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.

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. Navigate to your .mkv file, select it, and click Play.

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  4. And that’s it. Your video will open and play. Yes, it’s that simple.

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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. 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.

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  4. 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).

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  6. On the Select Additional Tasks screen, remove the checks from every box except Set Perceived Types

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  8. Make sure that all of the FFDShow Video Decoders and FFDShow Audio Decoders are all selected.

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  10. 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.

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  12. 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.

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{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Insomnic January 29, 2009, 7:02 am

    I used to hate using VLC for MKV files but they’ve made some good advances in recent versions (especially where subtitles are concerned).
    I still prefer CCCP for playback though, especially when combined with some Media Center systems.

  • Vlc Player January 31, 2009, 7:19 am

    This player simply rocks. I am in love with it.

  • zach February 2, 2009, 8:17 pm

    i think you can try theKmplayer, it’s perfect!

  • kazemizuhi February 4, 2009, 2:59 pm

    I’m pretty sure it’s Media Player Classic, not Windows Media Player Classic. At least that what it says on the applications sourceforge page and virtually everywhere esle on the internet.

    The distinction is important as most non-tech savvy people I’ve come accross assume you’re talking about the pre-installed Windows Media Player.

  • satus February 7, 2009, 3:22 am
  • ÄÇÌÇÔÑÇÓ March 28, 2009, 5:51 pm

    se euxareistw para polu!! thanks, the media player is working!!!!

  • hipnik April 7, 2009, 2:18 pm

    worked for me.

  • mayur May 5, 2009, 2:12 am

    thanks !!!

  • Svish May 23, 2009, 8:30 am

    As an alternative I suggest installing the codec solutions from http://shark007.net, which allows playing mkv files (among other formats) in windows media player and windows media center =)

  • shinnstellar July 5, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Hi there need some help here. i tried playing mkv files with the intructions from above. It works but not for all mkv files. some can play but audio and sub arent synchronised. So i was wondering if it is the fault of my com or the mkv files that i have downloaded?

  • Ben July 13, 2009, 9:43 pm

    VLC had skipping audio, so I went the MPC route. Works perfect. Thanks!

  • nicolas July 31, 2009, 3:56 pm

    thanks you are great. works just fine

  • shinnstellar August 2, 2009, 11:08 pm

    Oh well looks like i am the only one still having a problem with mkv files. Well might as well just give up on mkv files and wait for avi or mp4. Ciao guys.

  • Ansh November 18, 2009, 2:56 am

    Thnx a ton….

  • Steve_C January 11, 2010, 7:34 pm

    I downloaded VLC, and the mkv files play just fine. Thanks so much!

  • moeyas March 28, 2010, 2:14 pm

    you r friend in deed

  • Jason April 4, 2010, 9:38 am

    Thank you! These directions were simple, easy to follow, and best of all, IT WORKED!

  • Rojo April 24, 2010, 9:26 am

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

  • Katie April 27, 2010, 9:26 am

    Thank you so much! It works!

    The constant freezing, skipping and crashing of VLC player has been driving me mad.

  • Choad July 27, 2010, 9:16 pm

    i rarely post anywhere, (usually just bogart the info i need and i’m out…a one-night stand of web browsing for answers) but in this case i feel obligated. i just spent an hour trying to get Divx (which i usually trust) and 3 other converters, and was disappointed every time. divx converter comes up, you go to importbfiles, and nothing happens. the statuts, quite annoyingly, stays at 0%. you need to purchase the upgrade. same thing with the 3 others i tried.

    then i read this, DL’d VLC, it worked perfectly the very first time. absolutely no issues. great result, thanks for the info

  • Dima August 3, 2010, 2:48 am

    VLC installation asks to install some outlandish translation software, plus the plugin, plus is will hijack your browser homepage. That was way too much for me, so I passed on VLC (and everyone should, till they change the policy).

  • Arvind August 19, 2010, 12:27 am

    KM Player works fantastically well with mkv player. And thankfully, it’s freeware.
    I had trouble navigating mkv movies with VLC (haven’t tried Media Player Classic yet), but KM Player works flawlessly.

  • Snake August 28, 2010, 12:36 pm

    Thank u very much mate. i normally never write a thank you post because im a ego idiot
    . But this time, THANKS.

  • benchmarkjoe September 9, 2010, 8:29 pm

    KMP is good but still fail on some video. But you can use Splayer or VLC or ffshow with MatroskaSplitter to play with Window media player (I use this Window 7). You may have to DL them all to use because some MKV fail to work with subtitle if you watch foreign movie.

  • tee January 3, 2011, 4:01 am

    Lovely, jut great. Thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy 2011

  • Stephen May January 14, 2011, 9:59 pm

    Thanks!

    I couldn’t play .mkv files no matter what codec package I tried . . .

    Now they (and all others) look great! Good bye Media Player Classic . . . it’s been nice but you’re old news.

  • sam June 1, 2011, 7:17 am

    Hi there need some help here. i tried playing mkv files with the intructions from above. It works but not for all mkv files.in windows midea player showing error file not recognized some can play but audio and sub arent synchronised.so plz help me how i can play this file !

  • Supergirl June 10, 2011, 11:34 pm

    Thanks Ross, your first method is the easiest!!! You’re a star!

  • Erick August 9, 2011, 9:42 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andres August 19, 2011, 5:01 pm

    video works but no audio on Media player Classic. wat did i do wrong?

  • rahul September 3, 2011, 11:27 pm

    thank you…very much…i luv u guys :):):)
    now my media player classic is working fine …thanku big hug to you

  • caobgtco September 27, 2011, 7:35 am

    Thanks very much for the CCCP. After installing I was able to play MKV file through my WMP. My laptops config are
    DELL XPS 15 L502X – I7 2630 QM – Windows 7 Home Premium – 64 bits – 8 GB RAM – HD screen

  • Steve November 19, 2011, 12:35 am

    THANKS SO MUCH!!!

    The audio on my Media Classic Player works perfectly now.

  • Turina May 9, 2013, 10:01 am

    You’re a legend, THANKYOU for telling about VLC

  • mm1273 September 13, 2017, 8:47 am

    Thank you.

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