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Free Programs that Bring DVD Playback to Windows 8

Microsoft decided to leave out DVD playback in Windows 8. Even though it includes Windows Media Player, it no longer supports DVD playback. Here’s six free programs that allow you to play DVDs in the new OS.

No DVD Playback Support

I inserted a DVD into my Windows 8 Release Preview computer just to see what it does. It sees the DVD, but there’s no native playback. Microsoft is taking out codecs if previously included in every release.

DVD in Drive

It just read the data files on the optical disc.

Files on Disc

VLC Media Player

First, take a look at our favorite media player – VLC. It has been a mandatory program on all of my Windows and Mac systems. It plays virtually any music or video file type out there. After installing VLC, it adds itself to the Context Menu. Open Computer, right click on the DVD drive and select Play with VLC Media Player.

Play with VLC

VLC Media Player

Windows Media Center

Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, removed Windows Media Center from Windows 8. But, you can install it as a separate download. Check out how to install Windows Media Center pack to Windows 8 Pro.

It’s currently free through January 2013. You’ll need Windows 8 Pro, or if you have the core version, you’ll need to purchase the Pro upgrade with Media Center.

GOM Media Player

GOM Media Player will play DVDs on your Windows 8 system as well as virtually every other type of multimedia file. When installing GOM Player, be sure to select Custom Installation and uncheck the crapware it tries to install on your system.

Gom Crapware

Click the GOM icon on the upper left of the player and select DVD drive. The first time I used it, I had to click Find Codec. It brings you to a GOM site where you can download and install the codec to play the DVD.

GOM Playing DVD


KMPlayer is another Open Source media player that’s free and allows you to play your DVDs as well as multiple media file types.


Daum Potplayer

Daum Potplayer feels a lot like KMPlayer with more features. And it should – the same developer of KMPlayer built it. It too supports playing a large number of file types as well as DVD support. Another advantage of Potplayer is it supports Blu-ray playback too.



Another groovy choice is UMPlayer. It includes codecs for more media files and comes with some cool skins for the player. It also works with TV Tuner Cards, YouTube and SHOUTcast.



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3 Responses to Free Programs that Bring DVD Playback to Windows 8

  1. zack July 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Love UMPlayer too.

    • Steve Krause July 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

      UMPlayer… really? Never heard of it before. Will have to try it out.
      how does it compare to vlc? any features you like vs. VLC?

  2. Fandrew Fanderson January 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    This is ridiculous. I can’t get VLC to play, the traffic cone sits there and taunts me :'(

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