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How to fix the can’t play video error on Windows 10

Videos files can be damaged partially or completely. The damaged part is basically missing data or an error from when the file was coded. If the video file was downloaded, it is possible that there was some data loss during the download.

Damaged files aside, sometimes a perfectly good file that should play without any problem fails to play. On Windows 10, you can play almost all types of video files in the Movies & TV app. If you’re getting the ‘Can’t play’ video error on Windows 10, here are a few things you can try.

Fix Can’t play error on Windows 10

The ‘Can’t play’ error is often accompanied by an error code and they’re as useful as you would expect a Windows 10 error code to be. Regardless of what error code you get, try the following fixes.

1. Try a different video player

It’s possible the file is damaged, or it’s possible the Movies & TV app or Windows 10 has a problem with the codec that was used. The easiest way to determine this is to play the file in another app.

  1. Download and install VLC player.
  2. Right-click the file that is throwing the Can’t Play error.
  3. From the context menu, go to Open With>VLC Player.
  4. Wait for the file to play.

If the file does not play in VLC player, it is likely damaged. For that, we have a few fixes.

2. Convert the file

It’s possible that converting the file to a different format, or to the same format it is in, will fix problems with playback. This works if the error has to do with codec related information written to the file’s header. If data is missing in the file e.g. all the frames didn’t download, this solution will not work.

  1. Open VLC player (or any other app that you can use to convert files).
  2. Go to Media>Convert/Save.
  3. Click the Add button and select the file that isn’t playing.
  4. Click the Browse button next to the Destination field and select where the output file should be saved and what it should be named.
  5. Click the Convert/Save button.
  6. Allow the file to be converted to MP4. This may take some time.
  7. Once converted, play the file in VLC.

3. Download the file again

If the file is damage to the point where it cannot be played even after another conversion round, you’re going to have to download it again. If the file originated from a recording device like a camera or a phone, and you copied it, try copying it again.

If you cut the file from the camera, you may be out of luck. One thing you can try is pasting it back to the camera’s storage and playing it on the camera (if supported), and then copying it again to your desktop.


The ‘Can’t play’ error is vague but it is often a problem with unsupported formats. This can happen even if the file you’re trying to play is an MP4 file. A different app is often the best solution. If VLC player isn’t working for you, or the file in question is an MKV file, the next best app for the job may be PotPlayer.

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