Entertainment Windows

Here’s How to Add External Subtitles on Windows Media Player

Saikat Basu Updated 28-11-2019

It is indeed possible to add external subtitles to a movie that you’re watching using Windows Media Player. If you have wrung your hair over it for a long time, here’s the solution that solves the problem.


The classic Windows Media Player 12 is Microsoft’s default audio and video player. But it hasn’t been updated since 2009. Maybe, you enjoy the simplicity of using the media player that came with your PC.

So far you are fine with it… except when it comes to subtitles. Here we’re going to go through the process of adding subtitles to WMP in two main steps.

  1. Download your movie and subtitle file.
  2. Install a third party codec called Advanced Codecs.

But first, let’s see if you have Windows Media Player installed in your Windows 10 PC.

Download and Install Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player 12 Interface

Don’t worry if you can’t see Windows Media Player 12 in your Programs list. Windows Player used to be the default media player on Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. Things changed with Windows 10 where it became an optional feature.


Now, you need to download and install Windows Media Player How to Download Windows Media Player 12 for Windows 10 Windows 10 doesn't ship with Windows Media Player anymore. Here's how to install Windows Media Player for free and legally. Read More if it’s not there in your version of Windows 10. Microsoft Support has a list of the WMP versions which will help you find the right version of the Player for your system.

Prepare Your Movie File and Subtitle File

Many torrent downloads include subtitles. But let’s assume you have downloaded or ripped a video file that doesn’t have subtitles.

There are many websites that offer subtitles for download Download Subtitles for Movies for Free: The 3 Best Sites Subtitles elevate the viewing experience, but where can you get quality subtitles for free? We recommend these subtitle sites. Read More in multiple languages. Pick any from the three listed below. There are many more you can find with a Google Search.

I prefer Subscene.com because it lists all the popular subtitles in an uncluttered interface that makes search a breeze.


Find and download the exact matching subtitle file that has been synced with that particular video file. Choose a subtitle which has the same up-loader name as the movie file. Or match the name to the ripped type.

Download the files and extract them if they come in a ZIP format.

For a demo, I have an episode of Doom Patrol and some subtitles that I’ve put in one common folder called “Subtitled Doom Patrol TV Series”. Notice that both don’t have matching names yet.

Windows Media Player Subtitles


Rename Both Files to Match Each Other

Now, just put both of the files in the same folder and make sure they have the same name (aside from the extension). In this case, the video is “Doom Patrol” and the subtitle file is “Doom Patrol.srt”.

Match name of video to subtitle file

Right-click on the video and choose “Play with Windows Media Player”. Hopefully, your video now plays with subtitles. But if it still isn’t working, you have a few more options.



Set WMP to display captions. From the default home screen, you can right click on the bar near the top and select Play > Lyrics, captions, and subtitles > On if available.

Enable subtitles in WMP

If the video is already playing, right click anywhere on the player and select Lyrics, captions, and subtitles > On if available.

Switch on subtitles in WMP when video is playing

Download a Third Party Codec

One of the big failings of WMP is that it doesn’t recognize downloaded subtitle files with extensions of .SRT and .SUB. In that case, you have to take the help of third party codecs.

The codec of choice used to be DirectVobSub. But in all my attempts, I couldn’t make it play the subtitles with the latest version.

The Solution:

An alternative codec for WMP 12 that worked for me is called ADVANCED Codec (version 11.5.1) by a developer named Shark007. It is an audio and video codec package for Windows 7, 8 and 10. The release contains a full suite of decoders for both 32bit and 64bit systems.

Also included in the package is the DirectVobSub/VSFilter (the add-on for Microsoft Windows that is able to read external subtitle files) with a GUI controller for the installed codecs.

The codec is available from MajorGeeks and a few alternative download mirrors. MajorGeeks is a trusted website and has been in the download business since 2002. Yes, the site’s design still harks back to the good old days!

Run the ADVANCED Codec executable. The installer will download the codecs to your computer before finalizing the install.

Advanced Codec Installer

ADVANCED Codec also installs a Settings application in your Program menu or desktop. This gives you a GUI to tweak a few settings in case your subtitles are not displayed.

When Windows Media Player Does Not Display Subtitles

WMP 12 is moody with a few file types. I have run into problems with MP4 video formats.

You can try a few tweaks suggested by Shark007.

