How to Play Animated GIFs in Windows

By Lindsay Howell

Two kinds of GIF files exist. One is animated while the other is not. When looking at the icon for a GIF file, you cannot tell the difference between the two. The difference is noticeable when the file is opened in a media player. Animated GIFs are animated picture files and animate when opened. A non-animated GIF displays just a picture. Animated GIF files commonly range from two to five megabytes in size. Many people like to send humorous animated GIFs to each other because their size is much smaller than a video file. While animated GIFs do not have any sound, they load up much faster than videos as a result. Usually, animated GIFs run only for a few seconds. In a Windows operating system, Windows Media Player plays animated GIFs by default.

Step 1

Open the folder containing the animated GIF file.

Step 2

Locate the animated GIF file inside the folder.

Step 3

Set Windows Media Player as the default media player for animated GIFs. Right-click the animated GIF and click "Properties." Click the "Change" button beside "Open with." A screen appears with a list of programs inside of it. Click on "Windows Media Player" under "Recommended Programs." Check the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" box, then click "OK" at the bottom of the screen to return to the Properties menu. Click "Apply," then "OK." Now, all animated GIFs open in Windows Media Player by default.

Step 4

Double-click the animated GIF file. Windows Media Player opens and displays the animated GIF. Press the square "Stop" button to stop the animated GIF. Close Windows Media Player when finished by clicking the "X" in the top-right corner of the screen.