Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7

by @ 7:00 am on February 9th, 2009 in codecs, ffdshow, mkv matroska, movie library, windows 7 with 121 Comments

FFDShow Installer Logo Sure there’s nothing wrong with codec packs, Shark007′s codec pack is a wonderful product, but there is something to be said for keeping it simple as well. This guide will take you through the minimum steps to install a nice clean setup with the minimum software required to play MKVs and many other less popular codecs as well. For this setup we are going to install only FFDShow and Gabest’s MKV splitters for x86 and x64 if that’s what your running.

Step One: Download a copy of FFDShow Tryouts from here. Those running an x64 version will also need the x64 SVN here. Install the right ones for your system, the latest versions will work.

Step Two: Download Gabest’s Matroska Splitters. There is a version of Gabest’s with an installer for x86 here and x64 here. To install simply extract to your C:\ root drive and right-click to run “gabest_splitter_enable.cmd” as administrator. You should receive one confirmation on x86 and two for x64 versions.  To uninstall simply run “gabest_splitter_remove.cmd” as administrator.

Step Three: Enable viewing of MKV files in Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center by downloading either the x86 registry file or x64 registry file and double-click to add it to your registry. Allow it to be added when prompted. Restart your machine.

That’s all there is to it, this will take you from a clean install to playing MKVs and more in no time at all. For details on using FFDShow Audio settings for your live TV and DVDs in Media Center check this article.

Media Center Movie Library

If you have trouble viewing your MKVs in Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player, try deleting your “C:\Users\YOUR-USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabase_371.wmdb” file. To enable this file to be deleted you will need to stop the WMPNetworkSvc service from the task manager (ctrl-alt-delete).


Comment #75 from Jussi [Reply]

Instead of FFDShow I use DivX7 and only install the H.264 codec. FFDShow scares me off with it’s configuration options and installation.

Comment left February 9, 2009 at 9:16 am Permanent Link

Comment #76 from MHealy [Reply]

The problem I have with DivX7 is that it won’t work on x64 systems inside Media Center and if your MKVs contain audio encoding other than AAC you need a seperate audio codec as well. I believe FFDShow porivdes the best compatibility for a broader spectrum of MKV encodings without installing a codec pack.

Comment left February 9, 2009 at 9:58 am Permanent Link

Comment #77 from Anonymous [Reply]

So would this help when trying to play MKVs on the Xbox 360 when using it as a Media Center Extended?

Comment left February 9, 2009 at 11:54 am Permanent Link

Comment #78 from MHealy [Reply]

I don’t believe this will add direct support for Xbox 360 to play MKV files but I do believe it will add the ability to Play To from Windows 7. From what I understand this guide there is a guide at the following address that will assist in getting MKVs playing on an Xbox 360 Extender: http://tinyurl.com/bu56lb

Comment left February 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm Permanent Link

Comment #79 from Stuart [Reply]

I’ve done this myself in the past but I used Haali Media Splitter and not Gabest’s Matroska Splitter what’s the difference there?

I also used FFDShow Tryouts as you have and the MKV registry hack from the link below, is that the same hack?


Great site btw!

Comment left March 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm Permanent Link

Comment #80 from MHealy [Reply]

Haali’s Media Splitter is a fine choice for users on x32 but it doesn’t currently come in an x64 version. Gabest’s splitter comes in both x32 and x64 which is the reason I chose it for this guide.

The registry settings for the MKV hack are the same. It’s a simple hack that adds the extention to the registry so that Media Center and WMP recognize the file type.

Comment left March 11, 2009 at 5:53 am Permanent Link

@Reply #9081 from Anonymous [Reply]

Haali added 64 bit to their splitter back in December. You can get it from Free=codecs.com.

I was able to play mkv by instlling ffdshow-tryouts and Haali in x64 without a reg hack. Why is that needed??

Comment left April 6, 2010 at 3:54 am Permanent Link

Geert van der Cruijsen
Comment #68 from Geert van der Cruijsen [Reply]

I tried this.. my video is showing but my subtitles don’t seem to work.

windows 7 x64

any clue how to fix it?

Comment left March 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm Permanent Link

Comment #69 from MHealy [Reply]

You will need to enable Subtitles in FFDShow Video Decoder Configuration. Just checking the checkbox in the left pane beside Subtitles should be enough in most cases to enable Subtitles.

Comment left March 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm Permanent Link

Geert van der Cruijsen
Comment #70 from Geert van der Cruijsen [Reply]

ofcourse i enabled the subtitles in ffdshow video decoder configuration. it seems that ffdshow video isn’t working when i play mkv files with media player on my windows 7 7057 x64 build.

Comment left March 24, 2009 at 7:54 am Permanent Link

Comment #71 from MHealy [Reply]

I’m not sure why FFDshow wouldn’t be used, especially with MKV files which aren’t a native format. Do subtitles appear in other programs, have you checked your codecs with Graphstudio?

You may need to rename several system files if FFDShow isn’t picking up the decoding. mp3dmod.dll, mp4sdecd.dll, mp43decd.dll and mpg4decd.dll are the most likely culprits and can be found in Windows\system32 and syswow64. You will need the take ownership reg fix to rename them.

There are a number of changes to the playback pipeline that I don’t like in version 7057 that alter handling of files by Media Center and WMP. You may have better luck with version 7000.

