3 Ways to Play Unplayable Videos on your PC

Varun Kashyap 12-08-2008

Anyone who is fond of videos (which most of us are) has at some point or other bumped into the situation where you can’t play the video for the lack of codecs or proper software.



Lets first see what all is required to play a video file and then we will look at how to overcome the problem.

To play any video file that exists in the wildest corners of the web you only need 2 things:

  • A media player (or the software).
  • A codec.

We are all familiar with media player but the term that needs a little attention is “codec”. In simple terms codec is nothing but an “something” that knows how to convert the video to 1s and 0s and back from 1s and 0s to the video that we all can see.

Looks pretty straightforward right? Not until you dive a little deeper into the world of codecs. There are many codecs out there that can be used to encode the video. In some sense the codec is like the key and your video file is like the lock, so you need the same key or the codec to actually view the file that was used to encode the file. This situation causes problems to most users if they don’t have the proper codec on their system. You can view the installed codecs by doing the following:

Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices Properties -> Hardware – > highlight VIDEO CODECS -> push Properties button -> select PROPERTIES tab.

You can do the same for audio codecs as well.

So, How To Play Those Unplayable Video and Movies

Here are some suggestions to ensure that your video plays fine.

    • (1) Install a media player that can support large number of formats.


    • is a good choice. It’s not the only good video player out there.

(2) The second solution if you like to stick with the Windows Media Player is to install codec packs. These are packs that install the required codecs on your system for playing the common video formats. To figure what codecs the video needs check out MakeUseOf review of Gspot Play Any Movie You Donwload Using Gspot & Klite Read More .

(3) Finally, you can use the MakeInstantPlayer, it converts your videos into self running executables that you can give to your friends or take to other computer. The executable is all that you need to watch the video. No software or codecs are required on the other system.

More on MakeInstantPlayer

MakeInstantPlayer offers other benefits as well like

– Adding a custom logo that will be displayed as the splash screen when you run the file.
– Ability to include the codecs as a part of the executable.
– Ability to make the user go to your homepage or site when the video finishes playing.

How To Make your Videos Executable on Any Computer

First, download and run the makeinstantplayer.exe . The software doesn’t add any registry entries and only extracts the files to your chosen location. Then, run the makeinstantplayer.exe from the location you provided while installing. You will see this:



  • Choose the path to the video file you want to make executable by clicking on the source file entry field
  • Choose the output file path and name by clicking on the Output File text entry field

Some Optional Settings

    • – Enter a URL to direct the user to the after the playback finishes.

– Enter the path to your custom logo if you want that to be displayed as the splash screen when the video starts (JPG, JPEG, GIF, ANI, BMP, ICO, EMF are acceptable formats). I used the following:

muo logo

– You can specify to keep the video fullscreen in the resulting exe or keep in on top of other windows or make it auto quit after playback ends or choose to start it all over again when it ends (check loop). You can also include codecs in the resulting exe.

– Preview it if you like or just hit Make it! to convert the video to executable.


It logs all the activities on the screen so you can see what it is upto. I tried and successfully converted DivX format, VOB, AVI, MPEG, MP4 and even WMV. Its was reasonably fast, on my 1GB RAM computer it took about a minute and a half to convert 700MB DivX file to executable.

Once you have the executable all you need to do is send the file and run it to view the video on any computer irrespective of the fact if it has the required codecs or not.

Do you know of some other ways to get rid of the codec chores? I would like to know them. Put them in comments please!

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    January 5, 2009 at 7:13 am


  2. Varun Kashyap
    August 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    So guys just to clear all doubts, here is my take on the whole "potential" virus situation. I have done some research and here are my findings:

    The 5 positives shown by VirusTotal doesn't mean the file has 5 infections(as mentioned in the link above by Zia) it is because diff AV providers have different nomenclatures and hence the 5 different names.

    For one the "generic" and "pack" varieties are not real hits these are "Potentially Dangerous" stuff that AV doesn't know about.

    Further research on this lead me to the fact that "Being able to create an executable is considered as malicious by AV programs". Now this is where false positives comes in. While a trojan creating an executable is certainly bad, a program for converting videos to executable isn't doing anything bad. That is why its called "FALSE POSITIVE"

    I have NOD32 (which is one of the best, if not the best) on my system so I check files with it (with all heuristics enabled) and then only write about it and share a Cool Software with you guys.

    So my word after doing some research is that its a FALSE POSITIVE just because it creates an executable. Other thing that goes against it is the fact that it is portable and is not installed. So an application that is not installed trying to create an executable may seem like fishy to AV but then that's why I am happy that I am a human and I can think which an AV cannot.

    As a last note, its open source, so have a look at the code (if you are of the type) and let us know which line or function call is causing the malicious activity, or better still: fix it and re release it!

  3. Zia
    August 14, 2008 at 3:34 am

    Someone contacted me with an Avast virus warning when they opened MakeInstantPlayer.

    After a google search, I found this opinion:

  4. Quiller99
    August 13, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    When I downloaded "MakeInstantPlayer" AVG popped up and said it contained a trojan. Went back to Mulder's site and saw he warned that some anti-virus programs give a false positive, and suggested we check the file with virustotal. Did so, and it gave five warnings relating to generic and packs. Mulder says this is just speculation, but I would hate to be wrong about this. Has anybody been able to verify that this is a safe program to use?

  5. Dave
    August 12, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I just wanted to add a bit since I've had lots of experience with codecs, containers and the like.

    I do not typically recommend codec packs. They can interfere with playback depending on your system configuration I'd recommend instead using g-spot to find out which codec a video file uses, then downloading the codec for that video file. The less codecs you have the better really. Plus you start to get into multiple versions of a codec and it becomes a system-wide nightmare.

    My player of choice is ZoomPlayer. There is a free standard version that works great - there is also a professional version so you can play DVDs through it. Included in it is a codec downloading which will detect what codecs you have installed, and if you have any major ones missing it will automatically download and install it.

    It also includes "SmartPlay" where you can tell it which codec to use for an audio or video type. It's really saved my butt in a few situations.

  6. Kate
    August 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks, this is going to my bookmarks.