I was wondering if anyone can help me with this problem. I have Windows 7 and can download some films for my grandchildren, not many though. My problem is not with downloading, but when they transfer over to my file and I try to open them they mostly appear with AVI on them. Upon opening them, my computer states that you need a codec to play this. I have clicked on 1 codec which appeared, but then someone said don't do this because it would infect my computer. Also do you have to pay for this codec and how do I go about this? Many thanks.
By Helen from U.K
CODECs are generally not a virus risk, but proprietary CODECs that require payment are a scam. Don't buy them.
More important, the places where one finds movies with proprietary CODECs usually are high risk sites and you should avoid them. At least be careful of what you download and make sure you keep your Windows updates current and that you run antivirus and anti-malware software. If you don't already have anti-virus and anti-malware software, then download Microsoft Security Essentials from microsoft.com; it is free.
Generally speaking, Windows Media Player will automatically download codecs if it needs to, and if it can't find the codec, or the codec isn't free, you probably don't want it. Look for a version of the movie that doesn't use a proprietary codec.
Helen, I re-read your post and I would suggest one other thing. There is an open source (free) video player that is better, in some ways, than the player that comes with Windows. It is called "VLC" and it is available for download from www.videolan.org. It does a little better with nonstandard CODECs than the Windows player. But again, don't bother with any movies that want you to pay for a CODEC. (10/18/2010)
Your Windows 7 has its own CODEC unless something happened and it got uninstalled. A simple "free" one in a download is not going to allow you to watch the movies, but simply allow you to open up small things, such as an email with a cute animation, etc. Talk to a local computer tech to walk you through checking to see if you still have it on your computer. I bought an update of Roxio (on my computer as a basic) and this had the Codec that solved my problem.
By T&T Grandma
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