Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack

CNET Editors' review

Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack provides a set of software codecs for viewing and listening to many forms of media in Windows Media Player. While this program merely enhances a media player, it does a fine job of accommodating many different and unusual types of videos and music.

The program's interface is simple to operate, since it maintains the classic media player layout. Its commands are easy to understand and navigate. This codec pack makes it a bit difficult to measure any improvements to Windows Media Player since it's not a player itself but rather a set of add-ons to your current audiovisual software. However, it adds the capability to watch and listen to a bevy of file formats, from DVDs and CDs to video files downloaded from the Internet. Everything played well, and we never found any glitches during our testing. Using this as a basis, we'd say the program was pretty successful. It also offered an interesting subtitle database feature that lets you input subtitles on programs. This wasn't as necessary for DVDs, which normally come with their own subtitles, but it's a thoughtful and useful addition. While we had a difficult time gauging just what this collection of codecs adds to the original media player, we were confident we could watch or listen to practically anything after downloading and installing it.

Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack is freeware. It lets you view many different media types on your player, and we recommend it.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    3.4 stars

    out of 572 votes

    • 5 star: 186
    • 4 star: 163
    • 3 star: 50
    • 2 star: 36
    • 1 star: 137
  • Current version:

    1.8 stars

    out of 16 votes

    • 5 star: 2
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 12
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 16

  • 1.0 stars

    "MS Security Stops the Download due to Malware"

    September 19, 2013  |   By zizzyballuba58

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    None, with my MS Security Essentials NOT allowing the download, I didn't get to try it.

    Cons

    Could not use, because of Malware

    Summary

    UNUSABLE

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Installs Things You Don't Need!!!"

    September 13, 2013  |   By terrystephens16

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    I have no Idea. I uninstalled it as fast as I Could.

    Cons

    Installed Media Player123 without asking. Plus some other things I did not want as well. I know how to be careful and decline receiving extra programs and toolbars! My computer is not even a month old. I uninstalled but there is a trace that was left behind. System Restore could not even remove it. That makes me VERY ANGRY. Looks like CNET isn't worthy of the trust I used to have for it.

    Summary

    If you want only codecs Forget It. You're get things you don't want and your computer probably can't remove everything that got installed. A VERY SAD DAY for the way CNET manages it's SO CALLED safe downloads. CNET Has become my very last resort for software. What a Shame.I used them for 3 years without a problem.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "AVG Antivirus Bloatware embedded in this?"

    September 12, 2013  |   By Pedalbrake37

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    Have not had a chance to use media to open content that the codec claims to open, so I can't comment on Pro's.

    Cons

    I am 90% certain that embedded somewhere in this download is AVG Antivirus software that automatically installed & hijacks browsers searches (I use Chrome). AVG took over the homepage - I redirected to my previous homepage & then AVG changed my Google settings to open an AVG tab IN ADDITION TO my Google homepage. I changed the settings in Chrome to stop that crap & AVG made changes to Chrome to be the default search for ANY NEW Chrome tab. After a bit of searching, I was able to get that stopped, as well. I'm just waiting for the next grand entrance of AVG.

    By the way, before "experienced Software Engineers" try to flame me for not "paying attention" when installing & checking EUL & other bloatware permissions that they try to push; I stopped at every tab & checked what I was "accepting" or "declining". I declined every offer for additional CRAPWARE, and unchecked every tiny checkbox that offered to provide an additional service.

    Summary

    Do a search for "AVG Hijacked" & scroll through the pages & pages of people who had spent hours trying to get rid of this junk...CNET, you should be ashamed - When I received a popup that a new media player codec was available, I came directly to CNET to search & download, assuming that your reputation as a "Virus Free" download center was bulletproof. That reputation has suffered a hit, in my book. Please identify the rogue software installation & insist that it get removed IMMEDIATELY, before you continue acting as a conduit for this junk.

    Updated on Sep 12, 2013

    Update - I inadvertently gave this product 3 stars, which is a shame - it deserves none...

    Updated on Sep 18, 2013

    This morning, when I unlocked my computer, all of my open chrome tabs were redirected to sweetpacks-search. Is it related to this codecs download, I don't know for certain, but it smells fishy to me. Waiting for IT to decide how to proceed, but we will likely do a system restore to a date before the codec download. BEWARE OF THIS CODEC DOWNLOAD!!!

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Works just swell!"

    August 22, 2013  |   By yank_in_nam

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    Works just swell!

    Cons

    It's Microsoft - The Evil Empire!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "There are no virus or malware. Works as advertised."

