How to Play DVDs in Windows 10 for Free

While disc-based media may be going the way of the Dodo, it’s not dead yet. Many of you, especially collectors, probably have fairly large libraries of DVDs and Blu-Rays. Unfortunately, those of you with PCs running Windows 10 will run into a problem if you try and play those discs. Microsoft removed DVD playback in Windows 10. Why would they do such a thing? Money, of course!

Windows Media Player still has the ability to play DVDs. Microsoft has locked this “feature” as a way to get you to open up your wallet to “activate” DVD playback.

Fortunately, there are ways to get around Microsoft’s DVD hostage crisis.

Of course, you need a DVD drive to play DVDs, but what do you do if your PC doesn’t have one built in? These days, as with floppy drives, the best way to add a DVD drive to your PC is to get an external USB drive (unless you plan on using it all the time, in which case it may be worth fitting one into your machine). External USB DVD drives can be picked up for around $10 and usually come with rewriters as well if you fancy it.

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With no Windows Media Center, the built-in option on Windows 10 to play your DVDs is Windows DVD Player. Microsoft keeps it hidden from plain sight, and it’s best accessed by hitting the Start button and typing “windows dvd player.” You can try using this, but many people have reported that it’s been rendered unworkable by various Windows 10 updates.

If you are having trouble with Windows DVD Player, then uninstall it, as it can interfere with third-party DVD software autoplaying your discs. The following media players will allow you to play all your DVDs, and the best part is they’re all free to download and install.

PotPlayer’s minimalist UI hides an incredibly powerful media player. In addition to playing virtually any media file (DVDs included), PotPlayer has an integrated video editor and a ton of customization options. Furthermore, it supports 3D and 360-degree video as well.

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PotPlayer is an advanced media player that is actively being developed. This means that future updates of the app should add even more functionality to this already impressive player.

Due to the fact that VLC Media Player can play virtually any media file thrown at it, chances are high that you already have it installed on your PC. In addition to playing MKVs, AVIs, MP4s and a slew of others, VLC can also play disc-based media.

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VLC is a fairly spartan program, so it should come as no surprise that playing discs is fairly simple. Pop a disc in your optical disc drive and fire up VLC. Next, click “Media” in the top left. In the menu select “Open disc.” Alternatively, you can hit Ctrl + D.

Like VLC Media Player, 5KPlayer can play a wide variety of file formats, DVDs included. 5KPlayer also enables users to play region-locked DVDs. In addition, 5KPlayer has a slew of other handy features like AirPlay, DLNA streaming and a built-in YouTube downloader.

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While 5KPlayer is free to download and install, some of the features are locked. To enable these features, users are required to register the software with their email address. Registering is free, however.

If your PC has a Blu-Ray optical disc drive, you might want to consider the Leawo Blu-Ray Player. This app is primarily targeted at those looking for Blu-Ray playback; however, it also supports regular DVDs. As a result, you won’t have to install two separate apps to ensure playback of all your disc-based media.

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The interface definitely takes its design cues from Windows Media Player, meaning that most users will find it incredibly easy to use. Be aware that the Leawo lacks some of the features found on standard Blu-Ray players and is limited to 1080p resolution. However, for those looking for a free way to watch their Blu-Rays on Windows 10, the Leawo Blu-Ray Player gets the job done.

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Another open-source option, KMPlayer, is a light package brimming with codecs for all the video formats you’re likely to use. It’s also a quick and functional DVD player that will play your movies at a high quality. To play a DVD with KMPlayer, open the app, right-click on a blank space in the window, then select “Open -> Open Folder,” and navigate to the folder on your DVD.

Rounding out the list is one of the best media management programs available, Kodi. Formerly known as XBMC, Kodi is a powerful program that not only looks great but supports playback of a wide variety of media including DVDs. In addition, you can configure Kodi to automatically play DVDs when they are inserted into your PC.

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To do so, fire up Kodi and head to Settings. From there, select “player settings.” In the menu on the left side of the screen, select “Discs.” Finally, locate the option that reads “Plays DVDs automatically,” and make sure the toggle switch is flicked to the on position. That’s it! Now, every time you insert a DVD into your PC when Kodi is running, the DVD will play automatically.

So you’ve picked out your favorite DVD player and now want it to jump straight into action as soon as you insert a DVD. To get DVDs to autoplay, go to the Control Panel, and then click “AutoPlay.”

Scroll down to “DVDs” in the list, then under “DVD movie” and “Enhanced DVD Movie” click the dropdowns and select your DVD player of choice.

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Do you think it’s ridiculous that Microsoft is trying to charge you to enable DVD playback? What program do you use to play your DVDs in Windows 10 PCs? Let us know in the comments!

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