How to Play DVDs & Blu-Rays on Windows 10, Even Without a DVD Drive

Christian Cawley 09-07-2015

With the removal of Windows Media Center from Windows 8, and the pulling of support for the software in Windows 10, it has suddenly become more difficult to play DVD and Blu-ray discs on your computer Missing Media Tools in Windows 8? Easily Burn Audio and View DVDs Windows 8 makes it hard to burn audio and watch video DVDs thanks to hidden apps and missing licences. This is part of the move away from optical media – fortunately, we can share some... Read More .


So what is the solution? Is there a way around the omission of this feature, or has Microsoft gone mad?

Does Anyone Use Physical Media Anymore?

Microsoft has based its decision on the changing requirements of desktop and notebook computer users. Simply, fewer devices are sold with built-in DVD drives, and those that are can usually be described as high-end desktop PCs with Blu-ray support. Very few laptops (notebooks and ultrabooks) ship with optical drives; the battery requirements for spinning the disc and moving the laser, as well as the amount of space the drives take up make optical drives a prime candidate for removal Why Your MacBook Air Has No Optical Drive & 4 Reasons Why This Isn't a Problem The MacBook Air is one of the thinnest and lightest computers available today; thin as your finger, and so light every computer after will feel like you're hauling a sack of potatoes. In fact, ever... Read More from the design of portable computers.


Throw in the increasing march towards digital distribution of movies and TV shows–not to mention video games via Steam, Origin, and other gaming platforms–and you have a strong argument against built-in optical drives, especially given how affordable external USB DVD drivers are.

By removing Windows Media Center from Windows 8 and support for the software in Windows 10, Microsoft has the opportunity to focus development on the operating system and save money on licensing the software required for DVD and Blu-ray playback, pushing this cost back to the end user who will be required to pay for a separate Microsoft (or third party) optical disc player should they need it. It’s a far cry from Windows 7, where DVD de-encoding software was included and DVDs could be viewed in Windows Media Player.


So we know why Microsoft has abandoned optical drives. But what are we going to do about it?

Third Party Optical Disc Players

If your PC has a DVD or Blu-ray disc player, it is possible that you already have a solution to this. Check the pre-installed bloatware, or the collection of discs that shipped with your computer and look for a disc labeled CyberLink PowerDVD, Corel WinDVD Pro or similar. Once installed, these apps will provide the DVD and Blu-ray playback feature.


Of course, you may have lost the disc, or never had one in the first place. In this scenario, you will need to investigate other options. Probably the best choice is VLC Player. This software doesn’t just play DVDs (including multi-region) and Blu-ray discs, but can also be used for a variety of other media-related tasks 6 More VLC Media Player Features You Must Try VLC is a media player more powerful than you might realize. Are you using it to its full potential? Here are some pointers. Read More , from X to Y. Even if you don’t want to use this as your DVD software, you should still have VLC Player installed on your computer as it is a hugely versatile piece of software.


Other alternatives for playing DVDs and Blu-ray discs 3 Free Ways to Play DVDs and Blu-Ray in Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 still can't play DVD and Blu-ray movies out of the box. What to do if you have a bunch of movies on discs? Luckily, free programs have you covered. Read More  include KMPlayer, which is almost as versatile as VLC Player, and Daum PotPlayer.

These apps are free by avoiding the licensing requirements for DVD and Blu-ray playback software; instead, the technology has been reverse engineered. You may find that there is no support for 3D Blu-ray movies, because that encryption has not yet been reverse engineered.

Isn’t It Time to Abandon Physical Media?

The lack of optical drives in new computers is a symbol of changing habits, a trend that Microsoft has noticed. If you still use optical drives, now might be the time to consider creating and using virtual discs, software images that can be played back on your computer without the requirement for an optical disc or drive.



Naturally, you will need an external drive, but in case your device is already missing one these can be purchased cheaply, and removable DVD drives from old laptops No DVD Drive on Your Tablet or Notebook? Use an Old Laptop Drive Instead! Windows computers increasingly ship without optical drives. Here's how to use an old laptop DVD drive as an external drive. Read More can be easily converted into external devices with a cheap kit from Amazon or eBay.

To create a DVD or Blu-ray disc image How to Create & Mount Disc Images on a Virtual Drive Do you still have CDs or DVDs lying around? When an optical disc breaks, it's gone forever. We show you how to make digital and playable backups of your CDs and DVDs now! Read More , you’ll need to “rip” the contents from the disc and save them to your local drive. Two things are needed for this: plenty of disk space (ripped DVDs are as large as 15 GB depending on the compression used, while Blu-ray can take up 50 GB) and some disc ripping software. A HDD of at least 1 TB in capacity is recommended if you’re planning to rip multiple discs, and for software take a look at our recent roundup of DVD and Blu-ray ripping tools The 11 Best Tools for Ripping DVDs and Blu-rays to Your Computer Here are the best tools for ripping DVDs and Blu-rays so you can digitize all of your media without any hassle. Read More , which includes the perennially popular and versatile Handbrake 5 Clever Things You Can Do with HandBrake HandBrake is a powerful tool, designed to help you get the most out of your digital media. We have compiled some of HandBrake's most ingenious uses. Check it out! Read More , which is available for Mac OS X and Linux as well as Windows.

