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How to Enable MKV Playback in Windows Media Center

Play MKV files using Windows Media Center

In Windows 7, Media Center comes pre-installed – but it isn’t necessarily set up properly.  In our two previous articles for Windows Media Center, we showed you how you can set up Windows Media Center for the first time and how you can rebuild your Media Center library.  Another thing that Windows Media Center is missing is playback support for Matroska Video (MKV) files.  With the rising popularity of the MKV format, this can become quite troublesome.  In this tutorial we’ll learn how to use a work-around to add MKV playback ability to Windows Media Center.

 

Step 1 – Download FFDShow Tryouts

Adding MKV playback support to Windows Media Center doesn’t take much, in fact  it mostly involves downloading a few codecs.  Let’s start with the first one: Download FFDShow Tryouts.

Once the download is finished go ahead and run the installer, it is pretty straight-forward.

NoteIf you are running a 64-bit operating system you will need to also download this file to enable 64-bit rendering.

FFDShow tryouts - download now

Step 2 – Download Gabest’s MKV Splitters

Now we need one more codec called Gabest’s MKV Splitters.

Download the 32-bit version or download the 64-bit version depending on which version operating system you are running.

Once downloaded, Extract the contents of the archive to the C:\ directory* (root) of your computer.

*Or whatever custom directory you’ve installed Windows to.

gabest splitter to the c drive

Now that the contents are on your C:\ drive,  Right-Click the gabest_splitter_enable.cmd file and select Run as administrator.

gabest splitter enable run as administrator

A messages will pop up confirming that the installation was a success.

dllregisterserver succeeded

Step 3 – Downloading the Registry Modification

The last thing you need to do is to download and open a registry file. Again, there is a different version for 32-bit and 64-bit computers.

Download the 32-bit version

or Download the 64-bit version

Optional: If you are curious as to what keys the registry files will be editing, just Right-Click the registry file and Select Open with > Notepad.

edit registry file with notepad

Once downloaded, Right-Click the registry file and Select Merge (this will require administrator privileges).

If a warning dialog pops up, Click Yes to continue.

add registry file to the computer

Once it is done adding the new keys to the registry, you’ll see a pop-up saying “…successfully added to the registry.”  Click OK to finish.

successfully aded registry keys to computer

Done!

You should now be able to enjoy MKV videos using Windows Media Center without any problems!

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33 Responses to How to Enable MKV Playback in Windows Media Center

  1. Shirley Cornwell February 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I got to the gabest part but when I dbl click on it to install it I get a message…The module “C:\MatroskaSplitter.ax” failed to load.
    Make sure the binary is stored at the specified path or debug it to check for problems with the binary or dependent DLL files.
    The specified module could not be found.
    Where did I go wrong?

    • dw96 February 20, 2011 at 7:45 am #

      After downloading the archive you need to extract the files to the C: directory (root). Otherwise the install won’t work.

      • Per February 25, 2013 at 10:31 am #

        Stefan

        After i installed this process i can see all the mkv file’s in my wmp center
        But if i try to play the center restarts or shutts down

        I am running Windows 8 with WMCE

        Can you help

        Per

  2. basector March 9, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Thanks! This worked perfectly on my windows 7 x64 box. I uninstalled the combined communicty codecs pack first, then followed these directions and now media center plays my .mkv videos. Awesome!

  3. Neil March 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Hello, thanks for the post! Video and audio work great but i can’t seem to get subtitles to work. Any idea’s? Thanks, Neil.

  4. moomin December 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    so far so gd!, now for mkv files with subs……

  5. will January 28, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    any way to be able to upgrade the media center on my xbox360!? it won’t play .mkv files, but the media center on my computer does.

  6. sharvit February 1, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    the reg file fucked all my comutet aoudio.
    in songs and movies (even in youtube) when someone talk (or singing in songs) its unable to heare the talks, like a karaoke.

    sos.. please…

    • Andrew February 6, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      You need to make sure both Windows and FFDShow have your correct speaker set-up. If you have only stereo speakers, have that set or speech might be set to a non-existent middle speaker of a 5.1 system.

      Go to “Start button -> all programs -> ffdshow -> audio”

      Also – thanks Stefan for this tip.

