How to Detect and Fix Broken Codecs in Windows

If you have installed many video and audio codecs to play and work with all kinds of media files, there may come a time when Windows starts giving you errors.

These codec-related errors may appear while playing a song with Windows Media Player or with programs like After Effects or Sony Vegas, which make use of a lot of codecs.

How to identify and fix failed codecs in Windows

The bad thing about codecs is that you can’t uninstall them “just like that,” as you would do with a standard Windows program. If you have installed what is known as a codec pack -be it the famous K-Lite Codec Pack or similar- it is possible to uninstall it like any other program. However, for the rest of the codecs, things get quite complicated.

In addition, it is possible that during the installation and uninstallation of the codecs, you have created some invalid reference in the Windows registry. This can also cause errors in the system.

To solve it, you can use a codec management tool called Codec Tweak Tool. It is a program that comes within the K-Lite Codec Pack, although it also works independently. You can download it for free from the Codec Guide website.

How to use it

Once you run the application, you will see several options. The “Fixes” button allows you to launch an analysis to detect and eliminate broken VFW/ACM codecs, as well as broken DirectShow filters, and then re-register the base DirectShow filters. From here, you can also clear the cache of various types of filters and multimedia elements.How to detect and fix broken codecs in Windows

From the “Codec and Filter Management” section, you can see the codecs that we have installed in the system (DirectShow x86, ACM/VFW x86, and x64) in detail. Here, you can see which of them have errors, the enabled and disabled ones.

This is an interesting point since you can change the codec in case you see that there is an error, or activate a codec that should be working.

In the section “ Miscellaneous -> Various Tweaks,”  you will also find some options related to the Windows media player video decoding.codecs tweaks

Without a doubt, we are dealing with a very delicate utility that you can use to solve your problems. You can also aggravate them even more if you touch the wrong button.

In short, a double-edged tool that you should only use with knowledge of the facts or as a last desperate option before carrying out a complete format or reinstallation of the operating system.

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