You can play a DVD in Windows 10 for free with some help. But that help is probably best if it doesn't come from Microsoft. I'll tell you how Microsoft's solution type works for some people. Then I will tell you about the much better alternative called VLC which everyone can use and receive regular updates. Best of all, it's free!
Updated March 22, 2019, with a second look at the Windows Store app.
RIP Windows Media Center
When Windows 10 appeared in 2015, it left Windows Media Center, a home theater system tool that lets you play DVDs on your computer. Windows 8 didn't come with it either, but users running Windows 8 Pro could still install Windows Media Center.
Even this solution is now gone. Windows Media Center simply doesn't work. Microsoft offers an official solution for DVD playback, but it's bad.
Microsoft Windows DVD player is a $ 15 Windows Store app. It is an outdoor tool that should only work, but when I tested the app, it did nothing else. I'm not the only one who experienced this. Check out the latest reviews, it seems the problems with Windows DVD players persist since its inception.
Windows DVD Player: Hit or miss
Users who upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or from Windows 8 with Windows Media Center should have received a free copy of Windows DVD player. Check the Windows Store and you should be able to download it for free. However, if you have a new computer, you have no luck in this freebie.
A warning sign: I got Windows DVD player free after upgrading from Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center 2015. When I first made a clean install of Windows 10 after upgrading, but I lost the right to download Windows DVD Player for free.
As I said, if you make a fork over $ 15, you can install the app on any of your Windows devices.
I tested Windows DVD players with an Acer Aspire E 15 laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1803, an internal DVD player / recorder and five commercial DVDs.
Microsoft offers a 7-day free trial to test the app. That's good, because Microsoft doesn't offer refunds for its DVD player, but the trial version doesn't allow you to play movies. Instead, you just check your "compatibility" system, which takes a few minutes.
The idea that DVD software in 2019 needs to run a compatibility check is ridiculous, but it is. In my tests on the Acer Aspire, the compatibility check did not work. Instead of showing a "go / no go" result, the app only crashed.
With no luck to Acer, I turned to my credible Lenovo X220 and an external Transcend standard DVD player / recorder. This combo program worked with Microsoft's DVD Player program 2015 and, as it turns out, still does. So to recreate, my 7-year-old Sandy Bridge PC running Windows 10 1803 was compatible, while an Acer Aspire with the more modern Kaby Lake processor was not.
So now that I know the DVD player is working with Lenovo, it is time to invest $ 15 of PCWorld's hard earned money to see how it plays current movies, all five DVDs I tested worked, ranging from studios and movies to When I first inserted a disc, everything I needed to do was burn up the Windows DVD Player, and the disc started playing after a few minutes, the controls are easy to manipulate with a mouse, and it covers all the basics: play / pause There are also checks hidden under three points to jump back to the DVD menu.
I encountered an annoyance, where some DVD menus could not be properly navigated. to play the whole movie and stop at a show screen – the menu item just below what you wanted. This didn't happen with every DVD, but I saw it once or twice.
Since I now had a full version of the DVD player I decided to try it again on the Aspire E15 again, only if the compatibility test was incorrect. However, all of these multiple crashes were accurate and Acer failed to play the same five discs used on Lenovo. The compatibility check is a key test if you are considering buying this app. Still, I would not recommend wasting your money even if it works.
To begin with, the app is very bare legs. The features and interface have not changed much, if at all, because it first rolled out in 2015. If you look at the current reviews in the Windows Store, some users still experience playback issues. It's not even worth $ 0.99, even less $ 15.
The good news for those who still want to play DVDs in their computer is a much better free option available to computers.
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VLC runs on Windows 10.
VLC runs on Windows 10.
If you use a pre-boxed computer from a vendor like Dell or HP, your computer may already have a free commercial DVD playback solution installed.
If not, a better alternative to Microsoft's Windows 10 DVD player is to turn to the free and ever-reliable VLC video player. Make sure you download the desktop application and not the Windows Store version, which does not support DVD or Blu-ray.
Once installed, open the program, insert a DVD and click Media> Open Disc to watch your DVDs.
It's really that simple, but VLC packs surprisingly hidden forces for anyone who wants to dive a little deeper. For example, VLC 3.0 added the ability to play video and music to Chromecast devices, 360-degree and HDR video support, HD audio encoding, and more.
Additional reporting by Brad Chacos