How to Make Windows Media Player Play DVDs

By Melinda Gaines

Many people choose to watch DVDs on their computers and laptops as opposed to a traditional DVD player. This is especially useful to those who are traveling or are away from home, as watching movies on a computer is more convenient at these times. While there are programs you can pay for to play DVDs on your computer, Windows Media Player is a free tool that is widely used. Some people may run into difficulty getting Windows Media Player to play their DVDs, but this problem is easy to fix.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer or laptop
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Windows Media Player
  • DVD
  • DVD decoder

Step 1

Ensure your computer has a DVD-ROM drive and Windows Media Player installed. You can get the latest version of Windows Media Player for free from the Microsoft website.

Step 2

Launch the Windows Media Player program by double-clicking on the Windows Media Player icon if it is located on your desktop. Alternatively, you can select it from your start-up menu or taskbar.

Step 3

Open the DVD drive and insert your disc, label side up, then close the DVD drive.

Step 4

Allow the DVD to start immediately if you have auto-play enabled, or select it manually from the Windows Media Player menu. Choose “Play” from the menu and then select “DVD, VCD or CD Audio.”

Step 5

Download a decoder if you get the following error message when you try to play DVDs with Windows Media Player: “Windows Media Player cannot play the DVD because a compatible DVD decoder is not installed on your computer.”You can get a free decoder from a website such as Software Patch (a link is provided below in the Resources section).