Once you’ve created the disc image, you’ll need a tool to mount and play it. Although it is possible to mount ISO files in Windows 8.x and Windows 10, you may have opted for a different format, in which case you’ll need a virtual drive tool like CloneDrive Extend The Life Of Your Optical Discs With ISO Backups & Virtual Clone Drive [Windows] There is absolutely no reason why you would still want to routinely run games, movies, or music from optical discs. Inserting, ejecting, and switching discs is a nuisance and subjects both the drive and the... Read More . WinCDEmu is also an option, although there is little between the two tools Mount Your Image Files On a Virtual Drive With WinCDEmu [Windows] Your CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are rotting and optical discs as such are slowly disappearing from the market. ISO and other image file formats, however, are here to stay and are a good way... Read More .

An added benefit of DVD and Blu-ray ripping is that it increases the lifespan of your original media–wear, tear, and mold means that DVDs won’t last forever CDs Are Not Forever: The Truth About CD/DVD Longevity, "Mold" & "Rot" The digital age has revolutionized the way we handle information. Never before could humankind record and store so much information and in such diversity. While the amount of data has increased exponentially, the predicted life... Read More .


Missing Windows Media Center?


All of this looking for a new DVD player app for Windows 10 could be avoided if Microsoft would just reinstate Windows Media Center. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen, but if you’re really missing the dynamic that a media center app brings to your Windows experience, we’ve already discussed five alternatives to Windows Media Center 5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10 Windows 10 will offer many new features, but some old favorites will be deprecated. The Windows Media Center will no longer be supported. Here are alternative media center application compatible with Windows 10 to take... Read More  to help you choose a strong replacement.

Better still, using an alternative media center will help you keep your ripped movies indexed and easily accessible!

Have you ripped a DVD before? Are you concerned about playing back optical discs in Windows 10, and baffled by Microsoft’s stance on this? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image Credits: DVDs in the bin By omphoto via Shutterstock

Related topics: Blu-ray, CD-DVD Tool, Virtual Drive, VLC Media Player.

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  1. Terry Pan
    January 23, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. And by adding AACS and BD+ DRM libraries and keys, VLC can play some Blu-Ray movies. However, you may have various kinds of problems when playing Blu-ray in Windows 10 with the VLC. Fortunately, there are several third-party commercial player apps on the market to help you along. And UFUSoft Windows 10 Blu ray Player is the best choice to play Blu ray disc/folder/iso on Windows 10 pc.

  2. Jason
    January 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    If VLC doesn't work for some of your discs, try Leawo Blu-Ray Player. It's free and has worked on every disc I've tried so far.

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Nice suggestion, thanks Jason

  3. Dims
    December 31, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Bizzare senseless article

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

      As opposed to your comment... :)

  4. Avant Yang
    November 22, 2016 at 4:30 am

    In order to watch Blu-ray discs or BD ISO on Windows 10, you must have three things: 1) a Blu-ray disc drive, 2) a Blu-ray movie, and 3) Blu-ray Player Software(Need decrypting Blu-ray function). UFUSoft Blu-ray Player for Windows 10 can help you remove Blu-ray protections, such as region codes, AACS, BD+,etc. and support any Blu-ray disc, Blu-ray folder (BDMV), Blu-ray ISO playback on Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP PC or laptop.

  5. Willian wong
    October 14, 2016 at 7:37 am

    UFUShare Blu-ray Player For Windows 10 is currently the best choice for playing blu-ray on windows 10 pc now.

  6. Tomsmith
    October 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    UFUShare recommend 5 best blu ray player for Windows 10, you can check them. you can search from google: UFUShare 5 Best Windows 10 Blu-ray Player

  7. fEacHHncs
    October 3, 2016 at 10:45 am

    79255 448628 An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I believe which you need to write a lot more on this subject, it may well not be a taboo topic but typically folks are not enough to speak on such topics. Towards the next. Cheers 477927

  8. perter lan
    September 5, 2016 at 3:04 am

    I highly doubt it works because of the way Blu-rays are encrypted. Lots of free blu ray playing software can not play them. You can use UFUSoft Blu-ray Player to decrypt and play the Blu-ray disc on Windows 10 pc, or you can use AnyDVD-HD to decrypt them on the fly and then use VLC to play them.

