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Missing Codec: Issue of "to Play This Video You Need a Codec" & How to Fix

More often than not, you might encounter missing codec issues when playing a video with a media player. There will be various notifications and the most widely seen one is "to play this video you need a codec." So why is there a missing codec? How to fix the missing codec issue and play the video you want? In this article, you will find all the possible causes of the issue and solutions that work! Just keep reading!

Part 1: What does Missing Codec Mean?

Before looking into the causes of the issue of "to play this video you need a codec," let's take a look at the issue first. So what does missing codec mean? Missing codec generally refers to a playback error, in which codecs for supporting the video playback are missing. The error might also pop up when you can't play MPG files on Windows. Normally, you might get notifications as follows:

  • to play this video you need a new codec
  • you're missing codec pack to play this movie
  • codec is missing from your device

All video files are encoded with audio and video codecs. If any of these codes go missing or are not compatible with the file, then the file can't be opened or played. When you play videos with Windows Media Player, one of the normal error codes you might get is 0xc00d5212, which suggests there are missing codecs. So why are there missing codecs? What can you do to fix the issue? Just check out the next parts.

Part 2: Why is There Missing Codec

When you encounter the issue of "to play this video you need a codec," there might be many reasons responsible for that. To save you time and effort, we have concluded all the possible causes, just check them out.

1.Corrupted Video Files

The video file might be corrupted or damaged, which leads to the playback error. Your video find could be broken when you download it or get damaged when it is copied from external devices.

2.Incorrect Codecs

Another reason why you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification is incorrect codecs. Specifically, if the media player is not compatible with the device you compress/decompress the file, there will be a clash that leads to this playback error.

3.File Format Not Supported

Sometimes the video file is simply not supported on your media player or devices. Either because the video format is a rarely seen one or the media player you use is not that comprehensive.

4.Outdated Display Drivers

If you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification when you try to play MP4 on Chromebook, it is better to check if your display driver is outdated. It is one of the main causes that might result in the playback error.

5.Installed Multiple Audio Drivers

If you have installed multiple audio drivers, they might cause playback errors as well. Each driver operates uniquely, and the differences between them might cause clashes and errors of all sorts.

6.System Files Issues

Damages to your system files can also be the reason that you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification. Your system files might get corrupted due to incomplete uninstallation/installation, improper system shutdown, viruses, malware, etc.

Part 3: How Do I Know What Codec is Missing?

Now you know the reasons why you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification. So how do you know what codec is missing? Generally, there isn't a way to find out the codec to compress a file for sure, but there are still a few things you can do to identify missing codecs:

  • 1.Play the video with a media player. Right-click on the file in the library and go to Properties > File, and you can find the audio codec and video codec sections here.
  • 2.You can use non-Microsoft codec identification tools, for instance, MediaInfo, FFprobe, etc. to check the codec information.

Part 4: How to Fix Issue of "to Play This Video You Need a Codec"?

The previous parts have introduced all possible reasons for the "to play this video you need a codec" issue, it's time to see how to fix it. In this part, you will find common fixes that 100% work, just read on.

1.Install Missing Codec

You can easily solve the issue by installing missing codecs on Windows Media Player, here's how.

Step 1: Open your Windows Media Player and go to Tools > Options.

Step 2: Click on the "Player" tab and select the update frequency under " Automatic updates." Click "OK" to finish.

Step 3: Right-click on your video file and open it with Windows Media Player. Select "Install" in the prompt and you can make the missing codec download easily.

2.Update Display Drivers

If you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification due to outdated display drivers, just follow the steps below to update your drivers.

Step 1: In the search box on the taskbar, search for "Device Manager."

Step 2: Select the "Display adapters" category to see your display drivers.

Step 3: Right-click on the graphic card and select "Update Driver Software" to finish.

3.Uninstall & Install Display Drivers

You can also try to fix the issue by uninstalling and installing display drivers. Here are the specific steps.

Step 1: Right-click on the display adapter. Select "Uninstall" and tick the option of "Delete the driver software for this device" to remove the driver.

Step 2: Download the display driver from the manufacturer's website.

Step 3: Install the driver and play the video again.

