Play a CD or DVD in Windows Media Player

In Windows Media Player, you can play audio CDs, data CDs, and data DVDs that contain music or video files (also known as media CDs). You can also play video CDs (VCDs), which are similar to DVDs, although the video quality isn't as high.

If you have a DVD drive and a compatible DVD decoder installed on your computer, you can use Windows Media Player to play a DVD-Video disc—this is the type of DVD that movies are distributed on. If you encounter an error indicating that you are missing a DVD decoder, click Web Help on the error message dialog box to determine how to obtain a decoder.

Watch this video to learn how to play a CD or DVD in Windows Media Player (1:06)

To play a CD or DVD

  1. Insert the disc you want to play into the drive.

    Typically, the disc will start playing automatically. If it doesn't play, or if you want to play a disc that is already inserted, open Windows Media Player, and then, in the Player Library, click the disc name in the navigation pane.

  2. If you inserted a DVD, click a DVD title or chapter name.

Notes

  • If you start to play a DVD or VCD in the Player Library, the Player automatically switches to Now Playing mode. For more information about the Player Library and Now Playing mode, see Getting started with Windows Media Player.

  • The Blu‑ray Disc format is not supported in Windows Media Player. To play a Blu‑ray Disc, you need to use a non-Microsoft program that supports Blu‑ray playback and a device capable of reading Blu‑ray Discs.

  • If you previously selected Rip CD automatically on the Rip Music tab in the Options dialog box or on the Rip settings menu, a CD will immediately begin ripping after you insert it into the drive. For more information about rip settings, see Change settings for ripping music.

If you’re having trouble playing a DVD, you can try using the Windows Media Player DVD troubleshooter to automatically find and fix some common problems.

Open the Windows Media Player DVD troubleshooter by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting. Click View all, and then click Windows Media Player DVD.

If you’re having trouble with your computer's Blu‑ray drive, you can try using the Playing and Burning CDs, DVDs, and Blu‑ray Discs troubleshooter instead.

Open the Playing and Burning CDs, DVDs, and Blu‑ray Discs troubleshooter by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting. In the left pane, click View all, and then click Playing and Burning CDs, DVDs, and Blu‑ray Discs.

If you get a message that says that your computer is missing a codec or that you require a DVD decoder, you are probably trying to play, burn, or sync a file that was compressed by using a codec that Windows or the Player doesn't include by default. For more information about codecs, see Codecs: frequently asked questions.