How to Resolve MKV File Not Playing

How to Resolve MKV File Not Playing

Daniel Hall 24/11/2023
How to Resolve MKV File Not Playing

MKV or Matroska Video files is a complete multimedia storage container that can store images, videos and subtitle tracks.

It is almost similar to MOV and AVI files, except for its large storage capacity. MKV video files are generally played on VLC media player as it supports a lot of audio/video formats. However, there are times when users are unable to properly watch an MKV video and face the MKV file not playing issue majorly due to errors like file corruption, internal issues like missing codec, improper file download or transfer, etc.

Let’s dive further and see what kind of errors cause VLC media players to not play MKV files and how you can fix them.

Reasons Behind Why VLC Media Player Won’t Play MKV File

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VLC or any other media player not playing MKV files could be due to many reasons. Here are some common reasons –

  • Black or Gray screen

  • Missing audio track

  • Missing video track

  • Choppy or stuttering video

  • Missing codec

  • Corrupted video

Methods to Fix the MKV File Not Playing Issue

If you are not able to play MKV files in the VLC media player, don’t worry as this issue can be sorted using one of the methods explained below.

Method 1: Use Another Media Player

This is the easiest way to resolve the MKV file not playing issue. If the VLC player installed on your computer is unable to play the MKV file, you can try playing it using another media player. If you are able to play MKV video files using another media player, the VLC player has a problem. If not, there could be some other reason for which you can try the methods listed ahead.

Method 2: Modify Codecs in VLC

If you are unable to play MKV video files using any media player, it could be due to problematic codecs. In this case, you can work around the codec settings in the VLC media player and fix the issue at hand. To do this –

  • Launch VLC media player.

  • Click on Tools in the Menu bar and then Preferences.

  • In the Advanced Preferences window, to see all the settings, choose the All option present at the bottom-left corner under Show Settings section.

  • Click on Input/Codecs in the left pane.

  • Navigate to the Advanced section on the right and look for File caching (ms).

  • Use the upward facing arrow button in front of it and increase the number to 1000.

  • Click on Save.

This should fix the MKV video file not playing issue and you should now be able to play the MKV video without any issue.

Method 3: Check Audio & Video Output Settings

There are situations when a VLC player is not able to properly play an MKV video file. This could be due to either unavailable or corrupt video track or missing audio track or they are not being played by VLC media player. In such a case, you should check Audio & Video output settings in VLC media player if they are enabled or not.

Steps to enable audio Settings –

  • Launch VLC media player.

  • Click on Tools in the Menu bar and click on Preferences.

  • In the Audio tab, checkmark the Enable audio option.

  • Click on Save.

Steps to enable video Settings –

Follow the steps till step 2 as mentioned above and then –

  • Click on the Video tab.

  • Checkmark the Enable video option.

  • Navigate to the Output option in the Display section.

  • Expand the drop-down menu in front of it and select the output format to OpenGL video output.

  • Click on Save.

You should now be able to play MKV video files on your computer using the VLC media player.

Method 4: Disable Hardware Acceleration

Hardware decoding feature in VLC media players allows the media player to enhance video playback performance by utilizing GPU or graphics card. However, this setting could sometimes interfere with system drivers because of which VLC media player won’t play MKV video files. This can be fixed by disabling the hardware acceleration. Simply follow the steps to do this –

  • Launch VLC media player.

  • Click on Tools in the Menu bar and click on Preferences.

  • Select the Input / Codecs tab.

  • Find the Hardware-accelerated decoding setting under the Codecs section.

  • Click on the drop-down menu in front of it and select Disable.

  • Click on Save.

Doing this should resolve the interference between the system drivers and VLC media player. Now you should be able to play your MKV video without any hassle.

Method 5: Install the MKV Codec

While trying to play an MKV video file in VLC media player, if you, then it’s a case of missing MKV codec in VLC media player. In such a situation, it is recommended to first download and install all the required codecs, including the MKV codec before playing the MKV video file.

Method 6: Use a Video Repair Software

If you have tried all the above methods and still are not able to play MKV files in VLC media player, then it could be due to severe file corruption. When a user tries playing a corrupted video file, it gives an error message as displayed above, which can make anyone anxious.

The MKV file not playing issue could be due to it being severely corrupted. In this case, you can use a video repair software like Stellar Repair for Video. This is a great tool for every user, which can easily repair a damaged or corrupted video file of almost every format like MKV, MP4, MOV, AVI, etc. This software’s algorithm can repair HD, 2K, 4K and even VR videos.


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The VLC is a very capable and popular open-source media player, which supports many widely-used media formats. Occasionally, it runs into issues that causes it to stop playing media files of formats like MKV. In this post, we discussed various issues that users face while playing unsupported MKV video files along with the simple techniques that can be used to fix this issue. We hope you have found this guide helpful and resolved the MKV file not playing issue easily.

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Daniel Hall

Business Expert

Daniel Hall is an experienced digital marketer, author and world traveller. He spends a lot of his free time flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics.

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