Comment left March 24, 2009 at 9:25 am Permanent Link

Geert van der Cruijsen
Comment #72 from Geert van der Cruijsen [Reply]

I dont feel like going back to 7000.

I tried removing the dll's but this isn't working either.

When i use graphstudio to render my file i get the following results:

movie.mkv -> Matroska Splitter -> Microsoft dtv-dvd video decoder -> video renderer

and for sound

movie.mkv -> Matroska Splitter -> ffdshow Audio Decoder

So sound works but for video it uses dtv-dvd video decoder instead of ffdshow.

i renamed the following dll files which didn't help: (in both system32 and syswow64)


Any other tips?

Comment left March 24, 2009 at 11:49 am Permanent Link

Comment #73 from MHealy [Reply]

You can try installing DirectVobSub but I don’t believe there is an x64 version currently. I think trying to subvert the default DTV/DVD filter will break any live tv playback. If that’s not something you use the file to rename is msmpeg2vdec.dll. Other than that I would have to take another look on my 7057 box.

Comment left March 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm Permanent Link

Comment #74 from Mikinho [Reply]

Haali is available for x64: http://haali.net/mkv/mkx.y.9.exe

Comment left March 25, 2009 at 9:09 am Permanent Link

Geert van der cruijsen
Comment #67 from Geert van der cruijsen [Reply]

Thanks. removing those 2 dll’s worked. i have subtitles again :)

I dont have any card to capture cable input so i dont need the live tv thing anyway

Comment left March 27, 2009 at 11:22 am Permanent Link

Comment #81 from dojjah [Reply]

Great guide, thanks a lot. Your site has been very helpful for me while setting up my Win7 HTPC.

Comment left April 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm Permanent Link

Kome Flix
Comment #293 from Kome Flix [Reply]

Can someone compare the use of 32bit CoreAVC to these 64 bit options if I have a 64bit machine.

Sorry for what is probably such as simple question, i was just under the impression MKV h264 decoding could only be done as 32bit

Comment left April 8, 2009 at 1:20 pm Permanent Link
Comment #294 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I can’t speak about CoreAVC, as I don’t really use it, but there aren’t any discernable differences between x32 and x64 codecs that I have used such as FFDShow and MPCVideoDec.

Comment left April 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm Permanent Link

Kome Flix
Comment #304 from Kome Flix [Reply]

So, Media Player will play MKV files just fne, but when I try to play them in 7mc i get “Cant Play Video”.. i added the x64 regitry file (as Im on a64bit machine)

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #305 from mhealy [Reply]

Did you install both versions of FFDShow Tryouts, you will need the x64 SVN if you’re using 7MC in x64. Also you should have the x64 splitter installed. Double check your codec setup using the x64 version of graphstudio.

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #48041 from Michael [Reply]

Hi. I have had some problems with graphstudio. I’m running win7 x64. I want to use CoreAVC and use FFDShow to process subtitles. I have been able to set this up by disabling H264 in FFDshow. In GraphStudio this seems to work. The desired codecs gets loaded and when I try to play back the movie everything work smooth. But when I then try to open it in MC CoreAVC is used, but FFDShow video is never loaded. I have spent a lot of time trying to solve this issue, but with no luck. So if anyone has any idea I’m all ears.

Comment left September 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm Permanent Link

Kome Flix
@Reply #309 from Kome Flix [Reply]

I decided to just install ffdshow 64 and the splitter. One issue, volume is DRASTICALLY lower for videos than it is for Music. I took a look at the config but it looks pretty complicated. Anyone know why this might be?

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #310 from mhealy [Reply]

Check the volume box and under volume turn on “normalize” and “regain volume”. That should get it sorted out. I have mine set to around 300% max amplification.

Also you can check out this guide for some simple settings, Simple FFDShow Settings.

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm Permanent Link

Kome Flix
@Reply #311 from Kome Flix [Reply]

aaaaaaaannnnd you’re awesome

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm Permanent Link

Kome Flix
Comment #308 from Kome Flix [Reply]

I actually am using CoreAVC… i assumed that as long as i could play in media center i would be fine in 7MC

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm Permanent Link

Comment #887 from Ishahmael [Reply]

Followed the steps above for minimalist MKV playing. I get a lot of flickering with my mkv’s. Sometimes I just get a black screen. Sound is works fine.

Comment left May 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm Permanent Link

brian walker
Comment #976 from brian walker [Reply]

I have the MKVs playing in Media Player, MC and the Xbox 360 but I do not have any sound on the Xbox 360 any thoughts?


Comment left May 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #1035 from Andy [Reply]

Brian, you are not alone. I am also missing sound from mkvs under xbox 360, however the audio is fine in WMC. Im running windows 7 x64, build 7100

Comment left May 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #1041 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Do you know what format the audio has been encoded in? If not you could check with MediaInfo. The Xbox360 most likely doesn’t support the audio format used in those MKV files not playing sound for you.

Comment left May 13, 2009 at 8:36 pm Permanent Link

Brian Walker
@Reply #1186 from Brian Walker [Reply]

Andy is who I ment to ask not Alex sorry about that.

At anyrate has anyone else had the issue with win7 7100 64bit MKVs play back on MP, MC, and 360 but with no sound on 360?

