If you are familiar with Apple’s products, then the AAC file extension should not look strange to you. All of the music files in iTunes use AAC as the default encoding method; therefore you can easily open and play the AAC files in any Apple’s device.

However, when you try to play an AAC file on Windows with Windows Media Player, chances are you are going to face some problem. So can you play AAC files on Windows Media Player? If not, how to play AAC on Windows? That’s the problem we are going to fix today.

Part 1: About AAC

AAC, also known as Advanced Audio Coding, is an MPEG-2 audio file extension which is similar to MP3. Comparing to MP3, AAC uses the same encoding method but has some slight improvement on the audio performance. AAC files are most commonly seen in iTunes because it’s being used as the default music file format by Apple, but other platforms like Nintendo DSi, 3DS and PlayStation 3 also use AAC to save audio files.

Normally, to open an AAC file, all you need is a media player that supports the AAC playback. iOS and Mac both have native AAC support so you can directly play the file easily on these systems.

On Windows, there are also players with AAC support like VLC Player and Leawo Blu-ray Player. However, when it comes to Windows Media Player, things are little bit complicated. Some people can player AAC files successfully with Windows Media Player, while others can’t. So why does Windows Media Player fail to play AAC files sometimes? Can AAC files be played directly by Windows Media Player? If not, how to make it play?


Part 2: Can Windows Media Player Directly Play AAC Audio File

Can Windows Media Player directly play AAC files? Well, the answer is yes, and no. Let me explain.

Although being underestimated and replaced by a majority of Windows users, Windows Media Player is actually a very powerful media player program. Not only can this player play most of the media formats easily, the extensibility of the software gives it limitless possibilities. The original Windows Media Player only supports some of the mainstream media formats. But if you put the codecs into account, then the number of supported formats for Windows Media Player would be massive.

So can Windows Media Player directly play AAC files? Yes if you have the AAC codec or more inclusive codec pack installed on your computer, and no if you don’t have the AAC audio codec for Windows Media Player.

Now you have an idea on why sometimes you can’t play the AAC files with Windows Media Player. It’s all due to the codec issue. So here comes the question, how to install AAC codec on Windows Media Player to add the AAC support?


Part 3: How to Install AAC Codec on Windows Media Player

A codec is basically a program that gives the ability to your computer to decode different media files. There are many different codec packs for Windows that you can download and install. To make Windows Media Player play AAC files, you can download and install the Windows Player Codec Pack.

Windows Player Codec Pack is an inclusive codec pack which gives your computer the ability to play various media files. It’s 44.3mb big in size and includes tons of media file supports. The following guide shows you how to install Windows Player Codec Pack so that you can play AAC files with Windows Media Player afterward.

Step 1: Go to the official website of Windows Player Codec Pack, click the “Download” button to download the version that fits your operating system.

Step 2: When the installer is downloaded, double click to open it. Choose “Easy Installation” or “Detailed Installation” according to your needs and click “Next”. “Easy Installation” is more recommended.


Step 3: Choose the codecs you want to install. You can install all of the codecs provided to have a full media support. If you don’t want to install the additional player Media Player Classic, remember to uncheck the “Additional Player” box. Then click “Install”.


Step 4: Keep every setting as default and keep clicking “Next” till the codec pack is installed on your computer. You might have to reboot your PC to make it actually work.

Part 4: Change AAC Format to WMP-compatible Audio Format

Apart from installing AAC codec for Windows Media Player, another way to make the AAC files playable in Windows Media Player is to convert the AAC file to a Windows Media Player compatible audio format. By converting your AAC file to a more common file format like MP3, you can make it playable on not only Windows Media Player, but also many other devices or platforms that support MP3 playback as well.

In order to convert the AAC to MP3, you need to firstly download and install a media converter program. If you are not sure what to use, then I’d like to recommend Leawo Video Converter to you.

As a professional media converter application, Leawo Video Converter can not only convert various video formats, but also most of the audio formats as well. With Leawo Video Converter’s advanced media converting technology, you can get your AAC files converted to lossless MP3 audio in a 6X speed and then play it on whatever platform or player you want. This is how to convert an AAC audio file to MP3 with Leawo Video Converter.

Step 1: Download and install Leawo Video Converter.


Step 2: Click the “Add Video” button to import your source file into the program. You can also import the source AAC file by dragging and dropping the file into the main interface of Leawo Video Converter.


Step 3: Click the output format area next to the “Convert” button, and then click “Change” in the dropdown menu to go to the output format selection Window, where you can see all of the available output media formats listed in different categories. Find “MP3 Audio” under the “Common Audio” tab and click to select.


Step 4: Back to the main window, click the green “Convert” button to call out the output settings panel, input an output path and then click the big “Convert” icon below to start converting your AAC file.


Part 5: Best Free ACC Player without Installing Codec

The two solutions introduced above can either make Windows Media Player play AAC file, or make the AAC file playable in Windows Media Player. However, both of the solutions require some extra work on the media player or the media file itself. If you want to have the ability to directly play AAC files, as well as more media files without any codec installation or converting work, then I suggest you use one of the best Windows Media Player alternatives to replace your current media player, for which I’d recommend Leawo Blu-ray Player.

Leawo Blu-ray Player is a free professional video player as well as all-inclusive audio player. The player program can play almost all kinds of video and audio files with the original quality retained. Leawo Blu-ray Player has a massive format support library built in, meaning you don’t have to install any extra codec in order to play some niche formats like AAC.

What’s more, with the advanced decoding ability, Leawo Blu-ray Player can also play Blu-ray across region and all kinds of DVD materials in form of disc, ISO image or folder. Besides the powerful media playback abilities, Leawo Blu-ray Player even provide some advanced video processing functions like converting Blu-ray or DVD to high-quality MKV video file in the premium version.


To play your AAC file in Leawo Blu-ray Player, simply open the player program, click the “Add File” button in the main interface and find your AAC file to open. You can also set Leawo Blu-ray Player as your default media player so that you can open this kind of files in an easier way by directly double clicking the file.


The AAC playback problem in Windows Media Player is completely solved in this article. If you can’t play an AAC file with Windows Media Player, you can either extend the ability of Windows Media Player by installing an extra codec pack, or improve the compatibility of the AAC file by converting the file to a Windows Media Player compatible format like MP3.

Of course, if you don’t want to do any of these works, you can always opt for an easier approach, using Leawo Blu-ray Player to replace your Windows Media Player, and directly play AAC files as well as any other niche media files you may encounter in the future.

So back to the topic. Can you play AAC audio files on Windows Media Player? With some extra works, of course, you can. But when you have a better and easier choice to play every media format directly without any extra work, why stick to the Windows Media Player?