Media Player in Vista and Codec Hell

I have installed Vista Ultimate, and I have been unsuccessfully trying to get a whole bunch of older video files playing on Windows Media player lately. I have to say the general codec support that comes shipped is pretty poor. At least 75% of my files cannot be played. You might be saying, just go download the codec’s. Well thats often easier said than done, particularly when it comes to the .ASF format. I have a small video camera that uses the .ASF format, and the software that comes with it, that I assume installs the ASF drivers, if ofcourse incompatible with Vista. Trying to find an ASF codec to use is pretty damn hard and I have had no luck thus far.

In fact, I have wasted a few days on searching for something (no not solid searching but on and off). At any rate, I have come to the conclusion that its pretty much a waste of my time.

A better use of your time would be a 5 minute download and install of the DivX player. You install it, and IJW (It just works), ASF format included.

Goodbye media player.




  • You can install K-Lite Codec Pack (use google to find a download link) to solve the "Codec Hell" problem :)

  • Hi Glav,

    The DivX codecs can actually be used by Media Player, the DivX player just sits on top of the DirectX pipeline for playing videos.

    Interestingly ASF is actually a Microsoft streaming format so I would have thought it would have pretty good support.

  • Hi Glav,

    Yeah but I gotta be honest: With XP I often needed to install unsigned drivers for various codecs and I kind of just prayed there was no spyware included.......

    I will be much more careful with my current Vista RTM install and anything like this I would only do in a dual boot or virtual machine environment.

    Microsoft really needs to come up with a "Managed CODEC" model where they can use code access security and a completely managed DLL for the codec. I would have no problem downloading ramdon codes under that scenario.

  • I have always installed on the fresh system set of codecs "K-Lite Codec Pack" and did not have any problems with the reproduction of any media files.

  • Will the Vista Codec Pack 4.2.8 or the K-Lite Codec Pack" also solve the audio codec problem?

  • Thanks Jason and Penny, I'll give them a try.

  • K, I have installed the vista codec pack, and the k-lite codec pack and am still having major troubles with any type of streaming video. They will play but are always skipping/pausing every 5 seconds or so.... I've also updated my video card drivers (ATI 256mb, with the vista catalyst package)... Its driving me crazy.

  • N4cer knows what he's talking about. ASF is just a container. Sounds like you just needed an MPEG-4 part 2 (ASP) decoder. The best one on Windows is ffdshow-tryouts, a fork of the now abandoned ffdshow. And for the love of God, don't install any codec packs. Only install what you need.

  • I'm having the same problem as well as a problem getting the firefox windows media player plugin to install correctly.
    Downloaded vlc player and a lot of files have audio but no video. Downloaded media player classic and some of the files just hang and don't run.
    have installed ffdshow still no help.
    everything works in xp but vista is having problems.

  • I just stumbled across the damndest thing. I was have the same problem with .asf and WMP. However, put an .asf in a folder with a couple of pictures. Double-Click a picture opening it with Vista's native .jpg view. Scroll through the pics with the > arrow and look.....the photo gallery will play a .asf!!!!!! wtf???????

  • WMP doesn't play .asf (I'm having the same problem. But the built-in picture viewer does. Put it in a folder with pics and skip to it.

  • so has anybody came to some sort of conclusion to what needs to be done on how to get videos working correctly again?

  • I still can't hear my asf file videos. ugh. help?

  • Yes! This (K-Lite Codec Pack) was the one that finally did it and allowed me to restore viewing for dozens of old captures from a Win XP machine.

  • Vista Home Premium Medial player does not play certain files, some only audio and sometimes video but no audio. Have downloaded Vista codec pack 4.2.8 and K-Lite. Now a couple of videos play and a few have stopped playing.
    Vista can list all the codecs installed. Is there a similar list so I can compare and see what's missing rather than using codec packs that have not done any good.?

  • I have installed k-lite to play an .mkv file (it lags horribly in VLC) and it fixed my media player issue on Vista. However, I have reinstall it every time I reboot it get it to work. Wtf is up with that? It's annoying as hell. And it only works when I choose not to include ffdshow. ffdshow seems to crash the player horribly.

  • We should all take up knitting or cooking or checkers....found the K-Lite pkg to be worth having.

  • Slightly jerky on bought dvd's as well as hard drive playback.It's a new laptop with Vista (not impressed).I never had this problem with my old laptop (XP).Any ideas?

  • in vista click into windows media player go to top and right click choose more options, choose device, shoose speaker make sure it shows your sound card system if not you fix it here, this solves most WMP not playing because of codecs. I still dont understand why microsoft would mess up a system for hollywood to make people want a apple computer even if in 25 to 30 years they trusted and loved microsoft products. Vista not for the people but made for hollywood and others to have controll of your computer i should learn linux.

  • Im having the same issues. I downloaded the lite pack but didnt understand how to get it to work! Any soloutions?

  • I use VLC nowadays. Much better for codecs, as it can play close to anything that is a video or sound file. Google it, download it, and enjoy.

  • pingback from codec for vista ultimate

  • Can't believe nobody mentioned the quick and easy solution for playing .ASF files in Vista. RENAME IT! If you change the extension from .ASF to .ASX they work just fine in Media Player. I had the same problem with my camera but Aiptek shows the workaround on their website.

  • Buy Vista and spend hours trying fix this crap software. Have the same problem, with all fixes so far failing. Downloading new video player and uninstalling Window media player. Just the tip of the iceberg. Spent hours trying to customise Vista. Like takes minutes to do the samething in XP. Why has Microsoft REMOVED the most useful customerisation features IN VISTA.

  • I just recently installed shark codec 5.4.8 to my sony netbook to play some movies. In VLC player all video formats wont play continuously. It stops intermittently. While in Windows Media Player, video works perfectly but the audio is not. You can hear background sound but the conversation/dialogue is not audible. I really appreciate somebody that could help me on this. Many thanks!

  • Could somebody please help me how to make my WMP plays movies in all formats with audible dialogue?
    I installed just recently the shark codec 4.5.8 in my netbook. The video works perfectly but the audio does not.

  • You are not right. Let's discuss. Write to me in PM.

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