Comment left May 18, 2009 at 11:51 am Permanent Link

@Reply #1310 from yoYo [Reply]

I can’t seem to get sound on the 360 extender using this guide on x64 build 7100. Seems to be a problem with DTS. Any suggestions?

Comment left May 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm Permanent Link

Comment #1049 from Alex [Reply]

I got this working for MKV but MP4 isn’t played with ffdshow.
Any idea why not?

Comment left May 14, 2009 at 1:17 am Permanent Link
@Reply #1060 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

MP4 is a container format just like MKV. If MP4 doesn’t play at all you probably need an MP4 splitter and you can find one using this guide on stand alone filters from MPC.

If MP4s play but FFDShow isn’t the decoder used the first thing I would do is use MediaInfo to discover the actual encoder used then double check that the format is enabled in FFDShow’s video settings.

Comment left May 14, 2009 at 8:16 am Permanent Link

Comment #1063 from Alex [Reply]

The codec ID is AVC1 and is enabled in FFdshow with the H264/AVC codec.
When I open the mp4 with mediaplayer 12 ffdshow doesn’t show up. when opening the mp4 with mediaplayer classic ffdshow and the haali splitter show up.

Comment left May 14, 2009 at 8:38 am Permanent Link
@Reply #1065 from Michael Healy [Reply]

You’ll most likely need to disable the default MP4 decoder that’s been locked in by the new Windows Media Foundation. The easiest way to do this is to rename the file and restart your machine.

The files to rename (add .bak to the filename) are found in C:\Windows\system (and SysWOW64 if on x64). The filenames are MP4SDECD.dll, MP43DECD.dll and MP4DECD.dll. This will completely disable the use of these codecs but may cause problems in some programs that use Media Foundation.

There are ways to get the same functionality from registry edits but they aren’t yet well documented. In most cases this method should work fine.

Comment left May 14, 2009 at 8:58 am Permanent Link

@Reply #1068 from Alex [Reply]

I already did this to make it work with mkv so it must be something else.

Comment left May 14, 2009 at 10:05 am Permanent Link

Brian Walker
Comment #1094 from Brian Walker [Reply]

ALex: How did you get the Sound for the MKVs to play via the 360, I just want to be clear.
Thanks so much this Site is the best.


Comment left May 15, 2009 at 7:25 am Permanent Link

@Reply #1182 from Alex [Reply]

I don’t have an extender like Xbox 360 or something like that.

Comment left May 18, 2009 at 1:46 am Permanent Link

Comment #1179 from Paul [Reply]

I keep getting “Cannot Play Video Windows Media Center cannot find the specified file error”.

The mkv’s are stored locally and I set 7mc movie library to find my movies which it does and lists them with coverart and all, but when I click on any of the movies I get the above error. Same exact thing with Media Browser. Any ideas?

Comment left May 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #1243 from Jason [Reply]

Or you can just download the DivX Tech Preview: MKV on Windows 7 for MKV support using the new Media Foundation Framework.


It seems to work fine.

Comment left May 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #1247 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I tried that package the other day and it lacks support for a few important things, like AC3 audio and subtitles. I would personally still stick with FFDShow for now. Once the DivX WMF package is working 100% I would definitely recommend it though since it works with the native Windows Media Foundation.

Comment left May 23, 2009 at 7:41 pm Permanent Link

Comment #1253 from Ryan [Reply]

can step 3 be replaced by using the mcdu instead of the registry hack?

Comment left May 24, 2009 at 8:30 am Permanent Link
@Reply #1255 from Michael Healy [Reply]

No, the reg fix in step 3 is just to let Media Center know that MKV is a type of video. MCDU can be used to set a default codec across all formats in Media Center once you’ve followed this guide though.

Comment left May 24, 2009 at 11:12 am Permanent Link

@Reply #1258 from Ryan [Reply]

thanks for response.

what i’m trying to do is use this in conjuction with your guide to disable and replace the MS DTV decoder so that tv viewing uses the powerdvd codec, while all movies use ffdshow.

steps taken (in order):
- all steps in this guide
- use mcdu to set ffdshow to the default decoder
- all steps in the “disable and replace” guide

ffdshow is being used for h.264 mkv’s but none of my xvid/divx rips (both audio and video)

ffdshow is being used for audio only in TV viewing (how can you determine what’s being used for video decoder of live tv?)

i’d like to get ffdshow going for my xvid/divx rips. any ideas?

thanks again

Comment left May 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm Permanent Link

Comment #1340 from Ben [Reply]

Well this worked a charm. thank you, however now my live TV is choppy w/ no sound.

Comment left May 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #1346 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Have you disabled the MS decoders? If not they should still be used for Live TV playback. I’m not sure why this would interfere with TV playback.

Comment left May 30, 2009 at 9:32 am Permanent Link

@Reply #1358 from Ben [Reply]

I just followed the directions above. This has me puzzled.

Comment left May 31, 2009 at 11:32 am Permanent Link
Comment #1416 from naah patrick [Reply]

this trick work just fine. thank you for sharing.

