You have been using your Windows computer for some time now and you usually play music and videos with Windows Media Player, the media player available as standard on Microsoft operating systems. However, when you went to a friend’s house, you noticed that the version of Media Player in use on his PC has additional features compared to yours and, now, you’d like to understand how to do it to be able to use them too, from your computer. Given the situation, know that the solution to this is most likely to go and download and install the latest updates available for the Microsoft home media player.
How do you say? You had already thought about it but, given your lack of experience, you don’t have the faintest idea of how to do it? You don’t have to worry… you can count on my help! In the following lines I will, in fact, explain to you how to update windows media player quickly and easily; moreover, I will take care to explain to you how to update any additional codecs, should these not be compatible with the new edition of the software.
How to update Windows Media Player: Windows 10 and Windows 11
So, if you really intend to find out what you need to do in order to succeed in the enterprise, I suggest you take a few minutes of free time, make yourself comfortable and concentrate carefully on reading my instructions. Are you ready? Yes? Very well, let’s begin: I wish you a good reading.
Unlike what happened previously, updates for Windows Media Player on Windows 10 And Windows 11 they are released through Windows Update, together with all other updates specific to the features and improvements of the Windows operating system.
If you wish, you can access the Windows section dedicated to updates, directly from the media player interface: to do this, click right click in an empty point of the lower bar of the program or press the key Alt of the keyboard (by doing so, the menu bar should immediately become visible), press on the menu ? and select the item Check the updates…placed inside it.
Arrived at the window of Windows Update (which you can also recall by going to the menu startby pressing the button Settings and then selecting the dedicated item from the screen that appears), press the button Check for updates and wait a few seconds for Windows to check for updates for Windows Media Player and/or other parts of the operating system.
If the search is successful, the available updates should be downloaded and installed completely automatically; if not, click the button Install or Download and installto proceed with the possible download and installation of the necessary files.
Where it was not possible to search for updates, because Windows Update notifies that the latter are managed by the organization o due to sudden error messages during download, you can try to solve the problem by restoring the operation of Windows Update: I explained how to do it in my in-depth analysis dedicated to the topic.
If then it is not possible to update Windows Update because, for some reason, the program is no longer present on the computer, you can install it again using the appropriate functionality of the operating system: therefore press the combination Win+X on the keyboard (or do right click on the button start of Windows, the one that resides on the left of the taskbar), select the item Settings from the menu that opens and press on the item/icon Appresiding within it. After that, click on the entry Optional features and follow the most suitable instructions, based on the operating system you are using.
- Windows 11: click on the button View featuresput the check mark in the box corresponding to the item Windows Media Player Legacy and click on the buttons After you And Install.
- Windows 10: press on the button Add a featureplace a check mark next to the item Windows Media Player and proceed with the installation of the program, pressing on the buttons After you And Install.
Once the procedure is complete, if prompted, press the button, item or notification to Restart your computer; the next time you log in, start Windows Media Player and, if necessary, apply the available updates, following the same instructions I gave you just now.
How to update Windows Media Player latest version: Windows 8.1 and earlier
On Windows 8.1, as well as on even earlier editions of the Microsoft operating system, things are different: updates for Windows Media Player must in fact be searched for and installed directly from the program, through the dedicated manager. However, since support for Windows 8.1 has been discontinued last January 10, 2023 (while the one for Windows 7 ended the January 14, 2020), the respective editions of Windows Media Player stopped receiving new updates starting from the dates just mentioned.
However, if your player is particularly obsolete, you can try to get any previous updates in the following way: press the button Alt of the keyboard, in order to display the program menu bar, click on the item ? and then on the wording Check for updates…, residing within the menu that appears. Following this last operation, all updates for Windows Media Player that may be available should be downloaded and installed; at the end of the procedure, the media player will restart.
Keep in mind that, in some situations, you may find yourself in front of an error message, indicating the impossibility of downloading new files: this is quite normal behavior, when dealing with unsupported operating systems, as the data of updates may have been voluntarily removed from Microsoft’s servers.
If you can’t find Windows Media Player on your computer, either because you accidentally removed the program or because you have the Windows 8.1 K/KN (the one without multimedia components, to be clear), you can deal with it by manually downloading the Media Feature Pack for Windows 8.1 N and KNavailable — at least at the time of writing — on the Microsoft website.
After connecting to the above page, choose the tongue of your edition of Windows using the dedicated drop-down menu, click on the button Download and choose whether to download the Windows Media Player edition a 32-bit or 64-bit oneby placing a check mark next to the dedicated option. Now, click the button After you and, once the download of the file is complete, click on the button Yes (if necessary) and wait for the multimedia components to be installed on the computer; passed this step too, restart your computer by pressing the dedicated button and verify that Windows Media Player has been installed on the computer, calling the program from the Start menu.
How to update Windows Media Player codecs
You’re using Windows Media Player as your media player, but you can’t play certain content because you’re getting an error message that your media are out of date codecs appropriate? In this case, try to check if there are updates for the media player, following the same instructions I gave you in the previous chapters of this guide: if available, the codecs integrated in the player will be downloaded and installed automatically.
If, on the other hand, you had one or more installed in Windows Media Player third party codecs and you want to update the latter, you must necessarily download the updates from the codec management panel, generally accessible from the dedicated Start menu folder.
Personally, I advise you to avoid using third-party codecs, as they may weigh down the computer (due to unwanted add-ons or advertisements that start by themselves); alternatively, consider replacing Windows Media Player with an alternative and more complete multimedia player, such as VLC Media Player, natively equipped with the codecs necessary to read almost all existing audio/video formats in circulation.
Finally, I would like to point out that, starting from Windows 8.1, the ability to read DVD content has been eliminated, whether or not the necessary codecs are present; therefore, if this is your real need, I invite you to evaluate the use of one of the many programs to view DVDs (even free) available on the market, certainly more modern – and more updated – than the old multimedia player from Microsoft .