The vast majority of media players depend on codecs to render multimedia files so as a Windows user having a codec package installed is pretty much mandatory. Currently, one of the best choices in this matter is the Win7codecs bundle. This free codec collection will ensure that your media players can in fact play any multimedia file (as long as it’s supported by the media player itself). Moreover, Win7codecs contains one of the most complete sets of codecs currently available yet it managed to remain small in size.
As mentioned above the Win7codecs package is rather small, only ~30 MB and the installation folder takes approximately 68 MB of hard disk space. The install process is fast and simple with the sole mention of an adware window that will prompt you to install Wheaterbug, a weather application with no utility for the Win7codecs bundle.
Before installing its own set of codecs, the program uninstalls any other codecs that are already present on your computer to avoid incompatibility issues. And, like in almost all installation processes you will be able to select between a Complete and a Custom install mode. Concerning requirements, just as the program’s name states you will need to have Windows 7 as your OS (and as long as your computer supports it, then it will also support Windows7codecs).
The GUI of Win7codecs is very simple and has a tabbed layout. In fact it is just what this type of application needs: you will be able to quickly find the settings that interest you because except for the first two tabs (Config and Misc) and the last one (Help), all of the other ones are organized by file types (Audio, AVI/RM, H264, MKV, MOV/OGG, MPG/MP4 and SWAP).
To make things even easier a Reset All button is present in the bottom-left section of all the tabs so you can quickly go back to the default settings in case you pushed the wrong buttons. And as a quick, simple solution for non-experts you can select the developer’s suggested settings (also available on the bottom of all tabs).
- Small yet exhaustive codec bundle.
- Easy install process.
- Simple, tabbed and well organized interface.
- Doesn’t perform file associations.
- Option to manually enable/disable individual codecs.
- Users with UAC (User Account Control) disabled may experience playback problems and be forced to re-enable it for Win7codecs to function properly.
- Issues can also appear for users that changed the name of certain system files.
Even though Win7codecs currently has the most complex set of codecs, if for some reason are unsatisfied with it you can always try K-Lite Mega Codec Pack or Windows Media Player 9 Codecs Pack, two some of the most popular alternatives.
A codec bundle is a must-have if you desire worry-free multimedia playback of all types of files and Win7codecs is one of the best solutions to ensure that. Its small size, large collection of codecs and simple interface with comprehensive settings will certainly do the job, even for some of the most demanding Windows 7 users.