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A Reader Asks: Can't play DVD's in Windows Vista 32/64-bit?  - A Reader Asks: Can't play DVD's in Windows Vista 32/64-bit?
Thu, April 12 2007 | 4:07PM | PermaLink Feedback?

A Reader Asks: Can't play DVD's in Windows Vista 32/64-bit?

Q: I recently got a new notebook with a dual layer DVD writer that runs on Microsoft Windows Vista Business. When I went to use the DVD drive to watch a movie it wouldn't play any video, there was sound and I could choose between different chapters on the DVD, but no video? I tried playing back the DVD with Windows Media Player 11, the default option that comes with the OS, but no luck. Even tried it with VLC which is supposed to play just about anything... again all I got was a blank screen with the audio track running in the background. Why can't I watch the DVD, is this something to do with HDCP or Microsoft DRM?

A: Hey there, can't play DVD's in Windows Vista? You're not alone, but don't fret. This problem happens because Microsoft Windows Vista does not support DVD playback evenly across all its many versions; only Vista Ultimate and Home Premium have the MPEG/2 codec installed out of the box. Notebooks and desktop computers running Vista Business or Vista Home Basic lack this crucial software component, preventing them from playing DVDs. For the new Vista user settling down to watch a favourite movie, there is nothing more alarming than the unexpected blank DVD screen that results... no matter if its Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11), PowerDVD, VLC or another media player. Luckily, fixing this isn't difficult.

Oddly enough Vista Business doesn't offer any great help, instead suggesting an "upgrade to Vista Ultimate", or in our tests with WMP11 to "reduce screen resolution". There is no need to upgrade the entire operating system just to watch a DVD, and screen size is just fine. The fix is much simpler, and in usual PCSTATS form it won't cost you cent. ;-)

Because Vista Business / Home Basic do not have the proper codecs to handle DVD information by default, we need to install a third-party codec package. A good choice is K-Lite Codec Pack 2.81 Standard ( ), it covers all your DVD watching needs, and a good many other codecs too. Install the default set, or select just the codec you need. Download K-Lite from the link above, install it and restart your media player of choice. Codec's are like drivers for media files, so whichever media player you choose to watch DVDs on will work once this is done. If you are running Windows Vista X64 Business with the 64-bit version of Windows Media Player 11 , you will need K-Lite Codec Pack 64-bit Add-on 0.4.0. It can be found here ( ).

Windows Vista x64 users may want to take one final step. As you may know, 64-bit Windows Vista defaults to the 32-bit version of Windows Media Player 11 to ensure broad file and media compatibility. The 32-bit WMP11 program is located in the '.../ProgramFiles(x86)/' folder. There is a native 64-bit version of WMP11, located in the '.../ProgramFiles/' folder. To specify the 64-bit WMP11 as the default player for 64-bit Vista, we need to redirect program shortcuts.

Go to Start (the Vista icon in the lower left corner) > and use one of the following commands...
To set 64-bit WMP11 as default player type:unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:64
To revert to 32-bit WMP11 as the default player type:unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:32

From now on you will be able to watch DVDs in Windows Vista! If you are running Windows Vista x64, you have the choice of watching DVDs on the 64-bit version of Windows Media player 11 too. On the off chance the SwapTo command doesn't work, there is a more advanced set of commands that are detailed here.

Original URL, circa 2007:

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