GoPro Hero 3 can play HD videos in Windows 7, if you install additional codecs

How to Fix if Windows Media Player Can’t Play GoPro Video 16

GoPro Hero 3 in WindowsMy wife bought me a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition for my birthday. It’s awesome. I’m really looking forward to shooting some SCUBA video with it in Cozumel in a couple weeks, but today I used it for the first time to film some karate self defense applications that I need to send in for review.

After shooting, I was excited to see the footage when I got back to the house this afternoon. I connected the camera to my PC via USB cable, opened the folder on the camera, saw the MP4 files I’d recorded, and double-clicked the first one. Windows Media Player opened as expected, and then played just the audio… with no video. Crap.

I found a bunch of other GoPro users who were complaining about audio-only playback with Windows, but couldn’t find any easy solution. I’m using Windows 7, and I knew I’d recorded the videos in 1440 HD, and figured there was probably some incompatibility with Windows 7 and the HD format used by the GoPro Hero 3.

Eventually, I stumbed on what I thought was an easy solution: install some new codecs. I downloaded a packaged for free called Windows Essentials Codec Pack. However, a virus scan (which is a good idea before installing anything downloaded from the Internet) revealed that this contained some browser hijacking software, so don’t install it if you stuble across it in a web search.

You’ll need to find some legitimate MP4 codecs (you may need to pay for them) before your GoPro will work.

Please post in the comments if you have a free source for virus free GoPro codecs!

GoPro Hero 3 can play HD videos in Windows 7, if you install additional codecs

GoPro Hero 3 can play HD videos in Windows 7, if you install additional codecs

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  • Rob

    Download itunes for free! It is playing my 1440 mp4 vid..

  • Just got my my Hero 3+. Having same issue with 1440p vids. Did a google search and found your website. Not sure if there is an update/download/coded that is out now (without malicious software) since you’ve originally posted this. The only way I’ve been able to circumvent the issue is by using the gopro editing software and sending it through the converter, which then converts it to a 1080p video anyway. Thanks for any help.

    • tjsmith

      Try using apple quick time. Its free, safe and has been working for me to play all videos taken from my hero 3+ black

      • GiGi

        Yup! I have the same problem with Windows media. GoPro with Windows media worked well for months and suddenly, boom! I also have the problem with PowerPoint. Using Quicktime works just fine. Until MS solves the problem, I will just use Quicktime.

  • MayJessie

    Yes, I have the same problem using Windows Media Player. Now, I’m using Macgo Windows Blu-ray Player, which is good for me. It can Play any videos or audios like MP4, MOV and RMVB, etc. on Windows without converting formats for free, and perfect output up to 1080p High Definitionquality without loss for fantastic home cinema entertainment.

  • Man

    I had the same problem and some videos were glitchy but when i opened them in gopro studios (which you can download for free) they were fine.

  • Patrick

    I downloaded videos from 2 separate micro sd cards. The 1st played all videos in GoPro Studio but the 2nd would only play the audio.Also the 1st sd card was in filmstrip image but the 2nd came up as a Windows Media player image and I transferred them the exact same way from my GoPro to my computer/ I have tried everything. It playsback perfectly In the GoPro Hero 4 itself. Am lost…

    • Brian

      I have two GoPro Hero 3 Black cameras and each has a SanDisk Ultra 64GB card. One camera plays back file and the other only plays back audio. Have you found a fix for this?

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  • I.

    i have the same problem, but on windows XP. you dont even get the audio, another problem: i dont have any internet on my pc, please anyone can help me??

  • Andy Garcia

    Help! I have a problem sorta similar but not so much. My GoPro videos uploaded fine and are viewed ok. However, after using GoPro Studio to edit all my clips into one video (Only 3 minutes long), I wasn’t able to view them as a regular file such as I would a regular video in Windows Media Player. The video will only open as a project in GoPro Studio. I attempted to upload it to YouTube and no luck, it’s appearing as only a document and not a video. I don’t know how to convert it… ahhhhh!

    • I don’t use GoPro Studio. I actually use the Windows Movie Maker that came with Windows!

      • (((dagobarbz)))

        Sigh. The maiden voyage of my Hero 3 Black was a motorcycle ride up in the mountains. But I apparently somehow recorded a black cat at midnight. Win MM doesn’t work. Win Media Player doesn’t work. GPro Studio doesn’t work.
        One clip displayed, but then went black when I replayed it. Win7 is kind of the suck.

  • Lee Dockstader

    The CODEC that is used in the GoPro MP4 video format will load when you load GoPro Studio (which is free). Native MP4 GoPro videos will then play in Media Player and other video playback software. I was not able to find this CODEC from any other vendor so just load GoPro Studio and enjoy.

  • Gabrielle

    I have a gopro hero 4 and I have the same problem. Only the audio is playing in Windows Media Player but that’s not the problem for me because I can easily watch the video on VLC Media Player on my computer. However, I wanted to upload it to instagram so I had to get it on my phone. I uploaded it to google drive to then download to my Samsung phone. However, when I play the video, I only get the audio. What can I do about that? The only thing I could think about is that the file is corrupted. I tried sharing it straight from the capture app but that’s a whole other issue. I connected one to the app and then was never able to connect again to try to share the video straight from the app to instagram. Any ideas?