  9. Mickey Mouse
    August 25, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Good news everyone: DVD and Blu Ray disks are dead! But that's OK, with the right software, and enough patience, you can rip your old optical media to MP4 format! Now if only there was a way to bulk rip the hundreds of disks I BOUGHT, and STILL HAVE. It's probably easier to download them all from pirate sites, something I now regret NOT doing in the first place.

  10. Anonymous
    August 23, 2016 at 4:30 am

    I have used VLC and UFUSoft Blu-ray Player on Windows 10 to play blu ray disc movies. So far, with AACS-protected Blu-Ray discs, VLC works fine. for bd+ protected or others not supported blu-ray movies, i finally followed this guide UFUSoft Windows 10 Blu-ray Player to play successfully.

  11. daddski
    August 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    BTW Microsoft's cost to add drive software?... about 19 cents. Our added cost of an operating system for that software? Just over a dollar so the cost is nothing . I cannot believe you copied and pasted your article from Microsofts website like you just did on 90 percent of what you just wrote.....

    • Christian Cawley
      August 26, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      "copied and pasted" - that's pretty bold of you, hiding behind your "cool" username.

      You're implying I committed plagiarism. That's not acceptable.

  12. daddski
    August 14, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    What a crock of doodoooo... You must work for microsoft. Fact 1. ALL desktops come with optical drives and ALL but the slimline laptops come with them as well for the most part. Anyone making computers without drives are just being lazy and cheap.
    Microsoft screwed the regular customer as usual on this issue and by the way.... as of the date I write this they have gone ahead and added the dvd viewing software BACK INTO windows 10. WHY? Because contrary to dewberry like you most people still use them. I also use steam and origin but always demand a physical disc as well whenever possible. WHY? Backups and offline play many times demand them. You make no argument that makes any sense on why we would trust online and the internet enough to not want physical backups and discs for movies and games that cost more than 50 dollars at a pop. If you do not want them more power to you For me I want them I do not trust online anything and with a;ll the attacks steam and origin have had just in the last year you shouldn't trust your info to them either...

    • Christian Cawley
      August 26, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Got it in one. I'm the site's Linux section editor, I write regularly for Linux User & Developer... and I work for Microsoft.

  13. Sunni
    July 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Is it me,...or does Windows10 suck ???

  14. Anonymous
    June 23, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    For free tool, you can try VLC, DAPlayer. I have this installed and it's working fine. But they may not have the looks or the same extent of settings/controls as the likes of paid solutions such as UFUSoft Blu ray player i used now, which is a good choice for playing the latest blu-ray disc movie on Windows 10 pc, you can have try.

  15. E P Campbell
    May 29, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    It takes well over an hour to rip a blu ray, remount and play. You can't be serious?

    • Christian Cawley
      June 2, 2016 at 7:45 am

      If you want to watch a BD image, then yes, obviously serious. If you want to watch the disc, then watch it.

  16. Dutchie
    April 25, 2016 at 6:00 am

    It is impossible to play, copy or rip DVD's/CD's with an external optical drive in Windows 10.
    I purchased 3 external optical drives (LG, Asus, and Samsung) and none of them are compatible with Windows 10 Pro, and the delivered driver software doesn't go any further than Windows 8.1. Even my internal optical drive in my HP pc didn't work anymore after the free upgrade from Windows 7 to 10. I have spend days to find out at various sites via the Internet, but unfortunately end of story. I do hope that there is someone who has a solution for this matter.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 28, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Windows 10 needs a DVD player application, as explained in the article.

      I have watched several DVDs using my own external DVD drive on W10.

      • Danielle
        July 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm

        What player do you use because none work for me.

  17. Terry
    April 8, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I have a Toshiba Satellite E55 and Windows 10. I need an external player to read business files stored on CDs. Any recommendations?


  18. Anonymous
    January 6, 2016 at 9:17 am

    I am afraid VLC cannot play most BluRays, you still need some BD software. Cyberlink or Macgo Blu Ray Player.

    • Anonymous
      February 29, 2016 at 4:12 am

      The stable version of VLC is 32-bit only, so instead of putting the 64-bit version of libaacs.dll in the VLC program folder ('Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC'), use the 32-bit version. Also, for this to work, when creating the
      'aacs' folder to put the KEYDB.cfg keyfile in, you MUST create it in 'Users/%USER%/AppData/Roaming', not 'Users/%USER%/AppData'.

      So far, with AACS-protected Blu-Ray discs, it works fine. for bd+ protected or other not supported blu-ray movies, and finally i searched on google and find this guide to

      • Richard Thoman
        April 23, 2016 at 3:37 am

        None of these suggestions worked for me. I only got VLC to play Blu-rays after I installed DVDFab Passkey. With that program doing its magic, I can use 64-bit VLC with no special .cfg or .dll files needed.

