Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Playing MKVs in Media Center

by @ 11:50 am on January 21st, 2009 in codecs, mkv matroska, movie library with 69 Comments

Don’t like codec packs? Try this: MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7

The first step to playing MKV (Matroska) video files in your Media Center is to make sure your system is capable of playing MKV files in the first place. There seem to be innumerable ways to accomplish this and everyone has their own preference. For the sake of this small post I’m going to recommend a codec pack. Codec packs are often shunned as being bloated and containing conflicts within their own packages but I’ve found that the Shark007 Codec Pack is an unbloated and simple solution that just plain works. Currently Shark007 has a codec package specifically for Windows 7 in beta and the x64 Components are well tested and will work in Windows 7 as well.

For Media Center, users running an x64 version of Windows 7 who wish to use the codec pack will need both the codec pack and the x64 components. Users running an x86 version of Windows 7 will only need the basic codec pack.

Remember, there are many different ways to install mkv support on your Windows 7 machine, Shark007′s codec pack is just one solution that works in both x86 and x64. There are many other resources around that can help you set up mkv support without codec packs and even alternative codec pack solutions to be used. If you’re looking for a more light-weight install try this guide: MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7.

The second step is to get those mkv files displayed in Media Center (and Windows Media Player as well!). This step is even simpler than the first. To get mkv files to display in your Movie library all you need to do is install a simple registry fix.

Download either this x86 reg file or this x64 reg file to your desktop then double-click to run the file. A dialog will appear asking you to confirm adding the file to your registry, click to allow. Then restart your computer and voila! mkv files should now appear in your Windows 7 Media Center Movies Library (provided you setup your DVD Library to point to a directory containing mkv files).

Don’t forget to Try our guides on MP4 or Flac files!


Comment #1 from QT [Reply]

Once it plays on your W7 box, I find that the format is still not supported through the XBox 360 as an extender. I use the K-Lite pack.

Comment left February 4, 2009 at 11:47 am Permanent Link

@Reply #121742 from Anonymous [Reply]

How do you get it to play on the Xbox with k-Lite?

Comment left May 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #2 from MHealy [Reply]

I don’t have an Xbox 360 here to test it on at the moment, some extenders or configurations might need slightly different codecs or a slightly different process to get the hack working. I guess it may depend on the hardware being used on both the pc and extender.

Comment left February 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3 from v3gaS [Reply]

Installed the reg hack. Im on win7 64 with Shark007 caodec pack. All my MKV files play fine through Media Browser and continue too (in Media Browser).

After using the x64 reg hack mkv fills still did not show in DVD library. I installed the x86 then they did!
BUT When I click on an MKV MC freezes instantly with an ‘Media Center has stopped working’

Comment left February 7, 2009 at 12:57 am Permanent Link

Comment #4 from MHealy [Reply]

V3gas: I was able to replicate your situation once by un-installing all my codecs and reinstalling the latest shark007 codecs. The problem for me turned out to be I plug-in I had installed called “Media Control”. I also used the start menu entry for Shark007 codecs label “Reset all to default”. After that I was able to play MKV fine on my x64 Media Center.

Let me know if you are still having trouble getting it to work. Also, check your codec graphs using Graphstudio and let me know what comes up. You can find my guide on graphstudio here: http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/01/check-your-codecs-with-graphstudio.html

Comment left February 7, 2009 at 8:28 am Permanent Link

Comment #5 from v3gaS [Reply]

I can play MKVs fine but not in the native DVD library view of Win7 Media center. I just did a reset and still nothing however. same error. I will try a fresh reinstall, as this is a terst system for my main VMC and see if that helps.

Comment left February 7, 2009 at 8:58 am Permanent Link

Comment #6 from v3gaS [Reply]


That is a capture from graphstudio

Comment left February 7, 2009 at 9:08 am Permanent Link

Comment #7 from MHealy [Reply]

hmm, my best guess is that a plug-in or other media center related program is causing the error. If you happen to figure out exactly what it is causing the problem let me know so I can put it up here. I hate to recommend a reinstall of Windows but I’m unable to reproduce the error after un-installing my Media Center plugins.

Comment left February 7, 2009 at 10:33 am Permanent Link

Comment #8 from v3gaS [Reply]

I managed to work out the glitches. I think the issue was some other changes I was playing with in the reg. My 32 WMP standalone was giving the error. Thanks for great work!
There was a few more things I needed to do to get my movie library to sort and display correctly my MKV movies correctly. I will be writing up those issues on my blog this week.

