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How to Play a DVD on Windows 10 and 11 [Free Download]

Last Updated on Apr. 29, 2022 – by David Morgan
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Play DVD on Windows Laptop

If you have a DVD collection and recently tried to pop a disc into your Windows PC to enjoy one of your favorite movies or TV shows, you probably ran into a bit of a problem. Not all versions of Windows have a native DVD player for DVDs. 

Windows decided not to pay licensing fees for DVD support in their operating systems and media players, including Windows 10 and 11. So unless you purchased a PC with pre-installed DVD playback software, you’re probably wondering how to play DVDs on newer Windows versions. 

Continue reading to learn about several methods for PC DVD playback, including how to use the world’s #1 free DVD player for Windows, PowerDVD.


What is a DVD and Blu-ray Player Software?

DVD and Blu-ray player software is a tool that plays DVDs or Blu-rays when you insert the discs into an optical drive. This program should include all the playback options you need to watch a movie and the menu items from the discs.

When you think of a DVD or Blu-ray player, you probably think of a separate box you hook up to your TV to play discs. However, DVD and Blu-ray player software is downloaded on your computer, so you don’t need a separate box taking up space. These play movies on your computer screen, and some have the option of screencasting the movie to your television or hooking your computer up to your TV with a USB. Most DVD and Blu-ray player software are also complete media players, meaning you can store, organize, play and share photos, videos, music files, podcasts, and more.  

How to Play DVDs Using Windows Media Player?

If you're looking for a free DVD player for Windows 10, Windows Media Player might be a good option. It comes pre-downloaded on most Windows laptops and PCs, giving users a fast, easy way to view DVDs on their computers. 

To play DVDs on your computer with Windows Media Player, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the DVD into your disc drive.
  2. Open Windows Media Player.
    The DVD will automatically start playing through the program.

There is probably a good reason if Windows Media Player doesn't play your disc. 

Windows Media Player typically only plays Data DVDs. Commercial and rental DVDs are in DVD-Video format and won't be playable with the software. You can download a video codec, but this can be complicated and confusing for non-tech-savvy individuals. 

We recommend just getting another free DVD player for Windows.

Why Use an External Software to Play DVDs?

While Windows Media Player is convenient, it can't be relied upon to play all discs, including DVD-video discs and Blu-rays.

It's also not as user-friendly or as simple as other players. Therefore, it is recommended to download a more versatile free DVD player for Windows.

How to Play a DVD or Blu-Ray in Any Format?

If you're looking for a free DVD player for Windows that can play discs of any format, PowerDVD is a simple solution. It allows you to play CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays of all formats. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Download PowerDVD for free.
  2. Install PowerDVD.
  3. Insert a disc. Your content will play automatically. 

How to Play DVD on a Computer for Any Version of Windows

Windows 11 is currently the most reliable operating system, so we recommend updating your device to this OS if you can.

How to Play DVD on Windows 11

With Windows 11 being so new, it could be challenging to find DVD playback software. Luckily, PowerDVD is an excellent free DVD player for Windows and works on the new OS. So even if you don't plan to watch DVDs that often, PowerDVD will be a great addition to your updated OS. You'll be able to open and enjoy nearly any video, photo, or music file.

To play a DVD already inserted in your Windows 11 machine, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install PowerDVD.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Play DVD file with PowerDVD on Windows 11
  4. Find the disc drive with your DVD.
  5. Right-click on the disc drive and select Play with CyberLink PowerDVD. 
  6. Media Playback with PowerDVD on Windows 11

How to Play DVD on Windows 10

You can run DVDs on Windows 10 through Windows Media Player. However, Microsoft recommends that users download a free DVD player for Windows from the Microsoft Store. You can download PowerDVD to play DVDs on Windows 10 in upscaled quality, thanks to its TruTheater enhancements. Enjoy richer, more detailed colors with a crisp, balanced sound.

To play a DVD already inserted after you have opened PowerDVD, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Media Library.
  2. Select Movies/TV.
  3. Click Disc Tab.
  4. Media Playback with PowerDVD on Windows 10

How to Play DVD on Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 does not come with a built-in DVD player for PC. Instead, you will need to purchase a DVD player in the Windows Store. We recommend downloading PowerDVD, as this versatile program supports movies, photos, audio, and other media types in various file versions.

