Quick Fix: Install Win32 Codecs in Ubuntu Linux

Installing libxine-extracodecs will get you the most wide-spread codecs installed, but not all of them. MPlayer, a movie player program for Linux, has support for a big bunch of video and audio formats. Installing them in Ubuntu / Kubuntu should be as easy as sudo aptitude install w32codecs but for some reason it says “No candidate version found for w32codecs”. So here’s how to install them manually:

  1. Go to the MPlayer Download page. Scroll down to the Binary Codec Packages section. From the table, select the download link corresponding to your architecture (x86 in my case) and the mirror closest to you. Click on the link to download the codec bundle.
  2. Unpack the essential-XXXXXXXX.tar.bz2 file you have downloaded and copy the contents to /usr/lib/win32/ (You may need to create the directory first)

Now MPlayer can play about anything on Earth, as long as it’s not DRM’ed.

Update 2009 June 3rd: On a more recent Ubuntu, it appears that the codecs need to be installed in /usr/lib/codecs/ instead of /usr/lib/win32/, and you might also need to aptitude install the old libstdc++5.

6 Responses to Quick Fix: Install Win32 Codecs in Ubuntu Linux

  1. libervisco says:

    Actually, I think most people wont need w32codecs to play whatever videos they wish to have and frankly I don’t recommend it.

    I am using Debian Sid, and the ffmpeg in it supports all video file formats such as avi, mov, wmv, flv etc. What else do you need?

    I also recommend using VLC as it is light, simple and uses ffmpeg so it will play everything.

    This command should do it:

    apt-get install ffmpeg vlc

    That’s it. :)


  2. Constantin says:

    I use Kaffeine myself most of the time. The thing is, I had been given a video file which neither xine, nor mplayer could play, and installing these win32 codecs made mplayer able to play it. Granted, files with these “less-common” codecs are rare, but they do exist.

  3. […] Quick Fix: Install Win32 Codecs in Ubuntu Linux […]

  4. danny says:

    i am using ubuntu linux and cant seem to get any videos to play at all
    i have mplayer and vlc and all i get is a bunch of scrambled videos
    i have been looking for fixes for several days now and cant find any
    have only en using linux for about a week now
    like it very much
    just need everything to work before i dump windows
    thanks for any help you can offer

  5. Constantin says:

    Hi Danny,

    I suggest you go to ubuntuforums.org and describe your problem in detail. Make sure you specify exactly what kind of videos you are trying to play. Perhaps they are scrambled with DRM? In any case, I am pretty sure people on that forum can help you.


  6. Omar says:

    Thanks a lot, I needed it to convert rmbv to avi :D

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