Windows 7: Build 7057 blocks third-party video codecs

The latest beta of Windows 7 blocks the usage of third party video decoders from Windows Media Player and MCE. Albain, a DirectShow (ffdshow) developer explains in his own words what he encountered when he was testing the multimedia pipeline of Windows 7 in the latest build 7057.

"Microsoft has locked mpeg4 and h264 codecs into Media Foundation, the replacer of DirectShow (even if directshow is still supported).There is no way to override those codecs, even if you develop a Media Foundation version of your decoder, because Microsoft maintains a list of preferred codecs (their codecs) into the registry (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and HKLM \MediaFoundation\Transforms\Preferred), and this registry key cannot be modified, even in admin mode. Only TrustedInstaller user can modify it, which is FYI the user that protects system files, and it cannot be used. Microsoft brought those new codecs, but blocked the possibility to use alternate codecs in their applications."

Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player users might need to worry whether things would still be the same in Windows 7 RC or whether it might change, even though there are alternative players options.

The E7 team revealed last month that in addition to built in DivX support, Windows Media Player will also natively support the .mov files.

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The article summary is a little wonky: Albain works on FFDShow TRYOUTS, not FFDShow. FFDShow is old, abandoned, and kinda broken.

Well this is very annoying.

I have some xvid/divx video's that simply don't work: I hear the audio but the screen remains black (only in fullscreen mode). And for some reason I can't play my DVD rips anymore from MediaCenter: "video error".

This is problematic indeed.
I'm running Windows 7 build 7057 right now and all the videos played in WMP are too bright. I used to tweak my ffdshow settings for things like this in XP but now it's impossible. My little finger tells me that DRM is behind all this.

Funk Dok said,
This is problematic indeed.
I'm running Windows 7 build 7057 right now and all the videos played in WMP are too bright. I used to tweak my ffdshow settings for things like this in XP but now it's impossible. My little finger tells me that DRM is behind all this.

Take off the tin hat.

They're still allowed in DirectShow with DXVA and all, what's the problem here? No one wants codec hell again with Media Foundation. IMO, this is a better approach.

CUDA is an Nvidia technology that allows a GPU to run arbitrary code like a second CPU. Generally it allows you to do very fast floating point calculations that aren't necessarily linked to rendering.

well... if this helps, they are blocking a bunch of stuff. Just wait till this os become more popular. For now, most of the ppl can say nothing because is just in beta row

it's a trap!

microsoft purposely locks out something and waits for people to complain..... then it nailz them hax0rz!


another reason for restricting the new WMP to MS codecs: the anti-trust blokes!
if WMP supports any ol' codec, everyone's happy with WMP and won't even bat an eyelid on 3rd party offerings.
then the 3rd party small players will complain to their union or something and lawyers come out to play....

WMP11 is perfectly fine for any an all video if you use say ffdshow or vista codec package, or cccp ... i use WMP as my default player and love it, at least it has no bugs like the recent public build of VLC has with dual screens :P

Actually Windows Media Player can't use a third party codec, since the included ones are built in the program. You can install VLC and any codec you want, but WMP will only use the ones included.

Everyone already uses VLC, so I don't see how it might affect anyone, expect the ones that sell their own codecs like Intervideo.

I would disagree with both sentences.

1) WMP can use 3rd party codec, I am playing RMVB format in it, am pretty sure it is not included inside WMP (Win 7, first beta)

2) not everyone uses VLC, most ppl use WMP, I like MediaPlayer Classic, sometimes GOM Player but since WMP can play now all videos I use WMP mostly

I welcome the change of Windows protecting codecs, but locking 3rd party ones isn't the right approach to this. Hope this gets lifted and instead just provide an option somewhere for default codecs to be restored in event of a messup or something like that.

aarste said,
I welcome the change of Windows protecting codecs, but locking 3rd party ones isn't the right approach to this. Hope this gets lifted and instead just provide an option somewhere for default codecs to be restored in event of a messup or something like that.

this is doesn't lock 3rd party codecs, just the codecs that WMP uses. WMP is gash anyway

Sometimes Microsoft actually screws up.


This isn't one of those times. Cheers to Microsoft for making Windows more usable and stable.

