My new-ish laptop has stopped playing videos

My new-ish laptop no longer plays .wmv files. First, some specifics:

HP Pavilion DM4-1165DX
Windows 7 64-bit

Longer version: My laptop used to play videos, but one day just stopped. I can still play embedded or streaming videos in a web browser: youtube and other streaming video sites still work.

HP MediaSmart Videos is the default .wmv player on my machine. When I try to play a .wmv file I get an error message starting “Play File Error! There were some problems trying to play the video file…”

Windows Media Player ALSO FAILS to play .wmv files. It’s error message is: “Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file”

I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled HP MediaSmart Video but it doesn’t fix the problem.

Anyone have any ideas how to fix this?

Thanks for the help,

Does the manufacturer have a “Help” section? I had a problem with my Dell where the webcam stopped working after a month so I just did a live chat with them and had it fixed within an hour. You may be able to do the same thing here, it’s probably some codec issue. They’ll be able to diagnose and fix it.

I’ve called them, but apparently they have 2 levels of support. The “free” one who tried to help me last night (un- and re-installing MediaSmart Video) and the 2nd level where they want to charge me $60. Whether they should charge me for something which seems like a warranty issue (grrrr) is not the topic of this thread…

I’m trying to figure out what is wrong, or trying to figure out how to figure out what is wrong.

Any ideas?

I have an older model HP laptop than you but I know life in general got a whole lot better when I removed all the bloatware on it, including all of the HP software.

Just sayin. :slight_smile:

This might not help of course but it sure won’t hurt.

I’d recommend (if possible) completely uninstalling the HP video software.

Then, download and install Media Player Classic. It’s no frills, but has a LOT of video codecs, uses less RAM, and has some neat features I really like (one of which I love is that you can set it to only be on top of other windows if it’s currently playing a file. And spacebar pauses and un-pauses…very convenient!)

There are even plug-ins you can get (they might come standard with it now, not sure) that let you play both QuickTime and Real Media (barf) files without needing their respective players.

Like here:

You could install VLC, which supports pretty much any codec in the book and has a very good reputation. Unrelated to media player so it’s unlikely a problem effecting one will effect the other.

Actually, this was the workaround HP help did for me. VLC DOES work on my machine and seems to play .wmv files fine.

As another reference point, I also opened a blank tab in Firefox and then did an “open file” on a wmv file and the video played fine in Firefox.

Windows Media Player and HP MediaSmart Video both don’t work, however. I’d really like to get at least Windows Media Player working.


This is going to sound like a stupid question, but I have to ask – did you reboot?

I ask because I had almost the exact same issue and rebooting worked.

You’re right – problems often occur due to forgetting something basic. But, yes, in this case I did reboot.


One of the problems is that I don’t really know why the video players are failing. Is there any way to tell? Codecs were mentioned. Is there a way to tell if that’s the problem? Can I get any additional information about the error message boxes I get?


You can download codec-detecting software. I have one at home called Gspot, where you use it to open a file and it tells you what codecs you’re missing.

I have no idea why you want to get windows media player working, though. VLC blows away any other media player you could ever want. Keep in mind that this is a software issue; that’s why they want to charge you to fix it. As far as I know, warranties only cover hardware problems.

If VLC works it’s probably just a munged up Win 7 video codec. There are free replacement codec packs you can DL and install that may solve the problem. Be aware that if you uninstall Win 7’s onboard Media Player 12 you cannot then download it separately and re-install it as you could with the older media players. You may have to re-install windows to get it back (not that media player 12 is all that).

Does Windows 7 not have the option to go into add or remove programs and choose to (un)install Windows components? In XP, I can, for example, uninstall Solitaire and then install it right back.