How to Play .mkv Files in Windows

This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to play MKV files in Windows.

There are actually quite a few ways to play .mkv files in Windows. I won’t get into the history of what an .mkv file actually is – their home page does a great job of that.

The two methods I’ll outline are both quite easy. If you already use Media Player Classic to watch movies, you’ll probably want to go that route. If you don’t object to installing a different (and really great) media player, you’ll want to use VLC – which is now widely considered the best media player for Windows, macOS and Linux.

Method #1 – Using VLC
Method #2 – Using Media Player Classic

Using VLC to play .mkv files

  1. Start out by downloading and installing VLC. Once it’s installed, launch it and select Media -> Open File….
  2. open an MKV file in VLC to play in Windows

  3. Navigate to your .mkv file, select it, and click Play.
  4. selecting a file in VLC
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  5. And that’s it. Your video will open and play. Yes, it’s that simple.
  6. an MKV video playing in VLC
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Using Media Player Classic

  1. If you already use Media Player Classic as your video player, you can still play .mkv files, it just takes a few more steps than using VLC. When you try to open a .mkv file in Media Player Classic, it may or not play. You might get an error similar to the screenshot below, or it may play the video, but with ‘glitches’ and audio ‘hiccups’.
  2. windows media player classic error message

  3. To solve this, navigate to the Media Player Classic Options by selecting View -> Options…. From there, select Internal Filters from the left navigation window, and remove the check from the box labeled Matroska in the right window. Click Apply and then OK.
  4. Windows Media Player Classic options
    click to enlarge

  5. Now head over to the Combined Community Codec Pack home page, and download the package for your version of Windows. The installation is simple, you’ll mostly click Next and Continue a bunch of times. When you get to the section that allows you to customize what gets installed, remove the check from the box labeled Players – you won’t need either of them (as you’ll be using Media Player Classic).
  6. installing the CCCP for Windows Media Player Classic to play MKV files
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  7. On the Select Additional Tasks screen, remove the checks from every box except Set Perceived Types
  8. CCCP installer Select Additional Tasks options
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  9. Make sure that all of the FFDShow Video Decoders and FFDShow Audio Decoders are all selected.
  10. selecting encoders and decoders to install with CCCP
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  11. In the File Association section, make sure that Media Player Classic is selected, or if it’s already the program that opens when you double-click an .mkv file, No Change is selected.
  12. the File Associations section of the CCCP installer
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  13. Finish the few remaining steps, and once everything is done, double-click an .mkv file. It should load in Media Player Classic and play – both audio and video – just fine.
  14. play an MKV file in Windows using Media Player Classic
    click to enlarge

Did you know you can also play MKV files on your iPhone or Chromebook?

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8 thoughts on “How to Play .mkv Files in Windows”

  1. Easy to follow, worked first go!! Your a bloody legend!! I would of never EVER known how to do that. BIG UP!!!!

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