  • For an AVI file, choose to disable the DMO codecs on the Swap Tab of the ADVANCED Codec Settings application.
  • If it is an MP4 file, choose to disable the Microsoft Audio decoder on the Swap TAB. You may also need to disable the Microsoft Video decoder.

Advanced Codec Settings Application

If you still can’t see any subtitles, however, there is one last thing you can try. Rename the subtitle file and change the “.srt” to a “.sub”. For me, the subtitles played regardless of whether it was called .srt or .sub, but some users report one working more often than the other.

Try an Alternative to Windows Media Player

The classic Windows Media Player has seen better days. While you can still do basic tasks, like rotate videos in Windows Media Player, it’s not sufficient for many in the modern era.

Thus, there’s no need to go to such lengths to play your favorite subtitled videos as there are enough alternatives for the outmoded WMP 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 . The popular VideoLAN (VLC) player is the most favored as it can play everything right out of the box. It is free, there’s an active open source community behind it, and it is cross-platform too. If you do decide

Related topics: Media Player, Video Editor, Windows Media Player.

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  1. cruizer
    June 18, 2019 at 8:05 am

    what a waste of time. everything just works out of the box when you install VLC; why even go through hoops trying to force a 2009-era video player to do it?

  2. Guillaume
    May 31, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Useless... Damn Windows 10.

  3. Shilpika
    May 26, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks it worked

  4. andi
    February 11, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    It works. Renamed the file, from english.srt changed the part "english" with the name of the movie and it worked. Thanks

  5. HRegli
    October 8, 2017 at 3:45 am

    You can simplify all of this down to two clicks and no typing if you use a subtitle downloader tool like Atlas Subtitler or alike.

  6. wave
    January 13, 2017 at 10:40 am

    How can I get subtitles on my Lumia 640 xl....

  7. P3
    November 29, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Didn't work. What does work is VLC Media Player.

  8. J
    November 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    It finally worked when I installed DirectVobSub!!! Thank you so much!!!

  9. jeev
    October 1, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    thanx a ton.
    i could add it and enjoy the film.

  10. yaser
    August 25, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Thanks for your post,
    but it still didn't work for many videos, even though i did all the steps above

  11. élk
    July 16, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    didn't help at all, useless pos

  12. Olavo G
    June 5, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Nothing worked for me. Any other ideia?

    June 1, 2016 at 9:02 am


  14. Lam
    May 18, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you so much!

      June 1, 2016 at 9:03 am


  15. Carissa
    May 13, 2016 at 3:05 am

    What should I do if I had delete the subtitle ? Can I get it back or not ?

  16. GetVLC
    January 27, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Vlc media player is your solution peeps

  17. anatoliy
    January 23, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    worked for me, thanks a lot

  18. Noel
    December 28, 2015 at 12:40 am

    I can't download DirectVobSub because it says it's a virus.

    • Polda18
      February 28, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      What AV do you use? I am using Avast and it gives me no warnings. Sometimes it might be false positive. If you run it through virustotal.com - it should give you detailed list of positive & negative detections... If the list is more red than green (10 % up of red against green detections might be warning for a user), then the file is probably injected with malicious code. But I wouldn't scream when one or two AV's give detection of PUP...

  19. vj
    December 26, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    didnt work for me

  20. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Windows Media Player subtitles problems you meet fall into 3 categories basically: [1] To show/hide the Windows Media Player subtitles of a video [2] To add external subtitles to Windows Media Player [3] To solve Windows Media Player subtitles not working problem or sync problems. 5KPlayer troubleshoots my problems good

  21. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    for online videos try penguin subtitle player

  22. ikam
    April 14, 2015 at 12:48 am

    thanks man... it worked. only problem: i have to put them every time to the same folder and rename them. vlc is simpler but the video quality is not as good as wmp's. the picture appears a little bit "white" on vlc.

  23. Esh
    April 12, 2015 at 8:07 am

    good for bachelors.. I wanted a solution after doing all of those mentioned above !!!

  24. JayBob
    April 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Downloading the latest DirectVobSub worked a treat! Thank you.

  25. sam
    March 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    works for avi only and not for any other video ext especially mp4 !!!

  26. parnell
    March 29, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Nope, didn't work. Tried all the steps and still no subs.

  27. Sulaiman
    March 13, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Very kind of you to take your time and help us out with this Justin... Many thanks :D

    WMP certainly has better video quality than VLC any day which is why most of the people are interested in knowing how can me make WMP work with the Subs.