4.Uninstall Audio Drivers

Uninstalling extra audio drivers sometimes can be a quick fix to the issue of "to play this video you need a codec." Here's how.

Step 1: Go to Task Manager and click on "Sound, video and game controllers" to expand it.

Step 2: Right-click on one of the installed audio drivers and select "Uninstall."

Step 3: Restart your PC and play the video again.

5.Update Operating Systems

If the "to play this video you need a codec" issue is caused by registry errors or temporary glitches, you can update your operating systems to fix it. Here's how to update Windows easily.

Step 1: Press the "Windows + I" keys and go to Windows Settings.

Step 2: Go to Update & Security > Check for Updates.

Step 3: Update Windows OS if possible.

Alternative Solution 1: Play with Almighty Player

Apart from the common fixes above, here comes one of the simplest solutions, that is, play the video with Leawo Blu-ray Player. With advanced encoding and decoding capabilities, Leawo Blu-ray Player allows you to play any video file without hassles and you can enjoy the best video quality possible. Supporting almost all media file types like 4K videos, Blu-ray discs, DVDs, BDAV movie folders, Blu-ray ISO image files, and more, Leawo Blu-ray Player is the best free solution to the issue of "to play this video you need a codec."

  • Leawo Blu-ray Player
  • Leawo Blu-ray Player

    Region-free Blu-ray player software to play Blu-ray disc and DVD disc for free, regardless of disc protection and region restriction.
    Play 4K FLV videos, 4K MKV videos, 4K MP4 videos, etc. without quality loss.
    Play 1080P videos, 720P videos with lossless quality.

Alternative Solution 2: Convert to Supported Format

Another simple solution you can apply when you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification, is to convert the video to a popular format like MP4 with Leawo Video Converter. Supporting 180+ video and audio formats, including MP4, AVI, MOV, MKV, MTS, FLV, etc., Leawo Video Converter allows you to convert videos without quality loss.

  • Leawo Video Converter
  • Leawo Video Converter

    1. Convert video and audio files between 180+ formats without quality loss
    2. Support 720P, 1080P and even real 4K video output
    3. Create photo slideshows from photos stored on camera, computer, camcorder, etc
    4. Built-in video editor to trim, crop, add watermark, apply special effect, etc
    5. 2D to 3D converter with 6 different 3D movie effects available

Moreover, Leawo Video Converter is a full-featured video editor. You can lower/increase video resolutions as per your needs. You can also trim video length, crop video size, apply special effects, add watermarks to videos, add 3D effects, and more. With 6X faster speed than competitors, Leawo Video Converter can help you convert videos in no time.

Here's how to convert videos with Leawo Video Converter.

Step 1. Locate Leawo Video Converter

Leawo Video Converter is a module of Leawo Prof. Media. Click on the "Video Converter" on the main screen, or open the "Convert" module to enter the video converter module.

Step 2. Add Source Videos

You can click "Add Video" to add your source videos. Or you can simply just drag and drop the video to the panel directly.

Step 3. Set Output Parameters

Click the "Output profile: MP4 Video" to reveal the drop-down box. Click "Edit" to enter the editing panel.

Here you can adjust parameters for audio and video, such as video bit rate, frame rate, aspect ratio, and more.

Step 4. Convert Videos to MP4

Click on the "Change" tab in the drop-down box menu on the main interface. Select the "Format" tab to convert videos to MP4.

Step 5. Set Output Directory

Click on the Green "Convert" button and a sidebar will appear. You should save the output directory here. Click on the "Convert" button to convert videos to MP4 and fix the "to play this video you need a codec" issue.

Wrap Up

Why is there a missing codec issue and what to do when you get the "to play this video you need a codec" notification? You should probably know the answers by now. As you can see, among all solutions, Leawo Blu-ray Player and Leawo Video Converter are the simplest ones, which can help you fix the issue once and for all. Just try it for free now!



With long-term dedication into the latest market demands and technologies, the author has become an expert in posting practical, in-depth and user-oriented how-tos, tutorials, recommendations, reviews, and more digital multimedia solutions in Blu-ray, DVD, video, audio, picture, Apple utilities, etc.

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