Windows Media Player was once the default player for Windows, but that’s no longer the case with Windows 10. If you cannot find it on your computer, you will need to install and activate it. How you do this depends on which version of Windows 10 you are running.
What happened to Windows Media Player?
Windows Media Player disappeared because the European Commission ruled that Microsoft’s practice of pre-installing some software on their operating systems was anti-competitive. This ruling forced the company to offer different versions of Windows 10 that did not include Windows Media Player, Groove Music, Movies & TV, Voice Recorder, and Skype.
Making this change was not as simple as just taking out those applications from the operating system. Many apps that run on Windows, like Microsoft Office and some PC games, rely on the built-in Windows video playback features. Without these features, the apps may not run correctly or may even crash.
If you have problems that could stem from a lack of the Microsoft Media apps, you may have one of these new editions designed for European or Korean users. These new versions are known as Windows 10 N and 10KN.
“N” and “KN” editions of Windows aren’t prevented from using these media playback features. Instead, they’re just not installed by default, so if you want to use them, you just need to install them to your computer.
How to get Windows Media Player for Windows 10
To find out if you have this version on your computer, open the Control Panel and click on System and Security. Next, click on System, and you should see the version name. If you see an N or KN anywhere in that name, you have the version without the preinstalled software.
If you want to get Windows Media player and the other apps that are not preinstalled, follow these steps.
First, you need to download the Microsoft Media Feature Pack. It contains the apps not included in the N versions of Windows 10.
1. Go to the Media Feature Pack website for N versions of Windows 10.
2. Select the edition you want from the drop-down box.
3. If the version you want isn’t there, they provide a link for you to find other available releases that may meet your needs.
4. Click Confirm.
5. Choose whether you need the 32-bit or the 64-bit download. If you are not sure, go back to where you found the version of Windows you are running, and you can find it there.
6. From the next window choose the “Open with” option with the default “Windows Update Standalone Installer,” and click Ok.
7. Follow the instructions of the wizard, and choose if you want to add further apps.
Issues with other Windows Versions
If you do not have a 10 N or KN version of Windows, you may still have trouble locating Windows Media Player. Microsoft installed the player on the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10, but you will need to enable the software. The company no longer enables it by default.
1. In the search box type “Turn Windows features on and off.”
2. Open the result.
3. Click on and expand the Media Features.
4. Check the Windows Media Player.
5. Click Ok.
6. Restart your computer.
There are several other media players available with more features than Windows Media Player that you may have interest in. But if you prefer to use this app, it is still available by following these simple steps.