    I use to change the name of the subtitles as well but it somehow stopped working for me.

  28. asdy
    March 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    it doesn't work for me I tried every step you mentioned and nothing worked

  29. Ewa
    February 4, 2015 at 10:34 am

    it is not working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a waste of time with WMP. In vlc i made them run in 2 seconds!

  30. Absay
    February 2, 2015 at 3:58 am

    It's not working for many because this doesn't work with MP4 videos. The author's example screenshots show an AVI file, but MP4 will simply not work for Win 7/8/8.1 users.

  31. Petrus Augustus
    January 14, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    It did not work! I tried everything and combination that you people wrote,but nothing happend. could you guys please see if there is something else?

  32. CJ
    April 26, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    So, VLC plays subtitles on my ONE file. The subtitles seem to be part of the ONE movie file. Please mention details on that! Whether there be a way to reference those subtitles in WMP, or just why it's like that and can't work.

  33. goudio
    April 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Worked the previous link http://codecpack.co/download/Local-Subtitles-for-WMP.html
    But I needed to re-change the extension of the subtitle file to .srt.

  34. troy lyons
    April 22, 2014 at 10:17 am


    Tried everything above and nothing worked but I just found this below, did it, and now I've got subtitles for Captain Phillips!

    This is the solution you are looking for:
    It uses Media Foundation which is the "natural" way for WMP.
    All the other tricks for viewing subtitles tamper with system files and use directshow instead of Media Foundation.
    I have tried the proposed solution and it works.
    Just don't forget to reboot before using the subtitles

    • Me
      January 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Thanx! The only usefull solution to this spam article

  35. Shaidon
    April 21, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Seems that works with .mkv and .avi video files, but not with .mp4

  36. dar
    March 28, 2014 at 7:17 am

    para mi no win 8.1

  37. Natesh
    March 15, 2014 at 8:22 am

    heartfelt thanks .Really.
    it's a way simple thing that to download an additional software for the same thing .
    And I'd be subscribing to your emails,straight away!

  38. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    This did not work for me but I downloaded VLC and everything is fine

  39. Juud
    February 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Hey there,

    Thanks for taking your time to help out! I tried everything, but failed miserably. I downloaded several different subtitles of the same episode, but they all failed; other subtitles with other episodes work perfectly, though. I prefer using WMP over VLC, but somehow, these episode's subtitles won't work on WMP. They DO work on VLC. I really don't understand how this is possible, seeing that other SRT-files DO work in WMP. Do you have any idea how I can fix this?

    Keep up the good work!

    • Mishal
      May 22, 2015 at 8:36 am

      I went thru same.. then downloaded Greenfish Subtitle Player. its awesome.. try it

  40. vmd13
    February 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    didn't work...

  41. Ankit
    February 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Didn't work for me :(

  42. roula
    January 20, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    thanks man it worked

  43. Anon
    January 12, 2014 at 5:51 am

    This totally worked. Had to make sure the subtitles have the same name AND do the directVobSub thing

  44. anon
    January 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    This does not work on windows 8.1

    have an alternative?

    your method is download DirectVobSub
    as others

    • tuga guy
      February 11, 2014 at 3:05 am

      i should have read your comment earlier.
      do you know why's that?
      is there already any valid alternative?

  45. shir
    December 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    it didn't work

  46. mazhar
    December 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

    your method didn't worked. waste of time

  47. Shehan N
    November 2, 2013 at 6:11 am

    yeah... VLC's better...

  48. Abed I
    November 1, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Usually if I want subtitles I would use Greenfish Subtitle Player, it displays subtitles in an external windows and you can put it anywhere on your screen and it comes in a variety of languages.

    But this was helpful non the less and it is more simple, might use it sometimes.

    You can read a review and download it from here: http://goo.gl/ouz8MI

    • Mishal
      May 22, 2015 at 8:34 am

      nothing worked but just ur thing worked.. its awesome .thnx

  49. Pushkar Y
    November 1, 2013 at 6:13 am

    for videos = VLC
    for songs = WMP

  50. Dany B
    October 31, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    The 2 Best video players are VLC and Media Player Classic Home sima that you install with the CCCP Codec pack.

  51. Bruno C
    October 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    It's way better to simply install VLC or SMPlayer.