How to Fix a Computer That Won't Play Videos

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It's frustrating if your computer won't play videos that you want to watch. Depending on which videos you're having trouble with, it could be caused by a variety issues. Streaming video issues, such as YouTube videos not playing properly, could be caused by web browser settings, filtering software or a poor internet connection. Issues playing video files could mean you need additional software. DVD or Blu-ray playback problems could be caused by faulty hardware.


If YouTube Won't Play

YouTube is one of the most popular video streaming sites online. Its videos are embedded on other people's web pages and playable directly through the service's website and app.


Video of the Day

If a YouTube video won't play, check to see if there's any error message displayed. Sometimes you'll see a message that you're not allowed to view the video in your country or region or that the video has been removed or made private.

Videos can be taken down by whoever uploaded them to YouTube or removed by the service itself if they violate YouTube rules. In any of these cases, you won't be able to view the video, but you may be able to find a related video or another version of the same one by searching YouTube.


Otherwise, try clicking the YouTube logo on an embedded video to view the video directly on YouTube if it doesn't work on a third-party site.

When YouTube Won't Load

If the YouTube site won't load at all, or it will load but won't play videos, there may be some setting in your firewall or network settings that's blocking YouTube. If you're on a work or school connection, check to see if YouTube is blocked for other users or contact your IT department directly, since it may be blocked by a setting your organization has put in place.


If you have any browser extensions or other software designed to filter out ads or malware, you can try turning them off and seeing if it makes a difference. Also try using another web browser, or another device on your network, to see if YouTube works normally.

If the problem arises suddenly, you may want to check the news or even social media to see if there's a problem at YouTube.


If Streaming Is Slow

If streaming on YouTube or other video streaming sites is slow, or the video is low quality, this may be a sign of a poor internet connection or a computer multitasking between too many operations.


Try moving your computer closer to the wireless router if you have one. Close other programs and browser tabs to see if the streaming speed improves. Make sure you're using a recent version of your web browser, and consider trying another one to see if the situation improves.

If your internet connection seems atypically slow in general, contact your internet provider to see if the situation improves.


Problems Opening Video Files

If you have a video file stored locally on your computer and it won't play, you may not have the proper software to play it or may be using the wrong program.

Video software like Apple iTunes, Windows Media Player and VLC all support particular video formats, using tools called codecs that can handle specific formats. In some cases, you may need to download a particular codec plugin to play certain videos.


If someone sent you a video that you're having trouble playing, you can ask what software they used to play it or ask them to send it in a different format.

Trouble Playing Videos From Disc

If you're having trouble playing a video from a disc, such as a DVD or Blu-ray disc, it may be a problem with your drive or the disc.


Check to make sure the disc is clean and free from scratches. See if it will play in another device, if you have a compatible one handy.

If it does, you may have a problem with your drive. See if the drive will play another disc, and if it has similar issues, consider replacing it or having it serviced.