How to play flv files on Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 21, 2007
Updated • Jun 5, 2014
Music and Video

I have received several questions in recent time about playing video files with the flv file extension on Windows.

FLV is the Flash Video extension, and it is commonly used on streaming video sites to deliver contents to web browsers and other streaming applications.

You cannot play flv videos in Windows Media Player which is likely being used by users who have submitted the question.

There are two general options that you have when it comes to play FLV video files on Windows:

  1. Find the appropriate codec to play them in any video player supporting system-wide codecs.
  2. Use a media player that ships with its own codecs and support for FLV out of the box.

Lets begin with 2), as it is the easier of the two options.

My two favorite media players for Windows are VLC Player and SMPlayer which both support FLV video files out of the box. Just download the full version or portable version of either program to your system to add support for the file type on your system.If you do not want to switch completely, associate the flv file type with the downloaded player so that they are loaded automatically in the right application whenever you want to play these video files.The second option is to download and install a codec that you can use to play FLV files in Windows Media Player and other players that don't support the format out of the box.You can either download a program like ffdshow to your system and configure it for that, or, and that is usually the better option, a codec pack that you can install on your system to add support for FLV files among flv video files The K-Lite Codec Pack is a good candidate for that. It adds support for a variety of audio and video formats that Windows Media Player and some other players do not support out of the box.I suggest you download the basic pack as it is fully sufficient for all your needs. You can also select custom installation to only install some of the codecs that the pack offers.

How to play flv files
Article Name
How to play flv files
The two core methods of playing FLV files on Windows PCs.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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