"Cannot play back the file. The format is not supported. (Error=80040265)" error message when you try to play a media file in Windows Media Player

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 842180 - View products that this article applies to.
Expand all | Collapse all

Summary

When you try to play a media file by using Microsoft Windows Media Player, you receive the following error message:
Cannot play back the file. The format is not supported. (Error=80040265)

Cause

This issue may occur for one or more of the following reasons:
  • One or more Windows Media Player files are missing or damaged.
  • You are trying to play a media file that has a file format that Windows Media Player does not support. For example, you are trying to play a .viv file. Windows Media Player does not support .viv files.
  • The media file is damaged.
  • The media file uses a codec that is not installed.
  • The media file uses a codec that Windows Media Player does not support.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, follow these steps. After you complete each step, test to determine whether the issue is resolved.

Note Windows Media Player supports the most common media file formats. However, it does not support every media file format that is currently available. In step 1, make sure that Windows Media Player supports the format of the file that you are trying to play. If Windows Media Player does not support that format, do not perform the steps after step 1. Instead, contact the distributor of that file to see whether a viewer for the file is available.

Note Because there are several versions of Microsoft Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, see your product documentation to complete these steps.
  1. Verify that Windows Media Player supports the file format that you are trying to play. Windows Media Player supports the following file formats:
    • Windows Media formats: .asf, .asx, .avi, .wav, .wax, .wma, .wm, .wmv
    • Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) formats: .m3u, .mp2v, .mpg, .mpeg, .m1v, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .mpe, .mpv2
    • Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) formats: .mid, .midi, .rmi
    • UNIX formats: .au, .snd
    Note Windows Media Player does not support playing .avi files that were created by using the Microsoft MPEG4v3 codec. Microsoft supports MPEG4v3 files in .asf streaming format only. These files are not supported in an .avi file type. To play the file, you must encode the file again by using the original source in a supported format, such as the .wmv format. To do this, you can use the Windows Media Encoder. For additional information, visit the following Microsoft Web site, and then click Windows Media Encoder in the Select Download list:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download
    If you have access to the original source, contact the creator of the file and request that the creator convert the file to a supported Windows Media Player file format.
  2. Verify that you can play a media file that uses the same file name extension as the file that you were playing when you received the error message.

    For descriptions and samples of file formats that are supported by Windows Media Player, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    316992 Windows Media Player multimedia file formats
    If the other file plays correctly, the original file you that were trying to play may be damaged. If you receive an error message when you play both of the files, go to the next step.
  3. Remove Windows Media Player, restart the computer, and then reinstall Windows Media Player.
    1. To remove Windows Media Player, follow these steps:
      1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Add or Remove Programs.
      2. In the Currently installed programs list, click Microsoft Windows Media Player, and then click Change/Remove.
      3. When you are prompted to confirm the removal, click Yes.

        Note You cannot remove the built-in version of Windows Media Player by using this method. For additional information about how to remove Windows Media Player 9 Series, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
        http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/9series/readme.aspx#removeplayer
    2. Restart the computer.
    3. To download the latest version of Windows Media Player, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
      http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/AllDownloads.aspx
  4. Reinstall the latest version of Microsoft DirectX. For additional information about troubleshooting and installing DirectX, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    179113 How to download and install DirectX
    157730 How to determine the version of DirectX using the DirectX Diagnostic Tool
  5. Verify that you are using the correct codec for the media file that you are trying to play. For additional information about verifying, installing, and troubleshooting audio codecs, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    142731 How to install and remove codecs and MCI devices in Windows
    141801 Troubleshooting audio and video codecs in Windows 95/98
    191533 Media Player cannot play .avi file using Indeo 4.x codec
    221831 Unable to download the appropriate decompressor
  6. Start Registry Editor and then verify that the following registry subkey and its associated values exist. To start Registry Editor, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

    Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows


    Registry subkey:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{da4e3da0-d07d-11d0-bd50-00a0c911ce86}\Instance\{083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86}
    Associated entries and their values:
    Collapse this tableExpand this table
    NameDataType
    CLSID{083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86} String Value
    FriendlyNameDirectShow FiltersString Value
    Merit00600000DWORD Value
    If this subkey exists and if its associated values are correct, quit Registry Editor.

    If this key does not exist, create it. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Locate and then click the following subkey:
      HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{da4e3da0-d07d-11d0-bd50-00a0c911ce86}\Instance
    2. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
    3. Type {083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86}, and then press ENTER.
    4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click String Value.
    5. Type CLSID, and then press ENTER.
    6. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    7. Type {083863F1-70DE-11d0-BD40-00A0C911CE86}, and then click OK.
    8. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click String Value.
    9. Type FriendlyName, and then press ENTER.
    10. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    11. Type DirectShow Filters, and then click OK.
    12. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    13. Type Merit, and then press ENTER.
    14. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    15. Type 600000, and then click OK.
    16. Quit Registry Editor.

References

For additional information about other error messages that you may receive when you try to play Windows Media Player files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
234019 Windows Media Player invalid file format error message

Properties

Article ID: 842180 - Last Review: May 13, 2013 - Revision: 9.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.0
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.1
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.4
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 7.0
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 9 Series
Keywords: 
kbtshoot kberrmsg kbprb KB842180

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com