Playing .avi files

I’ve got some .avi files I’d like to play, but my Windows Media Player won’t play them. Is there something I could download to either play them, or convert them to mpegs?

Maybe whoever answeres this question can help me out with mine also. I have an AVI file that won’t show the video. It’s about 3 hours long and has all the audio but no video. Any ideas?

Generally, the codec used for AVI files is the DivX codec. This is not included with windows, so you can have trouble. Download DivX 5.01 from, that should do it. You won’t need the “pro” version unless you plan to actually make movies yourself.

Windows media player will usually download some codecs but not DivX which you can get at

I recommend you only download the codec and not the player

Some AVI files are compressed with a key called a codec, and you need to download the codec to be able to view them.

If you open an .avi file in Wordpad and look in the first few lines of gibberish that come up, you will see the string “vids” followed by the four-character name of the codec required for that AVI.

For example: vidsIV32 means that the file needs the IV32 codec to play.

Once you know the name of the codec you can search for it and download it. As far as I know, they’re all free.

Then you can go the easy way and clcik on properties - details and you will get that and more information like:

160 x 120, 24 Bits, 364 Frames, 15.000 Frames/Sec, 62 KB/Sec, Cinepak Codec
160 x 120, 24 Bits, 373 Frames, 12.549 Frames/Sec, 93 KB/Sec, Indeo® video 5
160 x 120, 24 Bits, 210 Frames, 7.011 Frames/Sec, 42 KB/Sec, IR32
356 x 240, 24 Bits, 5500 Frames, 30.000 Frames/Sec, 43 KB/Sec, DIVXMPG4 V3

Yeah, but it makes me feel all 1337 if I figure out what files are by opening them in Wordpad.

I have tried that and if I don’t have the CODEC, it just says “unknown format”.

(To get the CODEC name I do a command line op:
strings foo.avi | head
those of you without Unix utils on your PC are on your own!)