my presario 715us laptop had a CDRW/DVD combo drive that didn't work. so i bought a new CDRW/DVD drive and it worked fine, played movies, etc.
but then i wanted to reformat my hard drive to clean it out. but i'd lost the compaq recovery discs, so i just reformatted and reinstalled with a general XP install disc. i tell you all this because it means that my computer doesn't have all the drivers already there. (everything is legal--used the winxp serial number from the sticker at the bottom and all.)
i went to the compaq website and installed all the drivers and updates they had available for my model. but when i put in a DVD, windows media player opened and told me that i needed a "compatable DVD decoder". when i tried to install the compaq provided winDVD, it said that it wasn't a "valid compaq solution" and aborted the install.
so i can't play DVD's. apparently i need a decoder. i was able to find some weird programs on the net that allowed me to play DVD's in a sort of workaround way. but i *really* want my computer to have the capabilities to play everything the right normal way. where can i get a *free* DVD decoder that will make everything work normal again? it seems that i should be able to download for free whatever decoder i had before that made it work, right?