You can see pics here:


Comment left February 7, 2009 at 11:47 pm Permanent Link

Comment #9 from MHealy [Reply]

Good to hear you got it worked out. I’ll be sure to check out your write-up later this week.

Comment left February 8, 2009 at 6:34 am Permanent Link

Comment #10 from Anonymous [Reply]

Now to get the files accelerated (DXVA), so they don’t tax the CPU as much. (MPC homecinema runs them fine with the Guru3D guide)

Comment left March 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11 from MHealy [Reply]

I believe Shark’s codec pack supports DXVA using MPC’s video decoder if you enable it from the start menu. I’ve used it previously in Vista and fairly sure it made it into the Windows 7 pack as well.

Comment left March 5, 2009 at 5:35 pm Permanent Link

Comment #319 from Ridius [Reply]

Thx for all
Is there a solution for dual audio?
With this codecs, can i select my favourite audio?
Any programs? addons? help please.

Comment left April 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #326 from mhealy [Reply]

You should be able to enable stream switcher in FFDShow’s audio decoder settings and then use that to switch the currently playing stream. I believe you should be able to right click the audio decoder icon while it’s playing to quickly switch the streams. There isn’t a built-in or easy solution from inside media center as far as I know though.

Comment left April 11, 2009 at 11:52 am Permanent Link

Moe Heb
Comment #429 from Moe Heb [Reply]

Running W7 7000 x64

Did the above steps (installed shark codec + x64 registry). Mkvs work in wmp12 but doesn’t work in WMC I get a cannot play file, cannot find


any idea how to fix this?

Comment left April 24, 2009 at 12:55 am Permanent Link
@Reply #432 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

For some reason I get that on my build 7000 machine as well lately but only when using Media Browser to select the movie. When I launch the movie from the native movie library it plays fine.

What directory are you storing the movie in? Are they local or over a network? I’ll look into this and see what I can find.

Comment left April 24, 2009 at 7:25 am Permanent Link
@Reply #445 from Michael Healy [Reply]

It seems that the cause of my trouble was I had mixed in a few empty Video_TS folders to test out metadata retrieval tools that haven’t been updated for non-VOB movie libraries. I’m not sure if your problem is the same but removing the Video_TS folders solved it for me.

Comment left April 24, 2009 at 2:46 pm Permanent Link

Moe Heb
@Reply #446 from Moe Heb [Reply]

Running it local. What is media browser? I just go to videos in WMC and it says can’t find file and flashes. I have all the mkvs in one directory, yet they won’t play. Works fine in media player 12 though.

Comment left April 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #447 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

hmm, you could try uninstalling shark’s codec pack and using ffdshow instead but it doesn’t seem like a codec problem. There’s a guide to do that right here. You could also try right-clicking the file in Windows Explorer and use Open With to open the file in WMC and see if it plays that way. Did you install both the Windows 7 and x64 Shark007 codec packs?

Most importantly you should definitely give Media Browser a try! It’s a great alternative for the native movie library.

Comment left April 24, 2009 at 5:07 pm Permanent Link

Moe Heb
@Reply #448 from Moe Heb [Reply]

Alright I fixed it! I uninstalled all my codecs re-installed the shark 007′s 64bit codecs and it works! Not sure why it didn’t before, but it does now.

Also, I installed MediaBrower (the non-microsoft plugin) for MC. SOOOO AWESOME! Great way to organize high def movies (once i make sure I label everything properly, so it downloads cover art automatically).

Wonder if it will download coverart automatically for my downloaded TV shows.

Comment left April 24, 2009 at 10:20 pm Permanent Link

The Masked Avenger
Comment #505 from The Masked Avenger [Reply]

Whatever I do I can’t get the .reg file to execute.

I have saved it to the desktop. When I click it opens in notepad. It does have a .reg file extension

Comment left May 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #508 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

Sounds like your file association is messed up. Try right-click and select “Open With..” then choose “Registry Editor”.

Comment left May 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm Permanent Link

The Masked Avenger
Comment #515 from The Masked Avenger [Reply]

It was that I am using Firefox. When I downloaded the file with Internet Explorer it was OK and I was able to update the registry. Mind you I still have a blank icon for my one .mkv movie. Is this because I have added it to my ‘Video’ library and not my ‘DVD’ library?

