Windows Media Player 12: Playing Ogg Audio Files

OGG is gaining in popularity, but how do you make WMP 12 recognize this format?

Ogg Logo
Ogg Logo. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Why Can't Windows Media Player 12 Play Ogg Files?

By default Windows Media Player 12 doesn't support the Ogg Vorbis audio format. In fact, compared to more modern programs like VLC Media Player and Foobar2000, Microsoft's jukebox program doesn't support many audio formats out of the box.

This is because it doesn't have the right codec in order to decode audio which has been compressed with the Vorbis format.

So, if you've got files ending in .ogg or .oga then WMP 12 won't know what to do with these. If you've already tried playing Ogg Vorbis files, then you'll probably have seen WMP 12 complain (via a pop up message) that it had a problem -- it then promptly refuses to do anything more.

You can of course use an alternative media player, but what if you want to stay with WMP 12? How do you get it to play Ogg files?

Adding Support For Ogg Files

The solution is to install a codec that can decode files in the Ogg Vorbis format. There are plenty of codec packs that you can download and install, but these often add a lot more codecs (including video) on your system than you actually need. If you just want to add support for Ogg, then all you need to do is use the appropriate DirectShow filter.

Once installed on your computer, Windows Media Player (and any other DirectShow compatible player) will be able to use this filter.

Here's how:

  1. Go to Xiph.org's download page.
  2. Look in the Binaries section and download the Open Codec installer. As well as adding support for Ogg Vorbis, this installer also includes codecs for Speex, Theora, FLAC, and WebM too.
  3. Once downloaded, run the opencodecs executable file.
  4. Click Next on the first screen.
  1. Read the license agreement and then click the I Agree button.
  2. Click Next if you are happy with the default destination folder. Alternatively, use the Browse button to choose a different folder.
  3. To install all the codecs in the pack and set up the necessary file associations for WMP, click Next.
  4. Choose a menu start folder from the list, or just click Install to go with the default path.
  5. Wait for the codecs to be installed and then click Finish.
  6. Restart your computer.

Testing Windows Media Player 12 Ogg Playback

  1. When Windows is back up and running, go to the folder on your hard drive where the ogg files are located.
  2. Double-click on a file to test.

If everything is set up correctly, Windows Media Player 12 should automatically run and start playing the Ogg file you selected.