible problem areas- and then investigating that relative to what third party codecs/filters were installed may pinpoint the problem.

    I’ve gone out of my way to help fix up a lot of bogus third party codecs/filters/codec packs that were causing problems – this world should be much *better* for users these days. But it remains true that introducing third party plug-ins or codecs that have much less test coverage than Microsoft binaries does tend to introduce weird failures. The Windows 7 player significantly helps with that by handling a lot more in-box by default, but there will always be stuff that’s not handled in-box and as such appropriately and exactly identifying the points of failure and pain is pretty critical.

    Anyways… thus ends this waaaay late relevant response. Cheers!

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