Comment left May 2, 2009 at 4:00 am Permanent Link
@Reply #521 from Michael Healy [Reply]

To get a cover for your movie library you can throw a folder.jpg inside the movie’s folder and it will be picked up by Media Center. There’s also a number of programs that will download metadata including cover art for you. My personal favorite currently is My Movie Finder.

If you’re looking for thumbnail generation it’s a bit more tricky and as far as Media Center is concerned getting complete metadata has many more benefits.

Comment left May 2, 2009 at 7:47 am Permanent Link

Comment #765 from Ishmael [Reply]

having the same problem with MCE7 – mkv play fine in WMP12, but won’t play in MCE7 regardless of how I launch.

One file on the desktop, another is on a networked machine. BOTH give me the same ‘cann’t find the file’ error.

This is a BRAND NEW CLEAN install of 7100 with Shark007 + x64 pack and the x64 reghack above.

Any help would be appreciated, as this is going to be my media PC and I want MCE working 100%.

p.s the MediaBrowser plugin is cool.

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm Permanent Link
Comment #1512 from Michael DeAbreu [Reply]

Fantastic! This worked without a hitch. I’ve found most codec packs to be more trouble than they were worth. I gave this a try when VLC started misbehaving with MKV files. Now I can easily open them from within Media Center. WOW!

Comment left June 8, 2009 at 1:20 am Permanent Link

Comment #2337 from Anonymous [Reply]

I’m having a couple of issues on the RTM W7 code x64.

1. My MKVs go to the “other media” section of WMP running both the x86 and x64 reg keys has not resolved this. Any ideas? I can play the files fine in MediaBrowser and both the WMP (both 32 and 64 bit), just they don’t appear in the library properly

2. No thumbnails for MKVs. I installed x86 and x64 ffdshow and Haali x64 and x86 (think they installed into the same location) guess this is not an isue?

Any comments appreciated.

Comment left July 29, 2009 at 9:17 am Permanent Link

@Reply #19718 from Anonymous [Reply]

I am having the same problem with the mkv files showing up in the “other media” section of Windows media player.

But, in Windows media center, all my mkv files show up and play correctly “video library” section under “Pictures + Videos”

2 Problems with this:

1. I am only able to stream the files that appear in the “video” playlist in windows media player to my LG BD390 blu-ray player.

2. (may be unrelated, but still an issue), Windows media center goes black when in full screen.

What I am using:
Windows 7 Professional x64
Dell XPS400 PC with Intel Pentium D 3GHz, 2GB Ram, X300 ATI video card, connected to 52″ Samsung LCD TV.

Comment left October 8, 2010 at 2:30 am Permanent Link

@Reply #19719 from Anonymous [Reply]

I forgot to mention what software I am using. I have DivX plus 8, and Haali Media Splitter installed, in that order.
Wold love to get this resolved.

Comment left October 8, 2010 at 2:35 am Permanent Link

Comment #3082 from Shayan [Reply]


This worked perfect, except that i hear two audio tracks at the same time. The movie sound and the commentary sound. How can i disable it in MCE7?

Thanks for a perfect guide though!

Comment left September 4, 2009 at 8:57 am Permanent Link

Comment #5237 from GCas [Reply]

This worked a treat.

Comment left December 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm Permanent Link
Comment #5662 from PhilGammal [Reply]

Hi, used this method and now my MKV files work in media centre. Problem is all of my MKV files are duel audio and with subtittle. However at the moment WMC is playing both audio tracks together and i cant find any subtittle on/off options. Also my OGM files do not play in WMC, how can i fix this problem as well

Comment left December 13, 2009 at 4:32 am Permanent Link

Comment #6082 from Ray [Reply]

I’m almost there. My MKVs show up and they will play in WMP but when I try to launch them in MC I get a message that MC doesn’t know how to play it. Any ideas?

Comment left December 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7295 from Anonymous [Reply]

Fixed my problems. Was able to play .mkv in WMP but not WMC. Works! Thank you

Comment left January 31, 2010 at 4:36 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7347 from Prometheus [Reply]

The only thing you need is the Haali splitter:

For subs, you only need DirectVobSub:

That’s all to get MKV & Subs to work in W7MC

Comment left February 2, 2010 at 6:20 am Permanent Link
Comment #7576 from Brian [Reply]

I am having an issue getting MKV to play in Media Center. I have tried both the Shark007 and the Minimalist method, but still have the same issue. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated:

I can play MKV within MC7, the audio is working my Onkyo SR606 receiver to Dobly Digital and the video works when I have Media Center in a windowed mode. As son as I make it go full screen the video disappears, but the audio remains. If I pause the video the picture returns, but when I play it goes back to black.

