MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7

FFDShow Installer Logo Sure there’s nothing wrong with codec packs, Shark007 and CCCP are wonderful products, but there is something to be said for keeping it simple as well. This guide will take you through the minimum steps to install a nice clean setup with the minimum software required to play MKVs and many other less popular codecs as well. For this setup we are going to install only FFDShow and Gabest’s MKV splitters for x86 and x64 if that’s what your running.

Step One: Download a copy of FFDShow Tryouts from here. Those running an x64 version will also need the x64 SVN here. Install the right ones for your system, the latest versions will work.

Step Two: Download Gabest’s Matroska Splitters. There is a version of Gabest’s with an installer for x86 here and x64 here. To install simply extract to your C:\ root drive and right-click to run “gabest_splitter_enable.cmd” as administrator. You should receive one confirmation on x86 and two for x64 versions.  To uninstall simply run “gabest_splitter_remove.cmd” as administrator.

Step Three: Enable viewing of MKV files in Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center by downloading either the x86 registry file or x64 registry file and double-click to add it to your registry. Allow it to be added when prompted. Restart your machine.

That’s all there is to it, this will take you from a clean install to playing MKVs and more in no time at all. For details on using FFDShow Audio settings for your live TV and DVDs in Media Center check this article.

Media Center Movie Library

If you have trouble viewing your MKVs in Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player, try deleting your “C:\Users\YOUR-USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabase_371.wmdb” file. To enable this file to be deleted you will need to stop the WMPNetworkSvc service from the task manager (ctrl-alt-delete).


Jussi said...

Instead of FFDShow I use DivX7 and only install the H.264 codec. FFDShow scares me off with it's configuration options and installation.

MHealy said...

The problem I have with DivX7 is that it won't work on x64 systems inside Media Center and if your MKVs contain audio encoding other than AAC you need a seperate audio codec as well. I believe FFDShow porivdes the best compatibility for a broader spectrum of MKV encodings without installing a codec pack.

Anonymous said...

So would this help when trying to play MKVs on the Xbox 360 when using it as a Media Center Extended?

MHealy said...

I don't believe this will add direct support for Xbox 360 to play MKV files but I do believe it will add the ability to Play To from Windows 7. From what I understand this guide there is a guide at the following address that will assist in getting MKVs playing on an Xbox 360 Extender:

Stuart said...

I've done this myself in the past but I used Haali Media Splitter and not Gabest’s Matroska Splitter what's the difference there?

I also used FFDShow Tryouts as you have and the MKV registry hack from the link below, is that the same hack?!2518DD508BB713E8!220.entry

Great site btw!

MHealy said...

Haali's Media Splitter is a fine choice for users on x32 but it doesn't currently come in an x64 version. Gabest's splitter comes in both x32 and x64 which is the reason I chose it for this guide.

The registry settings for the MKV hack are the same. It's a simple hack that adds the extention to the registry so that Media Center and WMP recognize the file type.

Geert van der Cruijsen said...

I tried this.. my video is showing but my subtitles don't seem to work.

windows 7 x64

any clue how to fix it?

MHealy said...

You will need to enable Subtitles in FFDShow Video Decoder Configuration. Just checking the checkbox in the left pane beside Subtitles should be enough in most cases to enable Subtitles.

Geert van der Cruijsen said...

ofcourse i enabled the subtitles in ffdshow video decoder configuration. it seems that ffdshow video isn't working when i play mkv files with media player on my windows 7 7057 x64 build.

MHealy said...

I'm not sure why FFDshow wouldn't be used, especially with MKV files which aren't a native format. Do subtitles appear in other programs, have you checked your codecs with Graphstudio?

You may need to rename several system files if FFDShow isn't picking up the decoding. mp3dmod.dll, mp4sdecd.dll, mp43decd.dll and mpg4decd.dll are the most likely culprits and can be found in Windows\system32 and syswow64. You will need the take ownership reg fix to rename them.

There are a number of changes to the playback pipeline that I don't like in version 7057 that alter handling of files by Media Center and WMP. You may have better luck with version 7000.

Geert van der Cruijsen said...

I dont feel like going back to 7000.

I tried removing the dll's but this isn't working either.

When i use graphstudio to render my file i get the following results:

movie.mkv -> Matroska Splitter -> Microsoft dtv-dvd video decoder -> video renderer

and for sound

movie.mkv -> Matroska Splitter -> ffdshow Audio Decoder

So sound works but for video it uses dtv-dvd video decoder instead of ffdshow.

i renamed the following dll files which didn't help: (in both system32 and syswow64)


Any other tips?

MHealy said...

You can try installing DirectVobSub but I don't believe there is an x64 version currently. I think trying to subvert the default DTV/DVD filter will break any live tv playback. If that's not something you use the file to rename is msmpeg2vdec.dll. Other than that I would have to take another look on my 7057 box.

Mikinho said...

Haali is available for x64:

Geert van der cruijsen said...

Thanks. removing those 2 dll's worked. i have subtitles again :)

I dont have any card to capture cable input so i dont need the live tv thing anyway

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