Comment left June 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm Permanent Link

Comment #1441 from Clayton [Reply]

This guide was great and I got everything working on my Win7 64 bit machine with one problem. When I play MKV files with multiple soundtracks (for example the MKV file has the English movie sound track and the Director commentray sound track) through Windows Media Player or Media Center they both play at the same time. I can’t figure out how to turn one off so I can just switch between them. Has anybody run into this issue?

Comment left June 4, 2009 at 9:28 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #1445 from Michael Healy [Reply]

In the FFDShow Audio settings enable the stream switcher. There’s no way to switch streams from inside Media Center unfortunately though. You’ll have to switch streams from outside the program using FFDShow’s tray icon.

Comment left June 5, 2009 at 8:30 am Permanent Link
Comment #1630 from Kevin P. Rice [Reply]

DivX 7 plays the video for me (Win 7 x64), but no audio. FFDShow added audio to WMP, but not WMC, and not the DivX player. Matroska splitter didn’t install (unable to register .ax file), but wasn’t necessary as video already worked.

Comment left June 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm Permanent Link
Comment #1632 from Michael Healy [Reply]

By default WMP runs in x86 mode on x64 systems while WMC runs in x64. If FFDShow added audio to WMP but not WMC double check that you have installed both the x86 and x64 versions of FFDShow.

Comment left June 14, 2009 at 10:11 pm Permanent Link
Comment #1936 from robbysimmons [Reply]

the best, EASIEST and by far and only way i would stream .mkv and other format hi-def movies to the xbox is PS3 media server. i know it is called PS3, but it works on 360 to, trust me. it also streams .iso files is that cool or what. here is the link to download. it is very easy to use right out of the box, just install and use no codecs to install whatsoever! http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/downloads/list

Comment left June 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm Permanent Link

Peter N.
Comment #2127 from Peter N. [Reply]

Has anyone got Divx 7 to play back .mkv file using Media Center (win7). The Divx player works fine but Media Center will not play them back.

Another question. In the guide above do we need ffdhow to play back Divx or MKV. Does Window by pass ffdhow and use its own audio and video decoders?

p.s. love the site.

Comment left July 14, 2009 at 10:05 am Permanent Link

Comment #2151 from Anonymous [Reply]

Another option for the minimalist is just Media Player Classic Home Cinema and Haali Media Spliter. Using it fine in 64bit build 7100. But of course you won’t have the integration with Windows Media Player which is nice.


Comment left July 16, 2009 at 7:28 am Permanent Link
Comment #2200 from Tony [Reply]


Thanks for this. Few q’s:

1 – for x64 systems do I need to install both the x86 and x64 versions of Gabest’s Matroska?
2 – I use coreavc for x.264. Should I carry on doing this or use FFDshow? If I want to use Coreavc, do I just install COREavc (without haali splitter I assume?) and disable h.264 in ffdshow?
3 – do I need to do anything else?



Comment left July 20, 2009 at 11:52 am Permanent Link
@Reply #2201 from Michael Healy [Reply]

For x64 Media Center you only need the x64 versions but in x86 software you will still need an x86 splitter so I would recommend installing both. CoreAVC is fine if that works for you, just disable h.264 in FFDShow.

Comment left July 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm Permanent Link
Comment #2202 from Tony [Reply]


I’ve followed the stes to a tee, but when I check my codecs with graphedit it says ‘some of the streams in this movie are in an unsupported format’ (xxxx.1080p.DTS.x264.dxva) and then shows the video going to Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder…can you help? I’ve been trying to fix this for hours!

Comment left July 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm Permanent Link
Comment #2203 from Tony [Reply]

I’ve just restored a backup as I’ve tried so many things today to doublecheck it’s not working, and I still can’t stop the DTV-DVD video decoder getting ahead of coreavc or ffdshow

Comment left July 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3338 from Chef_Tony [Reply]

this may be a stupid question, but after doing all that, it actually plays my mkv HD videos, but most of them have 2 audio streams (german and english) and they are played simutaniously, i want to choose the language individually for the videos, at best while playing them, not deep hidden in any codec settings, and i can’t pick to always play the first stream, because the languages vary from file to file…

does anyone know, what i need to do, to accomplish that, i googled already but it was pointless, it seems to be a rare problem although i think this is a major issue

Comment left September 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3410 from Marben [Reply]


Can I do this after installing Shark007 codec packs? (running MKV’s through FFDshow)

I’m running Windows 7 RTM.

Comment left September 21, 2009 at 6:57 am Permanent Link
@Reply #3445 from Michael Healy [Reply]

You shouldn’t need to make any additional changes after installing Shark007′s codec pack. Just make sure you’ve got the right packages for your OS (x86 and x64 if running 64-bit)

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 3:44 pm Permanent Link
Comment #3421 from Shark007 [Reply]

Installing the Shark007 codecs will allow you to choose from 4 different options for MKV H264 playback within the MS Players. You can use the default Microsoft decoder, FFDshow decoder, MPC-HC’s DXVA decoder or the CoreAVC decoder if you have it installed.

Comment left September 21, 2009 at 10:38 am Permanent Link

@Reply #3443 from Marben [Reply]

I can’t seem to get anything to go through FFDshow in 7mc.
What am I doing wrong?
I loved Shark007 pack in Vista, but it does’nt seem to work for me in Windows 7 x64.

