Windows Media Player support for DVD playback is dependent upon the presence of a supported decoder, either hardware or software, and a supported DVD drive. When these are present, Windows Media Player provides DVD features and configuration options in the user interface.
The playback for DVD, which is provided by DirectShow, uses advanced features of your video hardware, such as the Video Mixing Renderer (VMR).
To troubleshoot DVD playback:
- Verify that a compliant decoder is installed: In Windows Media Player, on the Tools menu, click Options to see if the DVD tab is available. If a compatible decoder is not properly installed, the DVD tab will not be available.
For instructions on verifying if a compliant decoder is installed, please see article Q306331, which is listed at the end of the "More Information" section of this article.
- If you are unable to successfully play a DVD, try playing a different title to make sure that the problem is not content specific.
- If the problems continue, test in the player that was provided by the DVD decoder (if one was included). If this combination does not work, Windows Media Player will not work either. Further troubleshooting is not warranted until the native player works properly with the decoder. Please contact the decoder provider for more information.
- After you verify that the native player works properly with the decoder, try reinstalling the DVD decoder software as well as applying any necessary patches.
- Attempt to play other media that relies on DirectShow, such as playing a .wmv file by using Mplayer2.exe. To start MPlayer2.exe, click Start, click Run, type mplayer2, and then click OK.
- Try reducing video hardware acceleration in Windows Media Player:
If doing this enables you to play DVDs, it indicates that there is a problem with your display adapter or driver. It may be possible to obtain an updated driver from the display adapter manufacturer.
- In Windows Media Player, on the Tools menu, click Options.
- On the Performance tab, under Video Acceleration, move the slider closer to None, then click OK.
- The next troubleshooting step is to reduce display settings:
Some display drivers cannot support DVD playback at higher resolutions and color depths. If this solution works, by using an updated driver, you may be able to play the DVD at higher color depths and resolutions.
- Click Start, click Run, and then type desk.cpl in the Open box. Or, right-click an empty area of the desktop, and then click Properties.
- On the Settings tab, move the screen resolution slider to 800 X 600.
- Select 16-bit for the color quality, and then click OK.
In general, failures can be anticipated as problems with the decoder installed; However, the decoder may not be compatible with Windows XP, so consult the manufacturer for compatibility and update information.
Please see the following Microsoft Windows hardware compatibility list for approved DVD decoders:
For additional information, click the article number below
to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Supported Software MPEG-2 DVD Decoders in Windows Media Player for Windows XP
The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
How to manage devices in Windows XP
Article ID: 306318 - Last Review: June 19, 2014 - Revision: 6.0
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.