Surely all this says is saying is that for the novice user who stills uses WMP (ie most people) its locked so it'll never break, and for those of us who use WMP Classic, Zoom Player (ftw!) , VLC etc and have the capacity to fix things, we are allowed to change stuff. Does that not sound like perfect sense to anyone else? +1 for stopping the "my codecs aren't working" phone calls (probably about 80% of what I get asked help for).

"...into the registry (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and HKLM \MediaFoundation\Transforms\Preferred), and this registry key cannot be modified, even in admin mode. Only TrustedInstaller user can modify it, which is FYI the user that protects system files, and it cannot be used...."
So, you can change the owner of those keys an then modify them at will.

omnicoder said,
Yeah seriously.

Good point.

The ffdshow installer could simply (running in elevated mode) add the user running the instalation to the allowed users to modify this entry and be done with it.


IMO, this is a nonstory and just plain bitching...

You are not supposed to run Windows 7 on machines that aren't capable of running Aero. All machines that are capable of running Aero should also be able to accelerate video using Media Foundation (even my old GeForce 6200 could do 1080p just fine). What's the big deal? You are at least sure that those codecs will always work. With every single multimedia app installing their own codecs it might get a little messed up from time to time...

I generally like to use the CoreAVC codec to play h264 movies -- as it has the ability to play them smoothly even on lower spec machines. I think this is a step backwards -- I dont see any problem making it harder for a codec to elevate itself to 'most preferred' but I do see a problem fully locking out this ability. It would be nice if Microsoft provided a tool for codec preference arrangement and say only that tool was able to manipulate the preferences.

dw2003 said,
I generally like to use the CoreAVC codec to play h264 movies -- as it has the ability to play them smoothly even on lower spec machines. I think this is a step backwards -- I dont see any problem making it harder for a codec to elevate itself to 'most preferred' but I do see a problem fully locking out this ability. It would be nice if Microsoft provided a tool for codec preference arrangement and say only that tool was able to manipulate the preferences.

they're only doing for WMP(and MCE) though. it's THEIR app anyway, what they were doing before was leaving the door open for anyone to alter the playability of certain video files in a key windows component such as wmp. let's face it, changing those codecs is only for advanced users and it's not like the behaviour is being altered for other apps

This is a big deal 'cause the codecs built into Windows Media Player don't support subtitle files (.srt, .sub, etc)

In previous windows like Vista, Server 2008, XP, etc. the subtitles showed in Windows Media Player 'cause it was actually ffdshow that was rendering the files and subtitles.

To me this is kinda a big deal 'cause I like to have subtitles, and it'll be a huge deal to any hearing impaired person.

This is not a big deal... Microsoft wants to make sure that the Codecs used in their own products (Windows Media Player and MCE) are codecs they know will do the job

If you're installing your own codecs, you are also highly likely to install your own media player that will work with those codecs, so I don't see the big deal.

The title for this article is what is bringing so much confusion... This only applies to Windows Media Player and MCE, not the entire operating system, if I am indeed reading it right.

Some of you haters have no clue whatt it takes to build a good codec yet you want to jump on the Hate MS Koolaide.
It is BETA hense things turn off and on from build to build to test features, localize errors with "codecs" and third party software/codecs are tested for performance, compatibility, etc.

If MS wants to shut it off for now to test other issues in a "LEAKED" build that you are running for FREE that you DOWNLOADED off of certain sites other than Microsoft then let them. They didn't block it in the "ONLY" real release of a public BETA did they?

Stop the moaning and those who are hating so much have you looked under your APPLE lately? It's a PC...

When its official or an RC is released for download from MS and the codecs are not allowed to be installed then perhaps you can address it. Until that moment happens don't hate it.

They aren't even blocking all 3rd party codecs! The only thing they keep you from doing is replacing the Windows supplied codecs in WMP and Media Center.

Also, you're the only person who has said anything about Apple.

As long as WMP/MC can play all the formats I need, I don't care if I can't install third party codecs. Personally I see this as a good move, third party codecs if not installed properly or installed with other third party codecs *can* cause system stability issues (or other problems). With MS blocking this, it makes Windows more solid and gives users one less thing to worry about.

