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Play Flac, Ogg, and Other File Formats in Windows 7 Media Player the Easy Way

If you’re a music fan who likes Flac and Ogg files, you know WMP won’t play by them default. Here we look at installing a free small file that will add support for Flac, Ogg, and more.

We previously looked at method to make Windows 7 Media Player and WMC play FLAC files, but that method takes a bit longer. Here we take a look at Open Codecs which is a free download that lets you play Flac and other formats in WMP easier.

Windows 7 Media Player

Windows Media Player doesn’t include support for Ogg, Flac, and other music file formats natively. If you try to open a Flac or Ogg file in WMP, you’ll get errors such as this.

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Ironically, if you go to Web Help…there isn’t much help there at all for finding the correct codecs.

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Download and Install Open Codecs

Open Codecs is a free download and will allow WMP to play Ogg Vorbis, Speex, Theora, Flac, and WebM music files. Xiph.org also has a QuickTime component that will let you play Ogg files in iTunes

The installation is easy, just follow the defaults in the install wizard.

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If you had WMP open while installing Open Codecs, you’ll need to restart it. After that you can start playing Ogg and Flac files in Media Player right away. You’ll notice that the xiph.org icon takes over the file associations but the default player is WMP.

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Here you can see we’re playing Flac files in our Windows 7 Media Player Library.

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Playing Ogg and Flac Files

We ripped a CD to Ogg format using XRECODE II and added it to the WMP Library. The files would play fine, but artwork and song info was missing. To solve that…right-click on the album and select Find album info.

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Then work through the wizard that comes up to find your album info…for this album we had to do a manual search for it.

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Then we were able to update the album information and cover art.

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Here we have updated album info for our CD which was converted to Ogg format.

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There are a couple of things to keep in mind when playing Ogg files in WMP. You can’t use to go to specific parts of a song using Seek. But you can navigate to different tracks on the album.

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Also, the track length isn’t displayed which is useful to have.

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We had similar issues with Flac files too. When trying to add Flac formatted albums from Windows Home Server that were previously ripped…they would show up as Unknown.

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Also seek wouldn’t work on some Flac albums played directly from the WMP Library. However, if you play individual Ogg or Flac tracks directly from the Music folder Seek would work.

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Again with Flac files the track length isn’t displayed.

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SoftPointer Tag Support Plugin

Another utility you might want to install is the SoftPointer Tag Support Plugin for WMP. This helps Flac and Ogg files to be recognized in WMP easier.

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If you have a large library it may take a while for the plugin to gather all the album and music data. After we got it working it made organizing Flac files in the WMP Library easier. Here we still had to update album info to get the album artwork though.

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Conclusion

Overall it seemed that Ogg files played more friendly with WMP than FLAC files. Ogg files were easier to add to the Library and update current album info. After installing the tag support plugin managing the files was easier indeed. While there isn’t a “perfect” solution for playing unsupported file formats in WMP yet, if you want to play Ogg or Flac files this will do. Until a better solution becomes available, you might just want to stick with players like VLC or Foobar2000.

If you have any suggestions or tips on what you use to play unsupported file formats in WMP, leave a comment and let us know!

Download Open Codecs for Windows

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/12/10

Comments (5)

  1. SXEJesus

    i have tried doing something like this before but i had trouble finding a good solution that works well with 64bit Win7

  2. Torengo

    I use the K-Lite Codec Pack bot 32-bit and 64-bit inistalled. Works wonders

  3. Torengo

    K-Lite Codec Pack @ http://codecguide.com

  4. Alexander Demidov

    For FLAC there is a Media Foundation source/decoder here:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/mfflac/

  5. Khalid

    Works fine win7 32 – media player

    Thanks a lot

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