  19. Lancy Shadow
    December 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    There are many Blu-ray player software products on the market, powerdvd is good, but expensive, free one has no blu-ray license and not reliable. You can try UFUWare Blu-ray Player, it is good and cheap, and officially authorized. And it works perfectly on Windows 10 pc.

  20. Anonymous
    December 8, 2015 at 9:03 am

    How do you play Blu-ray Disc without the Blu-ray Drive? unless the Blu-ray file is the Blu-ray ISO file or BDMV folder. I am always use the Windows Blu-ray Player from MacGo to playback the Blu-ray discs, some times also ISO and some BDMV folder. Howerer, this play cannot play Blu-ray Menu, but right now I have not found the Blu-ray Menu Player for Windows. Right now, MacGo is the best recommendation.

  21. Steve
    November 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    With 100GB 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays coming, I'll be spending more money on HDDs than I will on physical media. I'll stick to physical media, I use up enough of my existing 9TB HDD space with audio and mirroring for data redundancy.

  22. dino torres
    November 21, 2015 at 12:05 am

    what if i'm old school and just want to burn my own DVD's or CD's. i spent a lot of money for this HP with DVD player/ burner...i spent a lot of money on home stereo and theater equipment, all high end and now, i have to put it in the garage?

    • Christian Cawley
      November 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

      Well you can play CDs with an external drive; you can play DVDs or BDs with an external drive and the software suggested above.

  23. Anonymous
    October 4, 2015 at 4:26 am

    You can use VLC to play Blu-Ray on Windows 10, but you will need to download and place the AACS and BD+ DRM libraries and keys in order to play Blu Ray on Windows 10. But for some disc which VLC can not open, i use a cheap but useful tool-UFUSoft Blu-ray Player, which helps me play the latest blu-ray disc movies on windows pc or laptop with ease.

  24. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Ok, DISC drives are going. So what serves as "rescue media" for Windows Restore, Macrium Reflect, etc.? My Toshiba's DISC is not seen in Windows 10 "upgrade" from Win8.

  25. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

    If you don't want to use DVD Player, you must rip DVD/Blu-ray to Windows Media Player supported format. I have ever use iFastime Video Converter Ultimate to backup my old Blu-ray movies to MP4. The generated video can be played on the default media player on Windows.

  26. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 3:14 am

    When I try to play them as VLC files, they won't play. It seems they start to play, but then the VLC software quits.And i have searched and find UFUSoft Blu-ray Player, which can play blu ray disc movies and is compatible with windows 10.

  27. Anonymous
    August 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    VLC is not playing Blu-Rays for me. Is there any other option?

    • Anonymous
      October 29, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Aurora Blu-ray Media Player or Macgo Windows Blu-ray Player.

  28. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 7:42 am

    As far as watching movies I use discs all the time. RedBox is the cheapest way to rent. Especially when they keep giving out free rental codes.

  29. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 5:07 am

    VLC can play ISO files without any virtual drive tools. If you don't want to change the default action of opening an ISO file (which is burning it into a disk), you should drag and drop it on the VLC interface or open it manually from the main menu.

  30. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 3:09 am

    The combination of VLC Media Player and Virtual Clone Drive make watching disc images effortless. The tricky part is getting the disc images.

  31. Anonymous
    July 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I'm nearly 100% certain VLC can't play stock Blu-rays, unless you're referring to ripped ISOs.

  32. Anonymous
    July 9, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    So the title of your article is "How to Play DVDs & Blu-Rays on Windows 10, Even Without a DVD Drive" which specifically implies a way to play discs "Without a DVD Drive" and then you go onto explain you'll still need a DVD drive and if you don't have an internal one you'll need to buy an external. I realize you're getting at the content more than the discs, and I know that reading a physical disc will always require a physical reader, but I think your title is worded incorrectly imho.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 15, 2015 at 8:43 am

      No, the title specifically implies a way to play discs with a DVD drive AND without one. At least, that's how it reads in native English... ;)

      • MrJanus
        June 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        No, the title specifically states "How to play DVDs etc...". DVD stands for Digital Versatile DISC, therefore you can not play a Digital Versatile DISC without a DISC drive? Do you see how English really works? You expand the acronym, you take the literal definition and you apply a theory to it... not make something up that involves the illegal use of protection removal software and ignores the title of the topic.

        • Christian Cawley
          June 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm

          I find your tone unnecessarily aggressive and condescending. If you cannot understand the meaning of words when grouped into a sentence, then I'm afraid no one can help you here.

    • perter lan
      September 5, 2016 at 3:07 am

      I highly doubt it works because of the way Blu-rays are encrypted. Lots of free blu ray playing software can not play them. You can use UFUSoft Blu-ray Player to decrypt and play the Blu-ray disc on Windows 10 pc, or you can use AnyDVD-HD to decrypt them on the fly and then use VLC to play them.