How do I play a movie file in Windows?

To play a movie file in Microsoft Windows requires that you use a use a media player that is capable of supporting the movie file you're attempting to play.

Playing .AVI, .WMV, and .MPEG movie files
Playing .DV and .MOV movie files
Playing .RA and .RV movie files
Other recommended Media Players

Playing .AVI, .WMV, and .MPEG movie files

Windows Media PlayerMicrosoft Windows comes with the Microsoft Windows Media Player (shown in the picture) that is capable of playing .AVI, .MP4, and .MPEG, .MPG, and .WMV movie files.

To open Windows Media Player and play the file by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. Go to Programs, Accessories, and then Entertainment
  3. Click Windows Media Player.

Once this program has been opened you can open the movie file through this program by clicking File, Open, and browsing to the location of the movie file or by dragging the movie file or the folder containing the movie files to the Windows Media Player.

Tip: You can also select multiple movie files at once and drag them to the Windows Media Player to play all of the movies selected.

In addition to the above recommendation for playing movie files you can also double-click the movie file to start playing the file immediately. However, if the movie file has been associated with a different program it may not open in Windows Media player.

Playing .DV and .MOV movie files

Picture of Apple QuicktimeApple QuickTime (shown in the image to the right) is the Apple Mac OS default media player and also a popular media player for Microsoft Windows users to play .MOV files. Apple QuickTime is the recommended media player for .DV and .MOV files, however, is also capable of playing .AVI and .FLC files.

To open Apple QuickTime in Microsoft Windows follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. Go to Programs, QuickTime, and click QuickTime Player. If QuickTime is not found it is not installed on your computer. See the QuickTime definition for a link to where to download and install this program.

Once this program has been opened you can open the movie file through this program by clicking File, Open, and browsing to the location of the movie file or by dragging the movie file to Apple QuickTime.

Tip: You can also select multiple movie files at once and drag them to the Windows Media Player to play all of the movies selected.

In addition to the above recommendation for playing movie files you can also double-click the movie file to start playing the file immediately. However, if the movie file has been associated with a different program it may not open in Windows Media player.

Playing .RA and .RV movie files

RealAudio or RealVideo (.RM) and RealVideo (.RV) movie files can by played through the RealPlayer. This program does not come pre-installed with all versions of Microsoft Windows so if you're attempting to play these files you need to download this program before you'll be able to play these files.

Once RealPlayer has been installed on your computer it can be opened through the Program files under the Start menu. To play a file a movie file either click File and select open and browse to the location of the movie file or drag the movie file to the RealPlayer window.

In addition to the above recommendation for playing movie files you can also double-click the movie file to start playing the file immediately. However, if the movie file has been associated with a different program it may not open in Windows Media player.

Other recommended Media Players

VLC media Player

VLC playerVLC media player is an extremely powerful, open-source, and free software program capable of playing DVDs, VCDs, WMA, MPEG, AVI, ASF, MOV, MP4, and many more. The program is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, BeOS, and many more platforms.

If you are having trouble viewing a movie file or just want a different media player you can download this program at: http://www.videolan.org/vlc

MPC-HC

The Media Player Classic Home Cinema, or MPC-HC, is a light-weight and improved version of the Media Player Classic application for the Microsoft Windows operating system. If you are looking for another alternative media player try downloading MPC-HC at: http://mpc-hc.org/

Winamp

Another excellent media player in Winamp, which is also capable of playing several of the movie files mentioned above. This program can be found at: http://www.winamp.com

Additional information