How to Download Windows Media Player 12 for Windows 10
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Windows Media Player has been around in various forms for decades. While it used to be the default Windows media player, that’s changed for Windows 10. It now needs installing before it’s available and the method you use will depend on your Windows 10 version.

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.

Where Has Windows Media Player Gone?

The quickest way to check if you have Windows Media Player 12 (the latest version) installed and enabled is to open the Start menu and search for it.

It comes as an “optional feature” for the majority of Windows 10 versions. However, Microsoft now disables it by default, so there’s every chance your search will yield no results.

There are also two versions of the operating system that don’t have it at all: Windows 10 N and Windows 10 NK.

Windows 10 N packaging

This is because 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 and Voice Recorder.

No matter your operating system version, we’ll show you how to install Windows Media Player for Windows 10—legally and for free.

How to Get Windows Media Player 12

It’s extremely simple to install Windows Media Player 12. The method you need will depend on your version of Windows 10.

Windows 10 N and NK

You need to download the Media Feature Pack from Microsoft’s official website.

First, select your language using the dropdown, then click Download. You must then choose which version of the file you want to download. This 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. Look at the line Operating System and check if it reads 32-bit or 64-bit.

Windows Feature Pack Media Player installer

If you’re running 32-bit, tick to download Microsoft-Windows-MediaFeaturePack-OOB-Package.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 the 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.

Windows 10 Home and Pro

Windows Media Player comes included as an optional feature with these versions of Windows 10, but it needs to be enabled.

To do so, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Apps > Manage optional features > Add a feature.

How to Download Windows Media Player 12 for Windows 10 wmp optional feature 670x359

Scroll down to Windows Media Player and select it. Click Install.

Job done! Go back a page and you’ll see it on the list of installed optional features. You can also uninstall it from here, should you ever wish to.

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.

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 amount of video codec support All You Need to Know about Video Codecs, Containers, and Compression All You Need to Know about Video Codecs, Containers, and Compression Explaining the difference between codecs and containers is relatively simple, but hard part is attempting to understand each format. Read More .

VLC can play video files, webcams, streams and more. It’s also very lightweight and fast.

VLC Media Player

Other good free choices are Winamp, which boasts great visualization and interface customization, and MusicBee, which is a powerful music manager that also supports podcasts and radio.

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.

Windows Media Player on Windows 10: Success!

If you’ve been missing Windows Media Player in your life, hopefully you’ve now been able to install it on your system. Microsoft may remove support for it entirely in the future, but for now it’s here to stay. And check out how to add external subtitles on Windows Media Player Here's How to Add External Subtitles on Windows Media Player Here's How to Add External Subtitles on Windows Media Player Why isn't Windows Media Player not displaying subtitles? Here's how to properly add subtitles to Windows Media Player. Read More so you have them when you need them.

Remember, you don’t have to use Windows Media Player if it doesn’t suit your needs. In fact, there are probably better players out there since Microsoft’s offering has fallen by the wayside.

If you want more alternatives, check our article on the best free media players for Windows 5 Best Free Media Players for Windows 5 Best Free Media Players for Windows The best media player for you is the one you most enjoy using. Here are the best free media player apps to consider on Windows. Read More and the best free music players for Windows The 5 Best Free Music Players for Windows The 5 Best Free Music Players for Windows Downloading music still has its benefits. For one, you can play music even when you don't have internet access. But which music player should you use? Find the best free music players here. Read More .

Explore more about: Media Player, Windows 10, Windows Media Player, Windows Tips.

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  1. dom
    March 10, 2019 at 4:45 am

    updated my window 10 now i have no audio device in my sound settings

  2. rory
    January 23, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks very much. Very important you download for either 64 or 32 bit.

  3. Steve
    December 17, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Windows Media Player was causing me nothing but issues on Windows 10. Problems with the database, problems playing files and problems with DNLA server. I removed it. I replaced it with iTunes and VLC. The only piece missing was DNLA server. I use the DIVX media server. I have read that WMP will not be supported in the future ... not sure if that is true.

  4. Brandon
    October 26, 2017 at 2:43 am

    No longer works for latest build of Windows 10 Pro N. Tried both x86 and x64. Runs the update but nothing gets installed.

  5. Walt
    May 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    This use to work. However, updating to the Creators update of Windows 10, removes the Media Feature Pack for those with the "N" version, and will not allow you to re-installed.

  6. Xaviar
    October 10, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Under the heading "Alternatives to Windows Media Player" you've listed one, basically - VLC. The other is just the built-in player, Groove.

    Don't get me wrong, VLC is an excellent video player but it's not really a suitable replacement for WMP for music. VLC has no music browser, for e.g., a lot of people feel they need that. I use VLC as a back-up video player (it's ugly and far from smooth and fast most of the time) but I use Foobar2000 as my WMP replacement (and have since WMP 11) as, although its as ugly as VLC it is also likewise skinnable so I can match it to my PC theme. It is very versatile and extensible.

    Winamp is another such free alternative which is also skinnable and extensible.

    MusicBee is another similar free programme (which is particularly well matched to Windows 10's Metro app theme).

    Just thought I'd offer some actual alternative players (plural) other than the default and the old default plus VLC.

  7. Doc
    October 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    "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."
    Whoops...you need the x86 version for 32-bit Windows.

    • jasray
      October 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      What I was thinking--the writer must know little about the Windows eco-system and numeric values. And VLC is the only alternative? Hmmm . . . may want to do some homework, Joe.

    • Kit
      April 18, 2017 at 10:16 am

      To the pinhead who that wrote the above direction, drop that Ivy League Community College Degree and go somewhere where they using a dude with shit for brains like yourself.

      • Doc
        April 18, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        There's no reason to be an abusive jerk. Can we get this guy moderated down here, please?