How to Play FLAC Files in Windows Media Player 12

Make WMP more useful by boosting format compatibility

Windows Media Player (WMP) 12 is a Microsoft media player built into Windows. It's a useful tool for playing digital music, but unlike other jukebox software programs, it doesn't support all file formats. WMP 12 isn't compatible with the popular lossless format, FLAC. However, by installing a FLAC codec, you can quickly add support not only in WMP 12 but in any other software that plays music and isn't FLAC-aware.

How to Add FLAC Support to Windows Media Player 12

This tutorial includes instructions on how to use a popular codec pack that comes with a wide range of audio and video codecs. If you use WMP 12, add more formats to extend its usefulness as your primary media player.

To add FLAC support to Windows Media Player:

  1. You'll need to know which version of Windows you're running in order to choose the correct download link.

    Media Player Codec Pack download website
  2. If WMP 12 is open, close it, then open the Media Player Codec Pack setup file.

  3. On the first screen of the installer choose Detailed Installation, then select Next.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup screen
  4. Read the end-user license agreement (EULA), then select I Agree.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup screen - License Agreement
  5. The Choose Components screen lists the codecs that are automatically selected for installation. If you want the maximum format support, keep the default selections. If you only want to install audio codecs, clear the Additional Player, Video Codec's & Filters, Source Splitters & Filters, Other Filters, Associate Video Files, and Disc Handler check boxes. Then select Next.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup Choose Components screen
  6. Media Player Codec Pack comes with a potentially unwanted program (PUP). To avoid installing this extra software (which is usually a toolbar), clear the check box on the Install Additional Software screen and choose Next. Then wait for the installation to complete.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup Install Additional Software screen
  7. On the Video Settings screen that shows your CPU and GPU settings, select Next.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup Video Settings screen
  8. On the Audio Settings screen, keep the default selected unless you have a reason to change them, then select Next.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup Audio Settings screen
  9. On the pop-up message, select No. If you want to read the file association guide, select Yes.

    Media Player Codec Pack Setup successful install message
  10. Restart your computer to ensure all the changes take effect.

After your computer restarts, test that you can play FLAC files. WMP 12 should be associated with files with the .FLAC file extension. Double-click or double-tap the file to automatically open WMP 12.