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 9:52 am Permanent Link
Comment #3444 from Shark007 [Reply]

Marben, if you have problems using my codecs, please make a post on my forum

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3481 from Confuse [Reply]

Hi all
I have read all the posts but i’m still confuse about that codec to use.
I’m using latest windows 7 i have installed Haali Media Splitter x86 (x64 beta) and ac3 filter (audio) and VSFilter (subtitles).
I can play MKV files without a problem with default Microsoft decoder that come with win7 using WMP 12.
But my question is does it support hardware acceleration like CoreAVC does? and there is any better decoder that can be installed stand alone ?

What the difference from DivX 7 beta, CoreAVC and win7 default decoder ? quality? performance ?

As you can see i try to use a minimalist way.
(my pc spec: Q6600, P5K-E/wifi, ATI 2600pro, 4G ram)
Many Thanks

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3519 from Manel [Reply]


Only one question about the minimalist approach.

It involves the use of codecs from ffdshow (both 32 and 64 bits for my setup if I want to use them in WMP12 default version).

Next, some splitters, Gabest’s ones because of the mising 64 bits version of Haali (well, someone points to a beta version of them).

And, finally, the registry patch for relating extensions to WMP12 and WMC.

But, for switching subtitles/audio tracks in WMC you need to install MEDIA CONTROL isn’t it? (it would be a pain use ffdshow tray icon from your living room and a remote).

Using ffdshow disable DXVA, so one alternative is using standalone filters from MPC-HC (like MPCVideoDec, MatroskaSpliter, etc.). More minimalist setup, isn’t it? But you lack AC3Filter (audio) and VSFilter (subtitles) and … if you install this latest one, then DXVA is disabled too, right?

So what’s the best approach to have DXVA and switching audio/subtitles track in WMC?

Thank you very much!

Comment left September 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3522 from Mikinho [Reply]

Currently in MC7 there is no way to have subtitle support and DXVA. Hopefully as WMF packages evolve we’ll see this added.

Comment left September 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm Permanent Link

Comment #4351 from Daniel [Reply]

You are the man. I was up all night last night trying to get DIVX to play MKV’s in WIN7, I don’t like using those all in one codec packs like CCCP ( I always have bad luck with them crashing.) Much props for the post. Thanks.

Comment left October 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm Permanent Link

Comment #4493 from Anonymous [Reply]

DO NOT USE CODEC PACKS IF YOU CAN HELP IT!! What’s great about ffdshow is that if you come across a format that won’t play in wmc, all you have to to is open the configuration and enable it. When I ‘

Comment left November 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #4494 from Anonymous [Reply]

Sorry, got cut off. Wht I was gonna say is that when I install ffdshow, i disable all but ogg in audio and flv in video. So far, I’ve onlly had to enable a few others. The point is, you only have to enable what you need without it making your system unstable.

I know sharks packs are popular and I’m not saying don’t use them because I haven’t and I can’t say one way or another. But other packs have cause me major headaches.

But to the author, why use Gabest filters? Haali now has 64bit splitters now along with the 32 bit.

Comment left November 2, 2009 at 9:13 pm Permanent Link
Comment #4497 from Shark007 [Reply]

To the anonymous posting above: Your question only exhibits your lack of knowledge.

Comment left November 2, 2009 at 9:44 pm Permanent Link
Comment #4593 from Jason [Reply]

Windows 7 already has everything needed except for the MKV parser. DiVX has developed this.


This small install is ALL you need. It is truly a minimalistic way to get MKV support.

Works in WMP and WMC. Transcoding to other devices also works (although slow/low quality without the right hardware).

Update: DivX apparently has moved this into the full DivX installation, so it seems to not be minimalistic now. I haven’t tried it since I don’t like to install things that the OS already does well (except for MKV parsing). Maybe the MKV parser can be extracted from the installation.

Comment left November 6, 2009 at 6:48 am Permanent Link

@Reply #5117 from teohhanhui [Reply]

DivX’s MKV splitter was not that great the last time I tried it. I only use it for extracting thumbnails for display in Windows Explorer. Hopefully I can choose to install only what I need from the DivX bundle.

Comment left November 25, 2009 at 11:18 am Permanent Link

Comment #4648 from Rodrigo [Reply]

Hi all! I was having the same issue with 2 audio streams going on the same time. But thanks to you guys help (enabling audio switch) everything is working great! Thanks a lot!

Comment left November 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm Permanent Link

Comment #4714 from Chris [Reply]

I don’t know if this is an aberration, but I installed Windows 7 x64. I then installed MPC-HC 32-bit. Finally, I installed Haali splitter 64-bit. I did nothing else. MKVs run perfectly on my Aspire Revo 1600, which is an Atom 230 with ION graphics and 1 gig of ram. Watched a 720p episode of House without noticing any stuttering or dropped frames, which I assume means it was using dxva.

I was actually intending to use MediaBrowser to open an external instance of MPC-HC to watch MKVs, but if this continues to work, it looks like all you’ll need to install is Haali 64-bit.

Can anyone else confirm that this is working for them?

