You can get Windows Media Player on Windows 10 and we’ll show you how. However, be warned that it’s not the best media player for Windows. Let us show you what to use instead.
Some versions of Windows 10 don’t have Windows Media Player pre-installed due to legal rulings against Microsoft. If you’re missing this classic Windows utility, we’re here to show you how to get it back quickly and for free. We’ll also offer up some alternative media players because Windows Media Player hasn’t been updated since 2009.
If you have your own experiences to share with Windows Media Player, or have an alternative program you’d recommend, please visit the comment section below.
Where Has Windows Media Player Gone?
The quickest way to check to see if you have Windows Media Player installed is to do a system search for it. Chances are you already have it. That’s because it comes pre-installed with the majority of Windows 10 versions. However, there are two versions of the operating system that don’t have it: Windows 10 N and Windows 10 NK.
The European Commission ruled that Microsoft’s practice of pre-installing some software on their operating systems is anti-competitive. Thus, Microsoft was forced to offer alternative versions of Windows 10 that have some of these key features removed. Not only do they lack Windows Media Player, but they also exclude apps such as Video, Voice Recorder, audio-video codecs, and more.
We’ll show you how to get Windows Media Player back on to your system — legally and free.
How to Get Windows Media Player 12
It’s extremely simple to install Windows Media Player 12 and make use of its ample features. You’ll need to download the Media Feature Pack from Microsoft’s official website.
First, select your language using the dropdown. Then click Download. You’ll be presented with a window that asks you to choose which version of the file you want to download. The file you select depends on what bit version of Windows 10 you’re running. To find this out, press Windows key + R, input dxdiag and click OK. This will open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. Here, look at the line Operating System and check if it reads 32-bit or 64-bit.
If you’re running 32-bit, tick to download
Microsoft-Windows-MediaFeaturePack-OOB-Package_x64.msu. If you’re running 64-bit, select the other file. Once ticked, click Next. You should then be prompted by your browser to Open with Windows Update Standalone Installer (default). With this selected, click OK to begin installation.
Follow the wizard through and the update will be installed. Along with installing Windows Media Player, this will also install other apps like Skype, Voice Recorder, and Groove Music. A full list of the additional features can be found on Microsoft’s support page.
Alternatives to Windows Media Player
Some people consider Windows Media Player to be an annoying Windows feature they don’t need. If that’s you then you’ll likely want an alternative audio and video playing software. Happily, there are a number of free and great alternatives to Windows Media Player.
Without doubt, one of the best media players you can download is VLC media player. This open source cross-platform software will run pretty much any audio or video file that you throw at it thanks to its huge codec support.
VLC can play video files, webcams, streams and more. It’s also very lightweight and fast.
Alternately, you could use other default Windows applications. These were designed with Windows 10 in mind and offer a more modern user interface. For video, do a system search for Films & TV. For audio, do a system search for Groove Music. The latter also comes with a store and streaming service, but you can just use it to manage your local music collection if you desire.
Get Your Groove On
If you’ve been missing Windows Media Player in your life, hopefully you’ve now been able to install it on your system, along with a number of other useful utilities and features that your version of Windows 10 lacked.
Remember, you don’t have to use Windows Media Player if it doesn’t suit your needs. In fact, there’s probably better players out there since Microsoft’s offering has fallen by the wayside.
Did you buy a version of Windows 10 that didn’t include Windows Media Player? Do you have your own alternative media player to recommend?