    August 12, 2013  |  

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    There is a reason this is called Essential, this is an absolute requirement for folks that watch downloaded video. There is no other pack that does the same thing AND simply integrates into your system, with NO new players, or applications LIKE Realplayer and QuickTime. If you are using the Windows Media Player or VLC, this is essential to let you make the most of those applications.

    Cons

    None to me. YOU have to pay attention when downloading ANYTHING. If you don't want a toolbar... DO NOT CLICK ACCEPT, it literally asks you if you want it. Don't be lazy, and read, it's your system, they didn't force you to download AND install this. This does NOT give any issues or notifications from AVG, Avast, or Nod32, and yes, I HAVE TESTED THEM ALL.

    Summary

    Do your homework, pay attention. CHOOSE the items you would like to install, personally I unchecked EVERYTHING but FFDSHOW, because that is the codec portion of the pack. There are NO virus, NO malware. If YOU choose to install the toolbar, no doubt your anti-virus is going to fuss, that is one of the oldest ways of infecting you system, hence the red flag. Ask yourself why YOU fell for it AGAIN, perhaps inform yourself on the inner workings of your computer instead of besmirching the name of a useful application.

    Background: 15yrs Software Engineer and IT experience. I personally download and install this as often as possible, including my for my own father.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Software is 100% safe!"

    August 6, 2013  |   By Cleverman_Ultimate

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    There is no virus, no spyware. Everything is okay. They are paranoiac home users. Don't believe these users! WECP is excellent software. You can trust this software.

    Cons

    There is no virus, no spyware. Everything is okay. They are paranoiac home users. Don't believe these users! WECP is excellent software. You can trust this software.

    Summary

    Excellent software...

    Updated on Aug 11, 2013

    I use Windows Essentials Codec Pack v2.3d. There is no virus, no spyware. Everything is okay. WECP v2.3d is excellent software. You can trust this version but version 4.4 has insane problems.

    Updated on Aug 11, 2013

    I use Windows Essentials Codec Pack v2.3d. There is no virus, no spyware. Everything is okay. WECP v2.3d is excellent software. You can trust this version but version 4.4 has insane problems.

    You must accept WebCake etc. At this point i can tell you that: Don't install this software!

    I have not checked v4.4 against viruses and spywares on my computer. It may contain also virus and spyware. Don't use this software anymore!

    V2.3d was good software but v4.4 is disgrace. I am sorry for my wrong review. V4.4 embarassed me! Forget this software!

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  • 1.0 stars

    "INFECTED!! DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR INSTALL..."

    July 31, 2013  |   By Eagle_i

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    NONE!!!!!!!!

    Cons

    INFECTED WITH VIRUSES AND MALWARE. Wants to install up to five malware software programs. I have been a Cnet member for years and can not believe they allow this kind of infected software. Guess maybe Cnet has join the bad side and wants to infect everybody's computer.

    Summary

    STAY AWAY....FIND SOMETHING ELSE UNLESS YOU LIKE GETTING YOUR COMPUTER INFECTED WITH VIRUSES AND MALWARE. THEY WILL GET YOUR PASSWORDS AND PERSONAL INFORMATION TO DO YOU WRONG.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Complete and utter crap."

    July 18, 2013  |   By mrosera

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    Nothing to say, but I still have to type something here.

    Cons

    Not only do you have to carefully go through the installer to avoid installing a bunch of worthless garbage, but the codecs don't work either. This download is crap.

    Summary

    It's worth saying a few more times that this download is worthless crap.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "I'm shocked CNET allowed this to pass"

    July 11, 2013  |   By olandir

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    This product used to be the go-to standard for codec, now it's so full of malware I can't even install it.

    Cons

    Malware / spyware. can't even make it through the installer.

    Summary

    As is my custom with installing "freeware" I did a "advanced" install instead of an "easy" install to see what it was really installing.

    First was the "toolbars" for my web browser. Well that's fine, just a couple of boxes to uncheck. I recognize that to make money these freeware products often include these and unchecking a few boxes isn't all that big a deal.

    But then came page after page of it asking me to install things. At first I could click "decline" to skip these obvious malware additions... then it got to stuff that the only option was "accept"... no way to "opt-out" of this additional software.

    When this started happening I quickly X'd out of the installer. No way was I risking this install.

    Like I said, this used to be the gold standard of codec packs... Not anymore, I'll find something else.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "GARBAGE! FULL OF MALWARE!"

    June 22, 2013  |   By stoner12345

    Version: Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack 4.4

    Pros

    None. See cons.

    Cons

    Loads your computer with malware and takes over your internet browser.

    Summary

    DO NOT INSTALL!! FILLS YOUR COMPUTER WITH USELESS MALWARE THAT WILL TAKE HOURS TO UNINSTALL!!!

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Results 1-10 of 16

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