Comment left November 10, 2009 at 9:42 pm Permanent Link

Comment #5088 from Ste [Reply]

Non va un cazzo!!! non seguite sta guida…è un pezzente

Comment left November 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm Permanent Link

Comment #5178 from mikeS [Reply]

Works great for me in win7 ultimate x86

Comment left November 29, 2009 at 7:44 am Permanent Link

Comment #5312 from Murdock42 [Reply]


I thank everyone for the considerations and suggestions, also thanks to mheali for driving and Shark for his codec.i could ask only one thing, one only final list of software and codecs that are needed on x64 Windows 7, to see us mkv.i’m very confused
I did various tests, installing and reinstalling, but I always have problems, the video is slow, grainy images, despite having an AMD 3GH, MSI gtx275.Thanks

Comment left December 4, 2009 at 8:22 am Permanent Link

Comment #5403 from Fred [Reply]

I followed steps 2 and 3. I didn’t install any codecs (step 1) as MCE7 can natively recognize the MKV files if you install the registry patch (step 3). This now works great, but how do I get subtitles to work?

Comment left December 6, 2009 at 7:33 am Permanent Link

Comment #5565 from Mat [Reply]

Worked like a charm for me…

Thanks guys

Comment left December 10, 2009 at 10:46 am Permanent Link

Comment #5760 from Statts [Reply]

Worked great for me, but now 7 Media Centre says it cannot open .avi files?

Comment left December 17, 2009 at 1:18 am Permanent Link

Comment #6125 from Karkas [Reply]

Can anyone compare and contrast the difference between this approach and Sharks pack? I’ve never used either.

Will sharks play more files?

I’m doing a ground up build of a HTPC w/ W7 x64 this weekend and just want everything to play without issues. It will be a purely dedicated WMC PC. (maybe a bit of browsing)

Comment left December 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm Permanent Link
Comment #6214 from saitoh [Reply]

Will this work for playing mkv’s on a DSM-750? Im thinking of getting one but read many things about playing mkv’s on it and it sounds very complicated. I have W7 x64 ultimate

Comment left January 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm Permanent Link

Comment #6416 from Jeff [Reply]

Shit dude. This worked like a charm. No hang ups.

Comment left January 7, 2010 at 6:10 pm Permanent Link
Comment #6545 from Tatarcha-chat [Reply]

Может это банально, но просто хотелось выразить благодарность автору. Обычно комментаторы заваливают своими проблемами и вопросами, а спасибо нынче не в ходу, чтобы не посчитали комментарий за спам. Но поверьте, спасибо иногда говорить надо.

Comment left January 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm Permanent Link

Comment #6782 from Al [Reply]

just install the latest haali, way easier and way less stuff clogging your machine


Comment left January 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7260 from Joseph [Reply]

I’ve installed everything to a T as described above. (using the latest and greatest of everything)
My system is a fresh install of Windows 7 x64.

I am able to play EVERYTHING fine in Windows Media Player. When I open Windows Media Center it will NOT play any of my mkvs at all. (again these same files play fine in WMP.

I’m going to roll back to the image I created prior to making any additions/changes and see what I can do.

This just doesn’t make sense that things play fine in WMP but absolutely nothing in 7MC

Comment left January 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7262 from Joseph [Reply]

Rolled back to my base win7 x64 image. I downloaded the latest Haali splitter here: http://haali.su/mkv/ and now all my files play in WMP and 7MC. I did nothing else. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

thanks to Comment #6782…..

I’m going to continue screwin around with this but am very happy things are just working now…

Comment left January 30, 2010 at 8:14 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7275 from Joseph [Reply]

Ran into my first issue with 7MC. Was having duplicate audio streams (german and english) playing at the same time.

I did the following:

In MediaPlayer –> Options –> DVD –> Set the preferred language

Now english plays fine in 7MC.
Borrowed this tip from here: http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/t/56746.aspx

Comment left January 31, 2010 at 2:27 am Permanent Link

Comment #7304 from Matt [Reply]

I managed to get this going without ffdshow. Haven`t tested subtitles yet but plays movies ok!

True MKV for minimalists :)


Comment left January 31, 2010 at 9:30 pm Permanent Link

Comment #8177 from tontoe [Reply]


I’m trying to play MKV files on my xbox 360 which i bought to play HD content on my TV. So I have a movie that I want to play on my xbox

I currently use Moyea Converter to get the MKV-AVI but I lose quality of the audio by using it. It seems only to convert to stereo 128 kpbs (maybe because I’m using the trial) This allows me to play the movie with HD quality but the sound is not as good as I want. I got the system to play at the top (without the cost of a PS3). Then I get the free subtitles somewhere and I use AVI ReComp to hardcode them onto the movie/tv show because my girlfriends english is not perfect or some movies are in foreign languages.

I was hoping to find some easier way to do this. I’ve tried using Media Coder but it doesn’t start all the time, seems to have audio issues with the client, or sometimes no output. I’m pretty good with software but this stuff is all new to me. Please can someone help me. I would really appreciate it. The guides and all that have been confusing usually with some key point or information not clearly explained.

Thank you

Comment left March 1, 2010 at 4:00 am Permanent Link

Derek Reynolds
Comment #11111 from Derek Reynolds [Reply]

I can confirm that a fresh install of Win 7 X64 + Haali + AC3Filter renders x264 in media center and the extenders. Without any configuration.

Prior to this I was putzing with Divx Plus and never got the consistent results I am having now.