      • Chase February 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

        it is saying I do not have permission to extract to my c:\ drive but I am logged on as administrator.

        • josh June 1, 2012 at 8:17 am #

          I have this problem aswell any ideas on how to fix?

  7. DuggieFresh5 March 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Worked like a charm. Good, clear directions and screen shots!

  8. snafder May 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks for the easy steps….appreciate that you took the time to explain this.

    Worked a treat.

    NOTE: I run Win7 64bit and when I went to the FFDShow Tryouts link – there was a 64 bit version which I downloaded and ran. I skipped this part ” If you are running a 64-bit operating system you will need to also download this file to enable 64-bit rendering.” and it is still working a treat.

    Suspect they’ve added the 64bit tryout after this post was written – but either way…reg edits and all…she’s working a beauty.

    Thanks again.

  9. snafder May 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Although I must also note that I’d previously installed the Matroska codec pack and the Community Codec pack… – not sure if any of the stuff in there allowed me to skip the additional 64bit rendering file or whether it was the 64 bit tryouts installer…I suspect the latter.

  10. Jessalyn.Ashley June 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Thanks so much! Easy as pie to do and worked immediately!

  11. Paul July 6, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    Worked perfectly thanks. I’m about to go look but any guides on how to then get the mkv to work via xbox360 media center connection?

  12. frunzik July 17, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    it works, can play mkv files with wmc, but i can’t see mkv files in Movies > Movie library. should i? and if not, how to persuade wmc to show mkv files there?

  13. alpo August 22, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Thank you!

  14. Eric Julien November 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Anyone try this procedure on Windows 8 ? Video work on WMP but on WMC app crash if I try to play a mkv video ! :(

  15. anon December 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    Thank you so much, worked like a charm for me: Windows 7, 64-bit.

    Looked sketchy with the .cmds but it was all good. Sometimes the videos can be buggy when fastforwarding but it’s fine. Thanks, mate!

  16. Tim O'Connell December 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Just tried this on Windows 8 media center…. yeah now I can’t even view a folder with MKV’s in it without the whole thing crashing. Going to look on google for a fix… otherwise I will have to start all over…

    • Stephen Cagigal January 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      Did you fix it? What I did was uninstall the second download in step 1. So it plays in WMP but no sound for WMC. Have you figured anything out?

  17. Stephen Cagigal January 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Works great but…. no sound Please help! Also video shows up on Xbox but very pixelated, no sound as well

  18. Ivan K February 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    Works like a charm so-far, at least locally on the Win7 Machine. WMC on the XBOX doesnt appear to see the videos in my PC library w/ the .mkv extension.

  19. Laleyenda April 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    IT dosnt work on vista ultimate 32 bit… anybody know another guide… i can find the mkv files but it keep saying it cannot open them, either damage or wrong codec…?? help

  20. richarrp April 10, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Some of my MKV’s have multiple audio languages. How do I disable the other languages so I don’t have multiple languages going all at once? BTW, this tutorial was awesome. Thanks.

  21. pecck April 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Worked perfectly, except for forced subtitles.

  22. swoosh42 April 21, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Just installed in Win8 64 and I’m crashing every time I try to navigate to a directory. Please help with either a fix (obviously preferred) or an uninstall…

    Thanks so much!

  23. Mikey April 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    What about m2ts files with DTS-HD master audio? I can play mkvs with and the audio works, but the m2ts files play with no sound.

  24. looony May 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    ok works fine but i got 2 audio tracks runnig at the same time :D
    its realy anoying to hear german and english together :)

  25. johannes r June 27, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    For win8 Mediacenter, SKIP the part with “Note: if you are using a 64bit…”. Just install the fddshwo tryouts 64bit Version. works for me.

  26. Mike September 21, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    Worked for me after following the instructions and then restarting the computer on Windows 7 32bit and can now play mkv files in media center on the PC. I don’t know about on the 360 yet.

  27. Simes February 8, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Works a charm on windows 8.1 32-bit.

    Running on a Dell latitude 10. NB: i configured ffdshow to use Intel Quick Sync; figured as this was intel atom device. 1080i content now flawless…

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