Here is the problem: you, or a user at your office, wants to play a movie from a DVD on his/her computer, and calls you because he gets the following error message: “Windows Media Player cannot play the DVD because a compatible DVD decoder is not installed on your computer”.

Or he cannot play a movie in Windows media player and gets the error message: “Codec is missing. Windows Media Player cannot play the file (or cannot play either the audio or video portion of the file) because the codec is not installed on your computer.”

Well, I must be wrong somehow, but I always get the impression that there are many different types of codecs, that there is, in fact, an infinity of codecs available out there, and that you could spend your whole life installing them on your computer without being sure you will be able to see this video your brother is going to send you tomorrow…

I must be wrong…

Anyway, here is what I usually install on client PCs in terms of DVD decoder and codec software, and I never get a call because “Windows Media Player cannot play the DVD”, or “the codec is not installed”. Deep breath…

Windows Media player compatible DVD decoder

Dscaler is a open source software under a GNU GPL license, availabe free of charge for any kind of use, and free of spy ware. You can download it from SourceForge, just click here.

It will install the mpeg2 codec on your computer, which will enable Windows media player to play movies from DVD.

It will also install its own media player, but you can make this transparent to the user by selecting, during the installation process, “Don’t create a program menu folder”, and “don’t create a desktop shortcut”.

Codecs packs

The “Windows XP codec pack” is a good deal, it will install most widely used codecs on your computer, and this should keep out of trouble for most of the time. It comes without spy ware or adware, I tested this.

Download it from here, and pay a visit to

If this is not enough, you can try K-lite codecs pack from

The DivX codec is included in those packs, but you can download it separately from