How to Convert WMV Files to AVI in Linux

By Justin H. Pot

Those who've recently become Linux users probably have all sorts of leftovers from their Windows days, including Windows Media Videos, or WMVs. These videos are meant to be played with Windows Media Player, but can also be played in Linux with the right codecs. Many would rather avoid keeping WMV files in Linux, but want to keep the actual videos. Converting these files to AVI is a good way to do this.

Step 1

Install ffmpeg. How to do this varies depending on the Linux distro used. In Ubuntu, for example, open a Terminal (click "Applications," then "Accessories," then "Terminal") and type "sudo apt-get install ffmpeg" to install the program. Consult your distro's website to find out how package management works on your system, and install the package named "ffmpeg."

Step 2

Open a terminal (click "Applications," then "Accessories," then "Terminal") and point it toward the folder where the WMV video is using the "cd" command. For example, if the video is in a folder in the home directory named "Videos," then type "cd Videos" and hit "Enter." If it's in a folder called "oldvideos/wmv," then type "cd oldvideos/wmv" and hit "Enter."

Step 3

Convert the file. Type "ffmpeg -i" followed by the name of the source WMV file, followed by the name of the AVI file to be created. For example, if converting a file named "awesomeexplosion.wmv" to avi, type "ffmpeg -i awesomeexplosion.wmv awesomeexplosion.avi" and hit "Enter."

Tips & Warnings

  • While typing long files names at the command line, try hitting the "Tab" key. It will often auto-complete file names for you.

References & Resources