Why am I having trouble playing a DVD on my computer?

On Windows XP:

Because the default settings in Windows Media Player no longer enable video DVD playback, you may have to take a few extra steps in order to play a DVD on a your computer.

  1. First, make sure that the computer's optical drive is capable of reading DVD media. Typically, the drive would be listed as "DVD-ROM", "DVD R/RW" or similar under My Computer, and the DVD logo would appear on the drive itself.
  2. If you see an error from Windows Media Player that says "compatible DVD decoder not installed," this means that a plugin (called an mpeg-2 decoder) needed to play DVDs is not installed. The Windows Media Player plugin is sold for a fee. However, the VLC Player program, available free of charge, will enable you to play DVDs or any type of video file. We recommend downloading this software from in order to play DVDs on your computer.

If you would prefer to purchase the Windows Media Player plugin, please see this article from Microsoft for more information on how to do so.

On Windows Vista:

What edition of Windows Vista am I using?

Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise:

You may need to install a compatible DVD decoder (also known as a MPEG-2 decoder) to enable DVD playback. To purchase a compatible DVD decoder, visit Plug-ins for Windows Media Player.

Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, Windows Vista Ultimate Edition:

Refer to these instructions to Play a CD or DVD in Windows Media Center.

On Windows 7:

All editions of Windows 7 include full DVD support via Windows Media Center.

On a Mac (OS X >10.3):

Our DVDs should play like any other DVD, using the preinstalled DVD Player program. If the DVD does not show up on the desktop, refer to these instructions from Apple.

On Linux:

Our DVDs should play like any other DVD, using your DVD Player of choice.

On a consumer DVD player:

Our DVDs should play like any other DVD.