It has proved to be very frustrating to figure out.

Any ideas?

Comment left February 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm Permanent Link

jacob Sistrunk
Comment #7580 from jacob Sistrunk [Reply]

I struggled with this too… I was sick of messing with codecs. I found a great article here: It walks through a way to replace the default media player with MPC-HC. No more codec issues :-)

Comment left February 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm Permanent Link

Comment #8004 from jaysen [Reply]

alright, i got the .mkv file to play through media center on my laptop and it looks fine. but when i try to play it on my xbox 360 through the media center, the picture looks terrible. anyone else run into this problem/have a fix? thanks

Comment left February 23, 2010 at 1:49 am Permanent Link

Nick W
Comment #8244 from Nick W [Reply]

Thank you so much for your advice regarding playing .mkv file in wmc. You are awesome and you have no ide how long I struggled on my own trying to find a solution. Thank you very much !


Comment left March 3, 2010 at 3:46 am Permanent Link

Comment #11775 from jonssen [Reply]

ik wil graag die shark codec hebben

Comment left May 28, 2010 at 10:02 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11945 from Maxaker [Reply]

This works fine for me but…is there any way to switch audio tracks and turn subtitles on or off using a keyboard shortcut while in windows media center?

Comment left May 31, 2010 at 5:16 pm Permanent Link
Comment #13078 from will nm [Reply]

i am using windows 7 (x86). the reg file will not import for me. i get “cannot import error accessing the registry” is there anyway i can get it to work?

Comment left June 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm Permanent Link

Comment #15019 from Silamanagic [Reply]

MKV’s play great for me with Divx player but when playing in WMP or WMC the video flashes constantly. I forced the codec in the video card to override the video settings of the player but still the flashing. I’ve used HALI splitter as well as ffdshow, both showing the same thing. If you have a solution, all your wildest dreams will come true :D

Comment left August 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm Permanent Link

Comment #22061 from daglobe [Reply]

ok it works prefect. i can see the movies over my lan on my xbox 360. but when i watch a 720p or 1080p it looka like a 360p youtube video…. why is the quality so bad? does anyone know how i can fix it?

Comment left October 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm Permanent Link

Comment #26492 from Mike [Reply]

Is there a way that the movies can be made to appear in the “Movies” Library instead of the “Video”? I got it to accept DVD and Blu-Ray on my hard drive but can’t seem to get the MKV files to appear. It’s no big deal, as I can watch them in my Video library fine, but it would be nice if I can have ALL my movies under one heading.

Comment left December 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm Permanent Link

Comment #28687 from Kevin [Reply]

I made the mistake of running the regedit without first checking for mkv codecs, and now windows 7 won’t start. I can still get to cmd prompt, and thus regedit, but I don’t know what was changed…..


Comment left January 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm Permanent Link

Comment #36958 from SteveH [Reply]

Has anyone tried to record media center menu’s with a capture program like camtasia studio in windows 7 i seen a lot of posts that says its about hardware accel. but i cant modify that under the trobleshooting option in display settings and is media center even considered a overlay? or somthing else all together?

Comment left March 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm Permanent Link

Comment #39167 from j [Reply]

it says error with mkv or video might be problemed? when i click on the movie on wmc the other videos show a pic but the mkv looks blank blue?

Comment left April 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm Permanent Link

Comment #39184 from j [Reply]

i got it working but now i keep getting kicked off? reconection failure? never happened before

Comment left April 20, 2011 at 1:25 am Permanent Link

Comment #39259 from j [Reply]

nevermind got it working =] i was supposed to go to movies in wmc….. i was clicking the (d:) thing lol

Comment left April 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm Permanent Link

Comment #43311 from Anonymous [Reply]

Much much much easier solution: just download the DivX+ codec pack, install it and you’re all set!


Comment left May 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm Permanent Link

that guy
Comment #43647 from that guy [Reply]

help my mkv movies are blurry when i play them in windows media center? but my other movies are fine please help

Comment left May 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm Permanent Link
Comment #46627 from Anttix [Reply]

I installed the 64 bit version and it works!

