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What the heck are codecs?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by TuDeevine, Nov 3, 2011.

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  1. TuDeevine

    TuDeevine Thread Starter

    Nov 3, 2011
    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version
    OS Version: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium, Service Pack 2, 32 bit
    Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 6000+, x64 Family 15 Model 67 Stepping 3
    Processor Count: 2
    RAM: 2941 Mb
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430, 128 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 476937 MB, Free - 391566 MB;
    Motherboard: ELITEGROUP, MCP61PM-AM
    Antivirus: Norton Security Suite, Updated: Yes, On-Demand Scanner: Enabled

    I had downloaded a book being read aloud (MP3 format) and was successful in getting most chapters into my Windows Media Player 11. However, I started getting messages about the player not being able to play the file because it didn't have the right codec. All I want to do is listen to my book! What is a codec, and how do I find the proper one so I can finish putting the book into my player? Thanks for your attention.
  2. Elvandil


    Aug 1, 2003
    A codec (compressor/decompressor) is a driver-like snippet of software that converts compressed files to an uncompressed format so that they can be played.

    These tools can be used to help you examine your system and your playable files to see what codecs you have installed and by examining your file, what codecs are needed to play it.

    Tools For Analyzing System and Media Codecs:

    GSpot Information Appliance (video codec identification utility)

    CodecInstaller (System codec and media analyzer and installer)

    VideoInspector (codec and media analysis)

    MediaInfoGUI (Shows format/codecs/properties of audio and video files)

    Sherlock (checks audio and video files, codecs versions, broken codecs, etc.)

    AVIcodec (media analyzer)


    It is not recommended to install "codec packs". They often contain substandard codecs that replace good ones already in your system, they contain a large number that you will never use, and they may interact unpredictably with your system. Get just the one or ones (and they will be very few) that you need.
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