Microsoft removes HEVC codec in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, adds it to Store

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 6, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

New installations of Microsoft's most recent version of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update version or version 1709, come without support for the HEVC codec.

Users who install the system anew or for the first time may notice that the codec is missing, and may install the HEVC Video Extension from the Microsoft Store to restore the functionality.

Microsoft removed support for the HEVC codec from Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for new installations. Systems that are upgraded to the Fall Creators Update version are not affected, as the codec is carried over in that scenario.

Users who try to play videos that require the codec will get a black screen or an error message instead depending on the app or program they use to access the content. This is true even for Microsoft's own programs such as official Movies & TV application.

Microsoft released the HEVC codec as an application that users may install to add support for HEVC videos to the system again. The HEVC Video Extension is available for free at the time of writing.

hevc video extension

The app enables system-wide playback of HEVC format content including 4K and Ultra HD video streams. HEVC videos require compatible hardware; Microsoft lists Intel 7th generation core processors and modern graphics processing units in the application's description.

Processor families that are supported are the Kaby Lake, Kaby Lake Refresh and Coffee Lake, and GPUs like AMD's RX 400, RX 500 and RX Vega 56/64, and Nividia's GeForce GTX 1000 and GTX 950 and 960 series.

The HEVC codec is required for playback of some content. Windows 10 users who want to stream 4K content, for instance by using the Netflix application or the Movies & TV application, need the codec to do so.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft released the update KB4041994 for the Fall Creators Update, and that this update seems to have installed the codec on devices already.

It is unclear at this point why Microsoft made the decision to remove the HEVC codec from being distributed with Windows 10 to offer it through the store instead.

While some may suggest sinister motives like getting users to use the store, it seems more likely that licensing fees may have played a role in the decision.

We won't know until Microsoft releases a statement. Considering that the Fall Creators Update is out for almost a month already, it seems rather unlikely that we will get one though.

Microsoft published the Web Media Extensions application to the Store recently that adds system-wide support for the three formats OGG, Vorbis and Theora when installed.

Now You: Why did Microsoft remove support for the codec?

Microsoft removes HEVC codec in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, adds it to Store
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Microsoft removes HEVC codec in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, adds it to Store
New installations of Microsoft's most recent version of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update version or version 1709, come without support for the HEVC codec.
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  1. Charles Moir said on August 11, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    MS are now charging for the HEVC codec, as some people predicted above. They charge £0.79 (about $1). It works, but on my quad core i5, it struggles with iPhoneX 4K 60Hz video (51Mbps stream). So it’s not using hardware acceleration, and maxes out all 4 CPUs, and still can’t manage 60Hz.

  2. Anonymous said on March 11, 2018 at 3:19 am

    Thank you for this article. My laptop would play the H.265 files but my desktop would not even though they are both v1709 clean installs. I thought the difference was the video editing software on the laptop but found that I just needed this Store “app” (CODEC).

  3. Anonymous said on February 19, 2018 at 1:02 am

    HEVC codec is no longer working for me on Netflix Windows 10 app or Edge. I think Microsoft doesn’t want 4K UHD movies and shows on Windows at all. They want to kill the HTPC so they can promote the Xbox One.

  4. cedesse said on January 2, 2018 at 11:03 am

    To promote adaptation of the new AV1 codec, of course.
    If the dominance of the patent pool consortium behind MPEG-LA (where Apple is one of the main beneficiaries), all other hardware and software vendors who wish to break this de facto monopoly must actively promote the new open AV1 video standard that they’ve been supporting.

    It would be rather foolish to continue paying license fees to MPEG-LA for HEVC/H.265 in this situation. Apple has deliberately been excluding native support for the open media standards from their software. Why should Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix, Samsung etc. support this kind of foul play when there are equally good free alternatives now?

  5. PJ in FL said on December 13, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Tried 5 times to download to SO’s laptop and kept getting “something bad happened”. The only bad thing that happened was when MS did a drive-by install of Win 10 on her perfectly good Win 8.1 laptop.

