Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file (Solved)

This blog post is about how I solved the Windows Media Player ‘encountered a problem while playing the file’ error message.

I saw this error message too many times trying to resolve an issue playing a DRM file that I own. It was a movie that I legally brought yesterday. I’m writing this post, in the hope it helps others who experience the same error message with their legal DRM media (audio and video).

I suspect this error or similar is something that many others are going to start seeing as IPTV becomes more popular and I hope the support and systems improve to help novices resolve these issues.

So what is DRM? Digital Rights Management, in principle is a nifty idea. You buy or rent a tv show, movie, music etc to download. Then only you can watch it. There is a huge debate around the whole concept and limitations. What I personally found frustrating was something on my computer changed (probably installing a new CPU) and et voila… blank screen time or in this case an error message: 

Windows Media Player message

 

So I think the computer spec had slightly changed and apparently that’s enough to cause problems. I am using Windows 7 with Windows Media Player 12. This is what I tried that ‘didn’t work’:

1. I uninstalled any software that is related to codecs. This included Windows Media Player and itunes. To uninstall Windows Media Player I typed optionalfeatures.exe at the command prompt and uninstalled via that method. Then rebooted.

2. I deleted all the registry entries the system would allow at: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\DRM and that didn’t work.

3. I looked for \ProgramData\Microsoft\DRM\ but it was missing! If found I would of removed.

4. I tried to install Windows Media Player 11, but that wouldn’t install. The service provider who I brought the video file from mention specifically Windows Media Player 11.

5. I looked at the DRM video file using a piece of software called gspot and it said WMV3 / WMP V9 (VC-1 Simple/Main). So I thought okay I will install fresh WMV 9 codecs. Did that and rebooted.

6. I tried to watch the video via another media player. Tried winamp, media player classic and VLC. Nope.

None of those worked for me and wasted my time.

So what was the solution?

ResetDRM that is available from Microsoft (a link from that page). I downloaded and ran this as ‘administator’. To do this you right click on it and select ‘run as administrator’. It then did the following….

1. It ignored some registry entries at: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DRM\CLSID\

2. It deleted files at: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\DRM\ . Now I swear I had show hidden files on, I remember checking.

3. It deleted a datapath in the registry (whatever that was?)

4. It registered a drmv2clt.dll file.

Then when I tried to play the DRM video via Windows Media Player 12 it worked. It prompted me to login to the service I paid for the video. Then it asked me to download a couple of more updates and the video worked again. I wish resetDRM was inbuilt into Windows Media Player though.

So now I can again watch the video I’ve paid for. However I need to look at how I make a backup of my license, just in case the next time the company I paid are bust and not available to verify me. I like the idea behind DRM, I pay for content. However something needs to change to make it easier to pay and watch, without tripping up over tech issues.

Hope this post helps someone else and resolves their problem within a minute, rather than the length of time it took me.

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Nick Chown
Nick Chown
10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

When accessing the MS site referred to in your post the response is that the article refers to a different version of Windows than the one I am running (you must be running windows 7; I’m still using XP).

Do you know if your solution works with XP?

Cheers.

Nick Chown

Steve J
Steve J
10 years ago

Thanks Andrew…worked a treat.

Nick Chown
Nick Chown
9 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Sorry for the very long delay in thanking you. Have only just been reminded that I asked a question about my WMP problem on this site! Still haven’t solved the problem but am grateful to you for taking the trouble to respond.

Cheers.

Evan
Evan
8 years ago

THANK YOU!
i spent half a day on this problem and finally followed your instruction i was able to watch that porno i downloaded long time ago but couldn’t get the WMV working.

Evan

Evan
Evan
8 years ago

so Andrew have you worked out how to backup license?

Evan