How to Make Windows Media Player Play DVDs

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.

Compact disks
credit: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Step

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

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

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

Step

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

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.”

Step

You can get a free decoder from a website such as Software Patch (a link is provided below in the Resources section).