How to play a DVD or Blu-ray movie in Windows

Updated: 12/09/2018 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Windows logo.

By default, Windows Media Player will not play optical discs. Windows users who do not have either a DVD codec or a DVD decoder will be unable to watch movies using that application. To play a DVD or Blu-ray in Windows, follow the steps below.

How to play a DVD or Blu-ray in Windows

Although there are dozens of different programs available that play movies, we suggest the free media player VLC. It is capable of not only playing all optical discs, but other movie files as well. To download, install, and use VLC, follow the steps below.


Your computer requires an optical drive that can read DVDs and Blu-ray discs to play them.

  1. Go to the VideoLAN website.
  2. In the middle of the screen, click Download VLC.

Button that allows users to download the VLC media player.

  1. Locate the download at the bottom of the browser window.

If you're having trouble locating the VLC download, see our page on where files go when they are downloaded.

  1. Click the finished download to open it and follow the installation instructions.
  2. Open the VLC media player and insert a movie into the optical drive.
  3. In the VLC media player, click the Play button in the lower-left corner.
  4. If the movie does not start immediately, an Open Media window should appear. Click the Disc tab (A), click the radio button next to DVD or Blu-ray (B), and then click Play (C).

Menu in which users choose which type of media they'd like to open in VLC.

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