    Gave up and downloaded SMPLAYER. Will see how long MS will allow her to use “unauthorized” software.

  6. Stefan said on December 11, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Soon they remove ALL of Windows 10 and You will only be able to download it via their crappy and malware filled store….

  7. 420 said on December 9, 2017 at 9:08 am

    you can expect microsoft to keep sabotaging all other windows except 10, then they will foist their evil endgame on the masses, sinister laugh.

  8. Sophie said on December 7, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I honestly don’t care what MS$ have moved or removed. Their Windows store is beyond bad…..its so bad that I have removed it.

    Even FORCES a “beta button” onto you, that you can’t remove, or say you don’t want. It takes over the WHOLE SCREEN and flashes at you until you click it. When I first saw it, I thought it could be virus related, as its quite ominous, and designed to be really in your face. The whole email page becomes greyed out, and this thing just flashes at you.

    Even with the “offering of a beta”, MS$ can’t help themselves but to be heavy handed, and give you no options.

    Honestly, my respect for this company is seriously at rock bottom. Sorry this is slightly off-topic, but MS$ are finishing me off over here.

    Tip to Microsoft……………………….”CUSTOMERS LIKE AND RESPECT CHOICE”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh sorry……….I forgot, I’m not a customer. I only paid for my Win7 licence years ago (5 of them), so what can I expect? I stand corrected.

  9. AnorKnee Merce said on December 7, 2017 at 10:39 am

    QUOTE; … “While some may suggest sinister motives like getting users to use the store, it seems more likely that licensing fees may have played a role in the decision.”
    I think it has more to do with M$ avoiding the legal implication of being sued by the Codec patent-holders. Since it is the users who chose to install the HEVC codec software, any suit arising from this will have to be directed against the users and not M$.
    … Linux distros also do the same thing with proprietary codecs, ie the codecs are not preinstalled in the OS but the users have to choose to install them.

    In normal practice, the codec patent-holders only go after the hardware OEMs for licensing/royalty fees.

  10. jupe said on December 7, 2017 at 1:09 am

    I guess if no one is using the store they have to rip OS features out to try and make it so people are forced to.

    1. Mola Ram, CEO Microsoft said on December 7, 2017 at 3:36 am

      A preview of the kind of fun for the whole family you can expect if Microsoft manages to scam people into Windows as a Service.

  11. John in Mtl said on December 6, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Hum, I was going to suggest that “sinister motives” but you beat me to it LOL.

  12. poe said on December 6, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I don’t even know that Microsoft has built in codec support lol.
    I’ve been using K-lite codec pack for years and you can play everything with it.

    Btw VLC support for HEVC is bad, I have some HEVC videos showed black on VLC

    1. P. M. Claarke said on December 6, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      If you would use a proper media player you wouldn’t even need codecs. Also good move by Microsoft. The licensing costs are ridiculously high for HEVC. They still offer it to those who actually use it, but save money on every copy where people don’t

      Hope AV1 releases soon so the oligopoly is f*, I want a free net with free video en-/decoders.

      1. Anonymous said on May 29, 2021 at 3:42 pm

        There are other uses for codecs than video players. People who create the videos you watch use video editors that need them too. Getting VLC won’t make video editors work.

      2. Mort said on December 7, 2017 at 5:04 am

        What did you mean by proper media player? Media player can’t play without codecs. Even Windows media player can play HEVC videos if you have the codecs installed.
        VLC packaged codecs in their player, that’s why it can play without you need to install codecs.
        Problem is VLC is really slow to play HEVC videos compared to MPC-HC.

    2. TekWarfare said on December 6, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      MPC-HC has the codecs you’d need without installing a thousand of them like K-Lite btw.

      1. M3 said on December 7, 2017 at 11:05 am

        MPC-HC is officially dead.

        Smplayer is a good alternative to VLC. VLC is not bad but freezes often and the streaming function is very good, helps to download videos from “youtube-like services” combined with SmTube.

  13. Franck said on December 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    It’s good to know, thank you !

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