Unfortunately it broke my WMC and now I can’t watch ANY TV a tall through my DVB S2 card, which was previously working fine:

“The video decoder is not working, is not installed, or is not supported. try installing the codec or restarting your computer.”

I sensibly (NOT) didn’t backup the registry beforehand, so am now a little stuck. Do any of you have any suggestions?

Comment left August 15, 2011 at 9:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #46887 from Tyson [Reply]

Am I retarded? WMC can finally see the .MKV files listed but when I try to play them (in either Videos or Movies list) I get this message: “WMC cannot find the specified file. …”
I installed the 32bit version of the Shark codecs (from here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/downloadget.php?id=5959&file=15&evp=69519f031a0550d7faae74536523f7ee ) .
Q: I’ve seen mention of a x64 version of Shark’s codecs but for f%#$ sake I can’t find a link to download the x64 version. Is this some kind of sick joke? Can somebody please help me out?

Thanks in advance.

Comment left August 24, 2011 at 2:30 am Permanent Link

Comment #46889 from Tyson [Reply]

Apparently the Windows 7 x64 codecs are named
“x64 components”

….instead of: “Windows 7 x64 Codecs”
Of course.
I installed the 64-bit package (v303) and all seems to work now. So there you have it.

Thanks Sharkie!

Comment left August 24, 2011 at 2:38 am Permanent Link

Comment #49708 from Krazeee [Reply]

Has anybody been able to find out if this method, once working properly, will likewise push the content to an alternate device such as a 360 or Blu-Ray player (specifically Panasonic DMP-BDT210 which seems to “pair” with WMC)? I suppose it depends on whether the player is what’s doing the decoding or not… Any insight regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

Comment left October 28, 2011 at 3:10 am Permanent Link

Comment #54425 from jdrinkert [Reply]

Has anyone else had a problem with DLNA clients not being able to connect after making mkv files playable? I’ve rebuilt this box 3 times now. My DLNA clients all connect perfectly until I enable mkv file playing. Any ideas why this would happen? I have PlayOn on this box so the clients can view Netflix, Pandora, etc.

Comment left December 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm Permanent Link

Comment #81997 from dan0 [Reply]

I tried your reg patch for mp4′s and it worked great
unfortunately I’ve not had any success with MKV’s.

Running windows 7pro64 using klite megacodec pack
mkv files play fine from windows media playre or media player classic. mkv’s show up in windows media center with no thumbnail preview and when you try to play them I get file cannot be found. mp4′s in the same folder play fine. any suggestions.


Comment left September 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #82187 from Anonymous [Reply]

got it !
reinstalled the 64bit codecs and rebooted

Comment left September 16, 2012 at 11:22 am Permanent Link

Comment #92874 from Anonymous [Reply]

this solution works great for windows 8 media center also.

Comment left December 4, 2012 at 7:43 am Permanent Link

Comment #101950 from Anonymous [Reply]

Everything works,but I can’t fast forward or rewind

Comment left January 28, 2013 at 11:15 am Permanent Link

Sam Julius
Comment #103006 from Sam Julius [Reply]

I trying to find the clear link to download Shark007 Codec Pack, but keeping getting nowwhere. What am I missing?

Thank you!

Comment left February 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm Permanent Link
Comment #103529 from Shark007 [Reply]

Try THIS LINK to get the Shark codecs

Comment left February 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm Permanent Link

Comment #104298 from bootneck [Reply]

to install shark’s codecs use the link he’s provided above,if got a 64bit PC download win7 codecs (32bit) first as administrator (important:read sharks install instructions 1st,UAC must be enabled)
then on his website goto 64bit Components & download the 64bit codec package & install the same way.
32 package bit MUST BE installed prior to installing 64bit

Comment left February 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm Permanent Link

Ian Graves
Comment #106509 from Ian Graves [Reply]

I just tried updating to the latest shark codec pack and nod32 said it contained malware.
I guess this could be a false positive but I’m not going to risk it.

Comment left February 25, 2013 at 10:28 am Permanent Link

Comment #107951 from AaronAlfa [Reply]

Yes, this codec installer has malware in it. Symantec corp 12 identifies it immediately and removed it. everything else installed. Seems real shady…

Comment left March 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm Permanent Link

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