Thanks to posts #7262 and #6782

Comment left May 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm Permanent Link

Comment #13033 from Anonymous [Reply]

Following this guide, my mkvs play fine but the audio is stuck in stereo. When I enabled the following settings, I get this rapid static sound:
1) Codecs > Uncompressed ‘all supported’
2) Output > ‘Pass-through’ [x]AC3 [x]DTS
3) Output > ‘Supported output sample formats’ [x]AC3 (S/PDIF encode mode) [x]Encode only 5.1ch streams

Everything else was left as default.

I’ve looked at many other methods of playing mkvs through WMC – just want one method that plays everything normally!

Comment left June 21, 2010 at 4:28 am Permanent Link
Comment #13154 from Joe Cammorata [Reply]

I having problems with windows 7 choppy media play. I have been working with microsoft for the past week and still no fix we will try and fix next week. for now i been using winamp for wmv, wma, mpeg,mpg, mp3. and classic media player for mpg-2. we all should know not to upgrade to a new version of windows tell the fist service pack is out!

Comment left June 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm Permanent Link

brit media guy
Comment #13222 from brit media guy [Reply]

did it exactly as the guide said and……it worked!
even my weedy atom330 can now display movies at 720p ,might try 1080p but I think Im pushing it there.
Respect to all the clever guys n gals who made these programs.

Comment left June 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm Permanent Link

Comment #13360 from Derek [Reply]

I’m wondering if it is time to update this guide. Seems that the Haali Splitter is favored over Gabest one these days. Also I keep reading that FDDSHOW isn’t required either, that Win7 has all the codecs to play the video.

Give this is listed as the most popular post on the site, and is linked to from all over, keeping it updated to the “state-of-the art” might be worthwhile. Couch the language in “others may prefer different Codecs” but given this is a “minimalists” post, if FDDSHOW isn’t needed maybe the config can get more minimal.

Comment left June 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm Permanent Link

Robert S
Comment #13524 from Robert S [Reply]

I have Divx Plus installed and Mkv’s play fine in WMP and WMC… only problem is no subtitles at all for mkv files, other formats are fine. So after downloading the “VSFilter.dll” file what exactly do i do with this to get subtitles working on my Win 7X64 computer?

Comment left July 6, 2010 at 12:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #15062 from Silamanagic [Reply]

I installed Haali Splitter and performed the Registry fix to enable MKV playback in WMC. Divx player was installed as part of Haali splitter installer. MKV playback is great in Divx player but playback flashes brightly and constantly in WMC and WMP. Using my ATI 5000 series GPU I forced the video codec to override the application’s settings, which helped a bit but not totally. Any help is much appreciated! OS = Win7 x64

Comment left August 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm Permanent Link
Comment #16199 from Coach purses [Reply]

Good post! Thanks for sharing with us, I’ll recommend it to all my friends! and I’m wondering if it is time to update this guide.

Comment left August 27, 2010 at 5:10 am Permanent Link

Comment #16958 from Rick [Reply]

I recently rebuilt my HTPC with a new Windows 7 Pro 64b install. I followed up with the install recommended above for MKVs. Most MKV files playback just fine however I encountered one group of files (a mini series) where the video was terrible, pixelated and blotchy. When I checked it with GraphStudio 64 on the same PC it shows it is using the Microsoft DVD-DTV codecs (audio and video) and when I hit play in GraphStudio it plays fine! I have tried uninstalling ffdshow and no help. How can Graph Studio playback be good when WMC loooks like crap, and any clues to how to improve playback in WMC?

Same files look great on another PC. Video drivers are current.

Comment left September 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #18199 from Paul [Reply]

I have the same problem as Rick. All I had was Haali MKV splitter installed and all other MKVs have been fine so far. Sound is fine but video gets blocks on it. If I look at video with graphedit it says its using Microsoft DVD-DTV codecs and playback is fine within graphedit. I tried installing ffdshow for first time and it also gets blocks no matter what h264 filter is selected. Same file will playback flawlessly running Total media theatre from desktop, but you can’t use TMT to play back files within MC. Any ideas greatly appreciated!!

Here is what Media INfo says about video (deleting irrelevant parts):
Format : Matroska
Overall bit rate : 1 724 Kbps
Writing application : mkvmerge v3.1.0 (‘Happy up here’) built on Jan 19 2010 12:09:24
Writing library : libebml v0.7.9 + libmatroska v0.8.1

ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : High@L3.1
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 8 frames
Muxing mode : Container profile=Unknown@3.1
Bit rate : 1 274 Kbps
Width : 720 pixels
Height : 496 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 1.298
Frame rate : 23.976 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.149
Stream size : 810 MiB (72%)
Writing library : x264 core 79

ID : 2
Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Mode extension : CM (complete main)
Codec ID : A_AC3
Duration : 1h 31mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 448 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth : 16 bits
Stream size : 292 MiB (26%)
Language : English

Comment left September 24, 2010 at 8:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #18802 from Jon [Reply]

Followed the steps above to try and play mkv’s on win7 home prem 64bit. Installed the 64-bit versions as directed (did no other config as the steps above indicated no changes). Restarted, deleted the suggested file, but media center and media player both cannot open or play any mkv files.

Any ideas as to what to change/adjust on a stock install of ffdshow/gabest to enable playing of mkv files?

