How to play DVDs in Windows 10 for free


You can play a DVD in Windows 10 for free with a little help. But that help’s probably best if it doesn’t come from Microsoft. I’ll tell you how Microsoft’s solution sort-of works for some people. Then I’ll tell you about the much better alternative called VLC that anyone can use and gets regular updates. Best of all, it’s free!

Updated March 22, 2019, with a second look at the Windows Store app.

RIP Windows Media Center

When Windows 10 came along in 2015, it left behind Windows Media Center, a utility for home theater PCs that let you play DVDs on your computer. Windows 8 didn’t come with it either, but users running Windows 8 Pro could still install Windows Media Center.

Even that workaround is now gone. Windows Media Center simply doesn’t work. Microsoft offers an official solution for DVD playback, but, well, it’s bad. 

Windows DVD Player from Microsoft is a $15 Windows Store app. It’s a no-frills utility that should just work, but when I tested the app it did anything but. I’m not the only one who experienced this. Checking out the latest reviews, it appears the problems with Windows DVD Player persist since its launch.  

Windows DVD Player: Hit or miss

windowsdvdplayer

Windows DVD Player in Windows 10.

Users who upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7, or from Windows 8 with Windows Media Center, should’ve received a free copy of Windows DVD Player. Check the Windows Store, and you should be able to download it for free. If you’ve got a new PC, however, you’re out of luck for this freebie.

A word of warning: I got Windows DVD Player for free after upgrading from Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center in 2015. Once I did a clean install of Windows 10 after upgrading, however, I lost the right to download Windows DVD Player for free. 

That said, if you do fork over the $15 you can install the app on any of your Windows devices.

I tested Windows DVD Player with an Acer Aspire E 15 laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1803, an internal DVD player/burner, and five commercial DVDs. 





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