Do you know which audio and video codecs are installed on your operating system? Did you know that you can easily find that out by using Windows tools? I think it is nice to know that you can find about all installed codecs without having to use third party applications. I will recommend a third party program at the end which can be used to received additional information.
Open the Windows Control Panel and click on Sounds And Audio Device Properties. Select the Hardware tab from the new window and take a look at the Devices entry. It lists, among other things, Audio Codecs and Video Codecs. Select one of the two and click on the Properties button in the lower right corner.
Another window opens called Video Codecs Properties and you can take a look at all installed codecs by clicking on the Properties tab. While this is a nice way to see a list of all installed codecs on a system it does not help much if you need more information, for example the location of the codec on your hard drive.
I'm normally using a software called Avi Codec to compile all relevant information about installed audio and video codecs on my system. The main benefit of this tool is that it lists the path of the codec on the hard drive which makes it easier to locate and remove unnecessary codecs.
Update: The audio and video codec listing does not seem to be part of newer versions of Windows anymore. It may be located under another control panel tool but I can't seem to find it. I suggest you use the program listed above to list all the installed codecs. Many media players like VLC, list the installed codecs as well in their interface.
I tried to locate the information on a Windows 7 Pro system but could not find them listed in the control panel.
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