When you sit down to watch something at your computer, the last thing you want is a video that won’t play. If the video won’t play, you have several different causes to consider.
First of all, it depends on if your video is located on a DVD, on your hard drive, or in a web browser. If the DVD isn’t working, the three main possibilities are the software you’re using (such as WinDVD or DVD player, for example), the functionality of the DVD drive, or the quality of the disc itself. Typically, as long as you’ve got the latest version of the DVD viewing software, it should be fine. You might check the preferences, but it’s more likely to be a hardware issue. If it’s a disk drive problem, then any DVD or CD you put in the drive will give you problems. If you hear erratic buzzing or whirring, it’s probably a drive problem. Finally, the disk itself might be the culprit, in which case you can test others to be sure.
If you want to open a movie file from your hard drive, the file itself might be corrupted. You can try opening it on another computer to see if it works, or opening it in different movie viewing applications (the most common being QuickTime, Windows Media, DivX, RealPlayer, etc.). If the file works in an application, problem solved. If not, the file itself is probably to blame.
Now, what happens when you’re trying to view media on the web and it’s not working? Usually, when a video won’t play on a website, it will tell you why. On occasion, you’ve chosen something that has been taken down, in which case it will say that the person who posted the video has taken it down, or that it was taken down for copyright reasons. If this is not why, the reason is probably because the kind of software plug-in they use on their website to display video content is not up-to-date on your computer.
Adobe Flash is a prominent format for viewing online media, and you can find it for free on Mac or PC at Adobe’s website. Often, content that requires Flash will prompt you to upgrade to the latest version if your browser doesn’t have it. Note that if you have multiple browsers, upgrading Flash in one won’t necessarily update Flash in the other web browsers. In addition, some websites simply don’t support certain kinds of browsers or operating systems (often Apple’s Safari and Apple’s Macintosh OS, and rarely Firefox or Internet Explorer).
If you think you should be able to view a video but the video won’t play, it might be a good idea to see if that video works on another computer or mobile device. Sometimes, it’s a video that was uploaded uncompressed and it just takes a long time to load. Sometimes, if there is an error when the browser tries to load the video, you can refresh the page and get the video to work.
These are all possibilities for why your video won’t play, so hopefully you can now find the solution to your particular issue.