Windows 10 to support Flac and MKV natively

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 26, 2014
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

One of the first things that I do after installing Windows on a PC that I plan to use or configure for someone that I like is to install VLC Media Player or SMPlayer to cover all media playing needs.

Windows Media Player is not really a bad program but it is very limited in what it can play and what it does not support. While it plays mp4 fine for example it does not know what to do with file types such as mkv, flac or flv.

Mkv is a popular format and flac is the format of choice for many audiophiles who dislike mp3 and its compression.

Anyway, it seems that Microsoft's change of heart in regards to Windows and future versions of the operating system did not end with the design of a new start menu and a dynamic interface.

According to Grabriel Aul, leader of Microsoft's Data & Fundamentals team of the Operating Systems Group, flac support is coming to Windows 10.

Gabriel posted a screenshot of Windows Media Player to his Twitter account.

flac windows 10

If you look closely you will notice that all media files are of the flac type. This confirms that Microsoft is working on integrating flac support natively in the Windows 10 operating system.

He confirmed earlier this month that mkv support was also coming to Windows 10 and that the operating system will support the format natively.

Last but not least HEVC support has also been announced by him.

So what does that mean?

It means that Windows 10 will support several media formats out of the box that previous versions of Windows did not support.

Programs like Windows Media Player and third-party programs take advantage of this by playing these file types out of the box.

It does not change a thing for other file types for now. FLV support has not been announced for example which means that users still need to install a codec to add support for missing formats or use a different media player right away which ships with support for these missing formats.

For me, it is a sign that Microsoft is prepared to leave its old path and embrace new things. Yes, those are small steps but they are certainly welcome by users who use these formats and Windows Media Player.

Now You: Do you think that Microsoft will add more formats later on? If so, which would you like to see supported?

Windows 10 to support Flac and MKV natively
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Windows 10 to support Flac and MKV natively
Microsoft confirmed that the company's upcoming operating system Windows 10 will ship with native support for mkv and flac files.
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  1. Uhtred said on November 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    So Microsoft have woken up to the lossless flac format, that’s good news, but its I think its more a case of supply to increasing demand.. If you buy your music these days you usually have an option of a lossless format, typically offered as flac, even the free downloads on bandcamp! .Hopefully they’re encompassing all flacs, not just typical 16bit “cd quality” but also 24-96, 24-192 etc (which imo is more your audiophile’s preferred choice these days).

    On the RAW files, surely it would be a win win for microsoft and the manufacturing company (e.g. canon or nikon) as users would find it easier to use their products without extra fuss sorting plugins etc Let’s hope they do that.

  2. EuroScept1C said on November 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    And now just .srt subtitles left and I’d like nothing more. WMP would begin my main and only player again -if.

  3. rock said on November 27, 2014 at 10:42 am

    would be nice if they could support a lot of formats with Media Foundation. anyway I also wish they would add more WASAPI mode. I guess mkv support still without sub renderer.

  4. Dwight Stegall said on November 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    When would be a good time to install Windows 10 beta? I don’t want it to constantly crash on me.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      It runs relatively stable. It had a bug recently that caused BSOD but that got fixed. I’d wait until the consumer preview is released next year.

    2. Andrew said on November 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      I would personally wait until the final release if you are using your computer for everything. But if you really want the sneak peak then Consumer Preview or keep the technical preview on the slow release channel.

      I haven’t had any issues in VM, but I am not using it as much as I do my regular OS (8.1)

  5. pd said on November 26, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Working “out of the box” is what most users expect though.

    In addition, it’s very easy to get completely lost and screw up your Windows codecs/filters by messing around with codec packs when programs like MPC HC are AFAIK basically a front-end to a self-contained bundled FFMPEG (libavcodec) which pretty much plays anything and everything.

    That way things stay nice and self-contained :)

  6. Fred said on November 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    WMP supports DirectX codecs and filters, so it isn’t limited in that sense. Including the necessary DirectX codecs and filters will help the formats with popularity because they will work out-of-the-box… but that’s all.

    WMP should get more praise for how it handles alien files. None of you tech journalists have even mentioned DirectX on this story, let alone existing splitters that enable WMP.

  7. pd said on November 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Completely agree actually. Taking a few days to get a fuller perspective is a much more sensible option than just regurgitating the latest rumours or scuttlebutt reflexively.

  8. Pd said on November 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    You’re a bit late on this news Martin :-)
    Neowin seems to have an almost exclusive inside track on Windows 10 development news.

    I don’t really play videos on my desktop anymore as I’ve a raspi setup running XBMC but I find MPC HC top bee a good option rather than VLC.

    On related news, did you notice that Handbrake has been updated to include HEVC (x265) support along with Intel Quicksync and some OpenCL support?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I noticed the mkv story when they published it but did not want to post about it then. It is not always important to be the first, even though that is great. So, instead of being first I decided to post when there is more to it ;)

      Yes I noticed the new Handbrake version but have not had time yet to play around with it much.

      1. intelligencia said on November 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

        @Mr. Brinkmann:

        “It is not always important to be the first, even though that is great.”

        I agree with you 100% on this point!

  9. Peter said on November 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I think the user interface looks ‘washed out’ in comparison to previous versions.

  10. Aegir said on November 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    What about support for raw-files for photos?

    1. Andrew said on November 26, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      From my understanding, RAW files aren’t actual images, they just have the data to create images. Anyway, there’s numerous different RAW file-types, so I cannot really see it happening except maybe with an add-on pack for camera professionals. Even then, I doubt there would be thumbnail support in Explorer.

      1. Aegir said on November 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        Mac supports raw-files, why not Windows?

        Actually you can download a Codec Pack so that Windows can read several types of raw-files:

        Why is this not native in Windows?

  11. Alex said on November 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I hope they will integrate VP8 and VP9 as well :)

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