Anyway, MS is just giving us what we want - a more stable Windows - but naturally people are gonna complain now because they can't install third party codecs....but if they could then someone else would complain their Windows crashes all the time due to dodgy third party codec install, MS can't win :P

I would guess they are just testing the built in codecs right now and they blocked third party codecs to make sure they don't get replaced accidentally by some program. They have to make sure they're testing the right ones after all; when it goes final I doubt they'll still be locked out.

That could be true, this is a leaked internal build and not a public one. Best thing is to wait for the official RC build and see where things stand.

Wait, you can't use 3rd party in WMP/Center only or you can't use 3rd in any apps? If it's just WMP/center, then that's just fine because I use KMPLayer for all of my videos so it doesn't really matters.

Neither is completely correct. WMP/Media Centre will always default to a Windows codec if there is one available. If a Windows codec does not exist for a file format, it will load a 3rd party one if its available. I don't think that this would affect 3rd party apps at all.

Lose Lose for Microsoft.

If they don't block them, the EU will no doubt hassle them. If they do, Windows users who are avvy enough to know what they are doing will get angry about it.

Gotta feel for them at times.

TRC said,
Why would the EU want Microsoft to block third party software?

It's not third party software, it's third party codecs ONLY on windows media player. Gizmodo's title was very misleading.

I love FFDSHOW. The codec is really lightweight and hardware accelerated. I noticed I can`t use ffdshow on Media Player... too bad. But I now use Media Player Classic, which is great. You can stretch the vdeo to gain full pixel light pretty easily (using the numpad to regulate it).
Also you need ffdshow to add Unsharp mask at 40%. That makes any movies (mainly HD ones) A LOT BETTER.
I recommend it with 5/5 stars

I don't want to say this is set in stone yet as it is a leaked build but I expected something like this was coming. Windows 7 has been so great and sounding to good to be true, Microsoft's true nature had to come out somewhere. They caved to user feedback about UAC, if It is true then we need to vocal about this too.

So, it won't let you replace the codecs for things Windows already has? Seems like a good thing if you ask me, less risk of third party apps going in and breaking things.

Marshalus said,
So, it won't let you replace the codecs for things Windows already has? Seems like a good thing if you ask me, less risk of third party apps going in and breaking things.

much as I hate fixing up other peoples machines cluttered with lame codecs...

locking out the ability to replace codecs is retarded, Microsofties are not the best coders in the universe.

So lets throw post processing and performance out of the window (no pun intended), just to have some protection from potentially risky stuff?

This could not have been written by someone who has even the slightest clue in video editing and encoding.

Now before everyone over reacts, realize that this is a leaked build we're talking about. For all we know, someone accidentally flipped the "right protected" switch on those registry keys before they compiled it.

Wait for the release candidate before you pull out the torches and pitchforks.

Wait what?! I use ffdshow on 7057... in fact I use a codec pack ...

I read the original thread, it is just some forum message, I'm not sure it is main page material.

Extra codec support out of the box = Good
Locking out 3rd party codecs = Bad

So much for "developers, developers, developers"

From reading the article, it only locks out 3rd party codecs that Windows supports already. It won't keep you from expanding your installed codecs to include additional formats.

It's simply pathetic.
I'm glad I already uninstalled wmp, and reading that just further confirms that uninstalling wmp was a good idea. Good riddance.

Lord Ba'al said,
It's simply pathetic.
I'm glad I already uninstalled wmp, and reading that just further confirms that uninstalling wmp was a good idea. Good riddance.


What? It's not even true. So who cares?

Intelman said,
Well, as long as the default ones work. they seem hardware accelerated already.

3rd party codecs blocked? OH, TEH HORRAR!!!!11 HOW WILL WE SURVIVE!!!!

non.sequitur2 said,
3rd party codecs blocked? OH, TEH HORRAR!!!!11 HOW WILL WE SURVIVE!!!!

Well for things like DivX (which is constantly reducing the load needed to DECompress a file and stream it), I'd say that's not good.

Can't imagine the DivX encoder app being too happy either, because it will want version x, but windows is running version 1.0 (or whatever is shipped),

non.sequitur2 said,
3rd party codecs blocked? OH, TEH HORRAR!!!!11 HOW WILL WE SURVIVE!!!!

Jokes aside, there are situations where 3rd party codecs (even replacing default ones) are necessary. For example, the low end hardware in a lot of HTPC's makes it impossible to run HD H.264 with anything other than the CoreAVC codec.