Windoiws Media Player won't play AVI files

Greetings all

I am a little confused by this issue .... yesterday I tried to play a couple of AVI clips from Windows Media Player (10). None of them would play - "Windows Media Player encountered a problem while trying ....".

This is particularly strange, as a week ago they were working fine. I also tried the AVI clips on 2 other machines and it worked fine. I then downloaded and installed WMP 11, but still no go.

Any thoughts?

In advance, thanks!!

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MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
When WMP encounters a problem,
 that error covers a huge range of possibilities.
Windows updates may have been running in the back ground, windows updates may have changed soemthing
Another media player may have started if you simply left clicked on the avi causing a temp lockup between different players. I woudl just have rebooted at this point.
When there is two or more Media players on board and all have the avi association in the files types the best method is to drag and drop onto each
or enqueue in Winamp. So now WMP may have spat the dummie and another media player took it's place
Check WMP is the default player, go to start all programs >set default programs and access and defaults. select Microsoft windows
WMP 11 asks you to regester/activate request prior to running it so that your DRM will be updated.
To cover another base codec required for avi you have a divx player onboard
ffdshow usually fixes things

 If you downloaded these it may be corrupt, things like your anti virus may have scanned it just prior to complete ] i recomend you redownload the files
Hope it assists

Use VLC free program and that can play most formats:  
Asta CuCommented:
AVI is a folder, and not all avi files are equal.  Sometimes these problems surface when you have conflicting codecs installed.  What changed or what did you install/remove/modify since the avi files worked and now don't?
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Asta CuCommented:
OOps, sorry, meant to add more and hit submit too soon.  There are a lot of conversion routines/apps out there when you google for avi convert, and one I've found that works for AVI to many and Flash to many is shown below.  I first ran their free app to test and found it quite useful, but there are MANY out there that claim to work without problems...
Here's one I've used and found helpful, but again, one of many.
Microsoft used to have an application interface which tested for codec and encoder compatibility issues which I will return to add if/when I find it.  But you may luck out by searching directly.  
If your issue remains unresolved, it would help to know a bit more about your environment in regards to your environment, which authoring programs you have installed that "may" have over-ridden your codecs or replaced them .... or .... conflict with them.  Operating System and update levels is also useful to add.
":0)  Asta
Asta CuConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Here are just a few links that explain AVI it may be more expeditious for you to add any error messages you receive(d)  and/or items noted in your Event Logs (assuming your Operating System is XP or later)
This is quite useful to troubleshoot Media Player in various formats
BillDLConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The first thing I would do is to re-register the file quartz.dll by typing the following command into the Start Menu's Run field:

regsvr32   /i   c:\windows\system32\quartz.dll

Note the exaggerated spaces I've left.  You only want single spaces.
You should see a success dialog.  I suggest rebooting and then testing the same *.avi files again.  If the issue isn't resolved, then read on.

Run the DirectX Diagnostic Tests by typing   DXDIAG   into the Start Menu's Run field.  It may take a while to load, especially if the "Check for WHQL Digital Signatures" box at the bottom left is ticked.  Once it loads, run the Video and Audio tests under the various tabs and take note of any failures, and suggestions if there are any failures.

A very useful utility program is the GSpot Codec Information Appliance:
Author Steven Greenberg, hence the "G" in the unusual program name.

Note: If searching google, quote it as GSpot and not G-Spot, or you will be exposed to pages telling you how to locate a particularly elusive place on the human body, not audio/video codecs ;-)

Direct Download Link (Right-Click > "Save TARGET As" to save)

Make sure you don't have Windows Media Player running, or any other audio-visual related activity going on.

Unzip to its own folder using WinZip, 7-Zip, WinRAR, or Windows XP's internal unzipping functionality, and double-click on GSpot.exe

Wait for a second and you should see, under the "Video Codecs" field at the top right of the ptogram dialog, the "Status" field being completed to say "Ready (xxxx Codecs Loaded)".

