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Why Won't My Windows Media Player Open WMA File

As one of the original Windows media formats, the WMA file format is supposed to be very compatible with Windows Media Player. However, in real lives, we can still always encounter the problem of being not able to play a WMA file with Windows Media Player. If you are wondering why you can’t play WMA with Windows Media Player like hundreds of our viewers do, read on and I’m sure you’ll find the inclusive answer you need in this article.

Part 1: Why Won't My Windows Media Player Open WMA File

WMA stands for Windows Media Audio. Normally, Windows Media Player should play a regular WMA file just fine. However, there are a variety of reasons that could cause a WMA file fails to be read or opened in Windows Media Player. When you are facing a similar problem, there are two major aspects you should consider and check first: the file itself, and the WMA codec on your computer.

One of the possible reasons for your WMA file being not able to be recognized by Windows Media Player is that the file could be damaged. A media file could get damaged in a lot of ways. It might be damaged during a transference process from one device to another, and it also might be damaged in the downloading process due to the unstable internet connection. Once a media file is damaged, theoretically, there will be no way to correctly open and play it with any media player, not just Windows Media Player. So before you try to figure out why Windows Media Player can’t play the WMV file from other angles, it’s better that you make sure your file is intact and undamaged first.

If you are sure that your file is intact but still can’t play the WMV file with Windows Media Player, then the problem might be related to the WMV codec. A codec is a device or computer program for encoding or decoding a digital data stream or signal. If you don’t have a corresponding codec installed on your computer, then your media file will fail to play. Usually you can tell whether it’s a codec error or not from the Windows Media Player error code or error message. If the error is caused by codecs, the error message would be “Windows Media Player error C00D11C7”, or it could just directly tell you that the error is caused by codec issues.

Now that we have some possible causes for your WMA files fail to play, let’s take a look at how to solve the problem.


Part 2: Make Sure Your WMA File is Intact

As mentioned above, to solve the problem, the first thing you need to do is making sure that your WMA video file is not damaged in any way. There are a lot of methods to see whether your file is intact or not. You can use another player and try to open this same file again, you can transfer the file to another device to do a test run, or more technologically, you can use a professional file checking program like FileMaker Pro to check the consistency of the binary file. Just remember, don’t risk do anything that could potentially damage the file in the testing process, or all these works would be pointless.


Part 3: How to Install WMA Codec

If the file is made sure to be intact, you can try to work on the codec to fix the WMA file playback problem. When your Windows Media Player misses a necessary codec, there are variety of ways in which you can install it. Here are some of the most popular fixes

Turn on the auto-update function of Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player actually has an auto-update function for the codecs, but the function is usually turned off by default. By turning this function on manually, you can let Windows Media Player scan your codecs library regularly and download the missing codecs automatically all by itself. Here is how to turn the auto-update function on in Windows Media Player.

Step 1: Launch Windows Media Player. On the main interface of Windows Media Player, click on "Tools" in the top menu bar and then highlight and click "Options." If you do not see "Tools" or a top menu bar, click on the "Layout Options" button and then highlight and click "Show Classic Menus."

Step 2: In the newly popped out “Options” window, you should be able to see a lot of taps. Click to unfold the "Player" tap, and then Check the box next to the "Download codecs automatically" option. To always keep a fresh update for your Windows Media Player, Choose “Once a day” as your frequency in the above “Check for updates” area.

Step 3: Quit Windows Media Player completely and relaunch the program. Windows Media Player should now automatically check for codec updates and install the missing ones.


Install codec pack manually

If turning on the auto update doesn’t fix the problem, you can also download a third-party codec pack and install it yourself. Usually the codec pack you download form online should be much more powerful than the original Windows Media Player codec pack. By downloading and installing one of the most recommended codec packs for Windows, you will not only be able to open regular media files like WMA, but also other media files that you probably couldn’t open before.

Since codecs are basically just programs, the process of downloading and installing a codec pack is nothing different from downloading and installing a regular piece of software. You find it online, download the installation pack and then follow the installation guide and click “Next” all the way through the end. Just remember that sometimes you need to reboot your computer for these codec packs to be properly functional. So take your time and be patient.


Part 4: Try WMA Alternative Player

Right now, if everything goes okay, your WMV file should be able to be played by Windows Media Player successfully, so long as it’s not damaged of course. However, if you always encounter similar problems, you probably should consider using one of the best Windows Media Player alternative programs. A program that does not require constant codec updates and can play all kinds of video or audio file directly.

If you don’t know what player to turn to, I suggest you to try the free Leawo Blu-ray Player. Being one of the most popular professional media players, Leawo Blu-ray Player has established a great word of mouth with many years of media processing experience. The reason why I recommend this player as the best Windows Media Player alternative is that the player is capable of doing everything within WMP’s capability and more. The player can play almost all kinds of digital videos you can have, as well as play Blu-ray across region and all kinds of DVD materials. When handling HD videos like 1080P or 4K, Leawo Blu-ray Player can retain the most original quality in the playing process while keeping the video and audio clear and smooth. What’s more, the player program can even convert a Blu-ray or DVD material to HD MKV digital video so that it would be easier for you to carry your Blu-rays or DVDs around and enjoy them anywhere you go. In a nutshell, it’s safe to say that with Leawo Blu-ray Player, you will never need to worry about the problem of not being able to play a WMA file, and you are guaranteed to have a superior experience with all of your other media files as well.

Bonus: How to Transfer and Play WMA on iPhone

As a bonus part, I’m going to offer you a way to view your WMA files on iPhone. Since WMA is a media format developed by Microsoft, it’s not very compatible with Apple’s product and it’s also not easy to transfer a WMA file from your computer to your iPhone. If you want to view a WMA file not just on your Windows computer but also on your iPhone, here is a simple guide which can help you do that easily.

Step 1: Download and install iTransfer on your computer. iTransfer is a professional data transferring tool specially designed for iOS devices. With it, you can easily transfer all kinds of files between your computer and your iOS devices.


Leawo iTransfer 

☉ Transfer files among iOS devices, iTunes and PCs with ease.
☉ Transfer up to 14 kinds of data and files without iTunes.
☉ Support the latest iOS devices like iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, etc.
☉ Play back, view, and delete data and files on iOS devices.

Step 2: Launch iTransfer and connect your iPhone to your computer. Once they are correctly connected, you will see the detailed information of the iPhone in the software, as well as the library and playlists of iPhone and iTunes.


Step 3: At this point, you have multiple ways to add your WMA files into the program. You can directly drag and drop the file onto the program interface, or you can click the “Add” button in the toolbar. Once your file is added into the program, click on the “Transfer” button and the imported file will start to get transferred into your iPhone.


Step 4: Once your WMA file is successfully transferred to your iPhone, disconnect your phone, go to AppStore and download VLC Player for iOS. This is a powerful media player on iOS that allows you to play all kinds of media files on your phone, including the WMA file you have just transferred. Open the App, import the WMA file and enjoy.



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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