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Article ID: 291818 - Last Review: July 2, 2010 - Revision: 4.0

This article was previously published under Q291818


This article describes how to download codecs automatically in Windows Media Player for Windows XP.


Windows Media Player may not be able to play a portion of content that you select because that content requires a codec that either could not be downloaded to your computer, or is not supported by Windows Media Player. By default, Windows Media Player downloads codecs automatically when you need them to play a file.

To enable automatic download of codecs:
  1. In Windows Media Player, click Tools, and then click Options.
  2. Click the Player tab, and then click to select the Download codecs automatically check box under Automatic updates, if the check box is not already selected.
  3. Click OK.
After you complete this procedure, try to play the file again. If the audio or video portion of the file is still missing, the file may require a codec that is not supported by Windows Media Player.

For additional information about the codecs that are supported in Windows Media Player for Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
291948  ( ) Windows Media Player for Windows XP Supported Codecs
For additional information about how to determine which codec you need to playback an .avi file, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
279242  ( ) Error Message When You Try to Play an .avi File with Windows Media Player
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use ( for other considerations.
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Retired KB ArticleRetired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
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