Go to Options menu > Settings.  Each setting has a popout tooltip from the "Info" link alongside it so you know what it does.  I would tick all the boxes except the 3 "Add (or remove)" options that create shortcuts and the "Monochromatic" display option.

Back in the main program dialog, System menu > List Codecs and other filters.  A new dialog will open with colour-coded lines and a legend that tells you the perceived status of each.

If any Red lines show, then Right-Click the line and choose Details.  Give us those details.  There is a handy right-click > copy to clipboard option on any line that allows you to paste to Notepad and tidy up the formatting before pasting here.  We only need details of any Red problem ones right now, NOT the full table.

DO NOT (at the moment anyway) be tempted to use the Right-Click option to Re-Register or Un-Register any of the codecs.

Now you have the option to test an individual file.  First use the System menu and "Reload Filter data", then use the File > Open menu to load your problem *.avi file, or use the ... button at the right of the File -> Path section at the top left.  You may see the Status field at the right of the program dialog go red and say "Codecs are Not Installed".

That being the case, you will see one or more of the buttons under the "Proposed codec solutions and tests" section at the bottom turning lilac.  Click the "1" button in the "GSpot" column (if it is available) and see what it tells you.  If it passes, then the "2" button should try to play the video in an overlay that appears where the "Container" and "User Data/Metadata" sections are.  You can close the overlay with the "X" button at its top right.

Do the same for the lilac buttons under the "MS A/V" column alongside the GSpot ones.

If, however, the "Status" field goes Green when you open the *.avi file, saying "Codecs Are Installed", then above that you should see details of what Codec was used to encode the video and have the lilac buttons down below to run the tests and show the process involved.

I have a feeling that the Microsoft utility astaec may have been thinking of is this one:
Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility:

This doesn't apply to all *.avi files, but you may well have those to which it does apply.

Let us know the results of the suggestions.
And yes, astaec raised a very valid point in asking for more specific information about the Media Player error from the Event logs.

Can you please also capture a screenshot of the error dialog (Alt and PnintScreen keys), paste into an image editor as a new image, Save As a *.jpg, *.gif, or *.bmp, and attach it to your next comment.

The error you quoted:
"Windows Media Player encountered a problem while trying ...."
doesn't tell us much.  While trying to do what?
allanmarkAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

Below are the results from the steps suggested by BillDL :

(1)  regsvr32   /i   c:\windows\system32\quartz.dll  gave this:

     c:\windows\system32\quartz.dll was loaded, but the DIInstall  entry point was not found.

(2)  DirectX Diagnostic Tests (DXDIAG)

     This gave no errors; 100% clear

(3)   GSPOT - System; List Codecs

Gave the following errors:-  See attached CodecErros.Txt

(4)  I then loaded the avi file as instructed - came up with Codec(s) are installed. Now I was stumped,  
         so I decided to carry on with BillDL's instructions, as if there had been no codec error.

(5)  GSPOT -  Click the "1" button in the "GSpot" column

Gave no errors

(6) GSPOT  - If it passes, then the "2" button should try to play ...

Clicking the ""@ gave this: See attached Button2Error.jpg

(7)   Clicked the "3" button - video played!!

(8)   GSPOT - Do the same for the lilac buttons under the "MS A/V" column alongside the GSpot ones.

Video played and I could hear the soundtrack

(9)    As an experiment, I clicked the GSPPot  Aud "1" button -- no problems

(10)  Next, I clicked the GSpot Aud "2"  -- please attachment Aud2_Error.Jpg

(11)   Attachment WMP-Error.jpg is the origimal WMP Error, as requested.
allanmarkAuthor Commented:
FFDSHOW fiuxd it up! Many thanks to all for the excellent support!!
Thank you happy to hear it
cheers M
Thank you Allan (or is it Mark?).  Glad to see that the codec fixed the issue.  Sorry not to have been back sooner after looking at your screenshots and report.  I was checking out the various available AVI/DivX related codecs, and reading feedback, to make sure that they wouldn't screw up your system before providing links.
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