Windows Media Player automatically loads codecs (short for decoder codecs or compressor compressors) to play back unsupported media files. The codec allows data to be converted from one container to another.

Automatic download of missing codecs is already available for various versions of the Windows operating system, including Windows 7 and Windows 10. Windows Media Player does not support many video and audio file formats and containers. This is a very useful feature that eliminates the need to manually search and install codecs for playing a particular video or audio file in Windows Media Player.

However, some users find it annoying and unnecessarily resource-consuming, especially when playing media files that are rarely supported by Windows Media Player. This may affect your bandwidth if you have limited resources. That’s why we’ve created a guide on how to disable this feature and prevent the codecs of the Windows Media Player from loading automatically.

To configure the codec and prevent it from automatically loading into Windows Media Player

Note that Microsoft has already removed this feature by default when you use Windows Media Player 12, the latest version of the program.

We will use the Group Policy Editor and the Registry Editor to manually set the option to prevent automatic downloading of codecs into Windows Media Player.

Prevent Windows Media Player from automatically loading codecs using Group Policy Editor

  • Open the command prompt on your Windows 10 computer by pressing the Win+R key combination.
  • Type gpedit.msc and press the OK key or the Enter key on your keyboard.
  • In the Windows Player folder, under User Settings, navigate to Playback. (Full path: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Media Player > Playback)
  • Select Preventive codec downloads.
  • Select On to activate the setting.
  • Press the OK button to save your selection.

Using the registry editor to prevent Windows Media Player codecs from loading automatically

Another method you can use to prevent Windows Media Player from automatically loading codecs is to use the Registry Editor. Be sure to create a system restore point as a standard precaution when working with registry files.

  • Press the Win+R hotkey on your Windows computer to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type regedit and press the OK or Enter key on your keyboard.
  • In the UAC pop-up window that appears, click Yes.
  • Take the next road: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoft
  • Create a new key under Microsoft > New > Key. These options can be found by right-clicking on the Microsoft folder.
  • Then name the new WindowsMediaPlayer key.
  • Then create a new value in WindowsMediaPlayer > New > DWORD value (32-bit).
  • Call the PreventCodecDownload and set the value to 1.
  • Press the OK button to save the settings.

After using one of the above methods, Windows Media Player automatically stops downloading media codecs. The option Load Codecs Automatic in the WMP settings is also disabled.

Finally, you can expect codec errors if you try to play media files that are not supported by Windows Media Player by default. You can always load the required codecs manually or simply use another media player, such as B. VLC, use.

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