To play DVDs in Windows 8.1:

  1. Download and install PowerDVD.
  2. Simply insert your disc.

How to Play DVD on Windows 7

If you are currently running Windows 7 on your PC, you will need to upgrade to the Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate, or Enterprise edition to play DVDs natively. However, downloading PowerDVD is an easier way to play DVDs on Windows 7.

Not all playback software will work with an older OS like Windows 7. PowerDVD, however, is available for a range of operating system versions. You can play any DVD through PowerDVD without worrying about downloading a decoder or using codecs.

  1. Download and install PowerDVD.
  2. Insert your disc, and it will autoplay. 

Dos and Don’ts of Picking a DVD Player Software

Here are some Dos and Don’ts for choosing the right paid or free DVD Player for Windows: 

Dos

  1. Read Reviews Before You Buy
  2. With so many DVD and Blu-ray player software options, it’s essential to research before downloading new software onto your PC, even if it’s a free DVD player for Windows. Reviews will let you know what features are available in each model so that you can pick the one specific to your needs. For instance, some media players don’t support BD-Live, so if that’s a feature you often use, make sure your player will support it. 

  3. Choose an Option With a Casting Feature
  4. Even if you often watch DVD and Blu-ray on your PC, having a screencast option is helpful when you want to view something on the big screen. Whether you are showing a YouTube video to friends and family or having a movie night with your partner, it’s hard for multiple people to crowd around a computer screen. Make sure you choose a free DVD player for Windows that is compatible with your streaming service, whether Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV. 

  5. Choose a DVD or Blu-ray Player Software With Media Organization 
  6. Since many free DVD players for Windows offer organizational features, this is a no-brainer. Many of us have thousands of videos, photos, songs, and other media spread out over our smartphones and PCs. We use different apps to store and manage our media. You can keep everything together in a searchable library with a good media player. 

Don’ts

  1. Settle for a Player That Only Plays DVDs or Blu-rays
  2. Since many DVD and Blu-ray player software are also complete media players, don’t settle for anything less. Get a media player to play CDs, audio, and video files. The more format support, the better. 

  3. Choose an Option Without a Free Download
  4. Try before you buy! A solid media player will offer a free download so you can make sure the program is a good fit before purchasing. Be wary of companies that don’t offer a free trial - it means they don’t have faith in their product. 

  5. Forget About Ease-of-Use
  6. If you use a media player to store and play all of your media files, you will use it every day. Ensure the software is user-friendly, with a clean interface and easy-to-use features. Check reviews to ensure the software you choose will let you quickly and easily locate/watch your media without any hassle.

Download the Best Windows DVD Player for Free

You can find dozens of free DVD players for Windows, but our top choice is PowerDVD. PowerDVD features a simple, user-friendly interface and supports a wide range of file types. So you can play all your favorite media in one place!

PowerDVD also includes TrueTheater enhancements, allowing you to adjust your DVDs and films' color, lighting, and audio. These enhancements create an optimal viewing experience comparable to what you see in movie theaters.

Now that you know how to play a DVD on a laptop download the best free DVD player for Windows, PowerDVD, and start enjoying your favorite DVDs in the best quality.


Want to watch a Blu-ray disc instead? Here's how to play a Blu-ray disc on Windows.

How to Play a DVD FAQ

1. What are the Best Free DVD Players for Windows?

If you're curious about the best free DVD players for Windows, here are our top 3 choices.

  1. PowerDVD
  2. Macgo Blu-ray Player
  3. Corel WinDVD

For more information about the best free DVD players for Windows, click here.

2. What Features Should I Look for in a DVD and Blu-ray Player Software?

The main features you should look for are:

  1. Both Blu-ray and DVD capabilities
  2. Video and audio enhancements
  3. Universal format support
  4. Easy navigation
  5. Streaming and sharing capabilities

If you’re looking for a free DVD player for Windows that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PowerDVD.

3. How to Play DVDs and Blu-rays Without a DVD Drive?

If you want to play DVDs and Blu-ray but your PC doesn’t have a disc drive, you can buy an external drive or add-in optical drive. Most drives plug into your computer via a USB cable.

You can also convert your discs into digital files. If you have an older PC at home, you can use software like MakeMKB to convert your discs, then watch on your current PC, smartphone, or tablet. PowerDVD comes with 100 GB of storage, so you can store up to 40 HD movies and watch them anywhere on any device.

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