Play a DVD video on Windows 10

Windows 10 probably won’t automatically start your latest Star Wars DVD (or any other video on DVD, for that matter)

It’s almost as if Microsoft doesn’t want you to play movies (or “films”, as we wrinklies still insist on calling them) on your Windows 10 computer. They have made two changes that could get in your way:

1) Microsoft no longer installs Windows Media Player as a functioning part of Windows
2) “Autoplay” no longer plays a movie file as soon as you insert a DVD into the drive (and what’s more, I, for one, couldn’t find any way of persuading it to do so)

Let’s take these separately:

1) Ensure you have a program that will play videos

Windows Media Player used to be the default program within Windows for playing videos. Nowadays, it is still included in Windows but disabled for some reason. Even if you enable it, however, you may not be able to get it to play your videos. For the curious, the way to enable Windows Media Player is to go to “Programs and Features” in the Control Panel, click on the option at the lefthand side to “Turn Windows Features on or off”, and put a tick in “Media Features”. Personally, I still couldn’t get it to play movies – just music files.

Enable Windows Media Player
To turn on WMP, navigate to “Programs and Features” in Control Panel, click on “Turn Windows…” and then put a tick next to “Media Features”.

So, instead of messing with Windows Media Player, I suggest you download and install the excellent – and free – VLC media player. Just click on the orange box entitled “Download VLC” from the link in the previous sentence. Then install the program in the normal way.

2) Forget about autoplaying a video

I could not get the “autoplay” settings in Windows 10 to offer me the option to autoplay CDs/DVDs using VLC or any other media player. Bizarrely, though, it did offer VLC as a default program for playing media on a “memory card”. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, here, but it’s not absolutely crucial as we can still get it to play the DVD without autoplay, using VLC as follows:

  • Open File Explorer (the yellow and blue icon on the taskbar)
  • Under the “computer” heading at the lefthand side, find the reference to the DVD drive (in my example shown below it describes it as the “DVD RW Drive”)
  • Right-click on this entry
  • Left-click on “Play with VLC media player”
Open a DVD With VLC
To start a DVD, right-click on the DVD drive and then left-click on “Play with VLC media player).

I’m not at all sure what’s going on here. Perhaps I should add that I no longer have any Windows 10 computers with inbuilt DVD drives, so all my testing has been done with external ones. Perhaps things are less clunky with inbuilt drives. Anyway, the bottom line is that it is still possible to play videos from DVDs on a Windows 10 computer, but not necessarily as easily and smoothly as you would probably have expected.

VLC icon of traffic conePS: if you wonder why VLC uses a traffic cone as its icon, have a look at this Wikipedia entry.