Comment left September 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm Permanent Link

Comment #18803 from Jon [Reply]

Nevermind. Removed gabest, installed the haali splitter instead and the files are playing. Thanks everyone, for the tips in the comments above!

Stupid question… what is a ‘splitter’ used for? The whole codec world is still kinda new to me. Cheers!

Comment left September 29, 2010 at 11:05 pm Permanent Link

Comment #27449 from Mike [Reply]

FWIW, using Win7 Home Premium x64. Had FFDshow installed awhile back using the Combined Community Codec Pack before I became interested in WMC.

This took care of step 1 above. Did steps 2 and 3, installing Gabest and the registry hack for x64. Now works fine with MKV files.

Thanks for the tip.

Comment left December 27, 2010 at 1:34 am Permanent Link

Comment #27450 from Mike [Reply]

Sorry about the link getting screwed up. My first post here :(

Comment left December 27, 2010 at 1:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #28846 from walkermat [Reply]

A quick noob question. I used ffdshow Tryouts & haali in my Vista MC setup; all was good – they were effectively transparent and I never gave them a second thought.

However, I’m on Win 7 now WITHOUT ffdshow/haali and all sorts of problems, like audio dropout on live tv pause/resume, black screens after rewind etc. I’m going to give ffdshow/haali a go tommorrow but does anyone know if they could fix my issues…?

Comment left January 7, 2011 at 7:01 am Permanent Link

Comment #31591 from Ian [Reply]

Great site! I prefer minimalist way to configure my WMC, it works for me just fine except one inconvenience. When play any MKV I hear all audio tracks playing simultaneosly. How to solve this issue?

Comment left February 2, 2011 at 10:25 am Permanent Link

Comment #44015 from kawg [Reply]

I have actually done a method similar to this, and have many (most) MKV files streaming to my 360 through media center. I use CCCP, and haven’t done anything too weird.

Comment left June 7, 2011 at 2:02 am Permanent Link

Comment #46816 from ACook [Reply]

instead of forcing the user to unzip to the c:\ directory, use
regsvr32.exe “%~dp0MatroskaSplitterx86.ax”

the system32 dir is already located in the default %path%, so that’s not really necessary.
the %~dp0 instead of the pathh makes it use the path the batch file is started from.

Comment left August 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm Permanent Link

Comment #83487 from CC [Reply]

I ran through the steps described and was having difficulty getting .mkv files to play in wmc7. rather than fussing with it, i realized i was better off playing them through a wdtv live hub that i also have attached to my network.

so my question is this: how do i undo the changes made by this process?

i used the disable gabest splitter file, so i think that’s done. and i’m assuming that i can “uninstall” the ffdshow tryouts from the control panel (correct?). but how can i undo the registry changes?

i’m asking in part because i’m getting an occasional recording error (i’m using a ceton pcie tuner card) and want to make sure it has nothing to do with the changes i made here.


Comment left September 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #98170 from Jeremy [Reply]

To echo the question here: How can the registry hack be reversed?

Comment left January 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm Permanent Link

Comment #87359 from Kevin [Reply]

I have tried all the info that was suggested.

Step 1… FFDShow done and installed
SVN done and installed
Step 2….Gabest’s Matroska Splitters downloaded but will NOT install
Step 3….To see MKV files in media centre downloaded registry file and installed.

Its only step 2 that will no install for me. I extracted it to the root drive, right clicked and raun as administrator but all I keep getting is the following message:

The Modual “C:\MatroskaSplitter.ax” failed to load.

Make sure the binary is stored at the specified path or debug it to check for problems with the binary or dependent .DLL files.

The specified modual could not be found.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Comment left November 1, 2012 at 7:59 am Permanent Link

@Reply #109986 from AreYouSure [Reply]

Did you extract it into your root directory? It’s trying to install the file located directly in c:\MatroskaSplitter.ax not on your desktop or somewhere else… You can always edit the cmd file and update the directory. Make sure you run as administrator

Comment left March 14, 2013 at 1:48 am Permanent Link

Alan Bennett
Comment #301414 from Alan Bennett [Reply]

I am an HTPC fanatic and movie fan.

The problem I have had over the years is keeping up with all the software and driver changes and constantly finding my system has been compromised by some update or other.

All these codecs are a pain in the a***. To keep it simple, as this article tries to suggest, only serves to confuse the uninitiated.

Following years of frustration, where I might get MKV’s to work one day, but not the next. Then, if I wanted bit-streaming to work with my new 7. 1 Sony receiver only to find I had to change something yet again!

Well I gave up with Media Centre and Shark, Halli splitters, VLC and changing MP-HC et al and codecs for ever!

I decided to fork out a few dollars (£’s or €’s) on a ready use to use system – Splash Pro from Mirillis. No more banging my head against the wall trying to get something to work – it actually 100% works (almost) straight out of the box! Eureka!

My Intel system is directly supported, my MKV’s work without fail, DTS works with full support of all current formats for my Sony. Sub-titles work, AVI works, MP4 works, MOV works. For the non-technical amongst us – it does the ruddy job.

Don’t waste time on all the other geek friendly web sites just go to


Now I am sure some clever techie (real world?) will poo-poo this, but they should get a life and find something else to play with. Us humans want some thing that works – full stop!

Sorry to on!

Comment left October 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm Permanent Link

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