DVDs are a medium on the decline. The media storage technology that back in the late 90s graced us with the kind of visual quality that we thought at the time couldn’t possibly be topped has been largely shunned in modern PC hardware, and the software soon followed in its tracks. Where once you’d have played DVDs through Windows Media Player or whatever third-party DVD software was pre-packaged into the OS, in Windows 10 there is no more Windows Media Center and no more Windows Media Player.
But working around this problem isn’t too complicated, so read on to find out how to play your collection of classic DVDs in Windows 10.
The Obvious Stuff
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 one (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.
Problems with Windows DVD Player
With no Windows Media Center, the built-in option on Windows 10 to play your DVDs is Windows DVD Player. Microsoft keeps it hidden out of 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.
Free DVD Players for Windows 10
Assuming Windows DVD Player didn’t work for you, here are some of the best free options for a Windows 10 DVD player.
A great choice, not least for the fact that it’s the most popular all-round option for playing videos on your device, and there’s a chance you have it installed already. All the basic functions you’d want are there in VLC, including chapter skipping, slow-motion playback, and excellent picture quality.
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 back your movies to 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.
Set DVDs to Autoplay in Windows 10
So you’ve picked 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, 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.
Even though Windows 10 got rid of comprehensive built-in options to play DVDs, it’s not entirely unfriendly to the format, and the fact that there are still options in the Control Panel acknowledging what to do with DVDs makes it relatively easy to reinstate your Windows 10 PC as a DVD player.