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How do I make Vista recognise codecs in my video players?

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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
Spin-off question from: "How Do I get Windows Media Player to play .MPEGs in Vista?"

THE PROBLEM:  Several video players and editors running on my new Vista laptop cannot play videos in standard codecs and formats.

EXAMPLES:
-Windows Media Player plays my old .AVI files of all compression types, but .MPEGs play without sound, and sometimes without video.  
-Ulead VideoStudio10 (UVS10)  seems unable to read or recognise standard .AVI files that Windows Media player and even my old copy of VideoStudio7 can read and play on the same machine.  It gives me the error: "The content of these files is unreadable."

NOTES:
-The files in question have played successfully on other machines, but always on XP machines.
-One clue may be that UVS10 can see and read uncompressed .AVIs, but most of my videos use Cinepak Codec by Radius compression.  When I open up the properties panel of the malfunctioning video files through UVS10, It lists the compression as "ffdshow Video Decoder" instead of the correct "Cinepak Codec by Radius" UVS7 sees.  Most of these .AVIs were created either in UVS7 or Adobe Premiere 4.2 on a Windows XP machine.  
-I have downloaded the Vista Codec Package, and tried to run it.  Using a search for Cinepak in Windows Explorer, I was directed to applications in the Vista Codec folder called "video decoder configuration properties", Audio decoder configuration properties", and "video encoder configuration properties".  I located check boxes for .MPEG-2 files, Cinepak encoders, and anything else that seemed to relate to my files.  Most were checked as "disabled", with the only other option being "libavcodec", which I set for most of these.  I really don't know what I was doing, and it seemed to have no effect.  

Windows XP always seemed to know how to apply what program to what function without requiring a Master's degree to dissect one's computer; how the heck to I just get these videos to play and be editted in their standard software (!!!)

-Scott Robinson

Dell Inspiron 1520
Intel® Core" 2 Duo T7500 (2.2GHz/800Mhz FSB/4MB cache)
3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT
Speed: 160GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Windows Vista® Home Basic Edition
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