CondecInstaller can display a list of all audio and video codecs installed on your system as well as analyse media files to identify the codecs needed to play them.

It can also download codecs from the author’s website for easy installation.

[Note: this is an updated review of my CodecInstaller v2.5.6 review published in Jul 2007 that reflects the changes and new features in the latest version 2.8.0].

We’ve all had this experience: a media file that shows video but no audio, or vice versa, or simply returns a codec unavailable or unidentified format message or somesuch. CodecInstaller can help you identify the codec(s) you need as well as download and install them easily.

I’ve been looking at this program for a while. Here are some notes on this software:

  • Codec detection: will display all installed codecs within 3 tabs; audio, video, and other. In the list view the name of the codec is shown as well as the company, version, and install path; you can zoom in on any single codec for more detailed info.
  • File analysis: point it to a media file and it will tell you the audio and video codecs needed for playback, or at least give you a very good guess (this function is very reminiscent of programs like MediaInfo or AVICodec).
  • Codec Download: allows you to quickly and easily pick codecs from a list and download their installers. Connects to the author’s (Jockersoft’s) own site and not a third party site, which means you will likely get what you think you’re getting. Includes a good description of the codecs or codec packs on offer.
  • Movie playback: CodecInstaller can apparently act as a media player, although it requires some rather complicated setting up. Function is disabled by default, and frankly I see no reason for using it.

More advanced functions that CodecInstaller provides:

  • Codec Removal: from the ’installed codec’ screen, you can multiple-select codec entries (by pressing CTRL while selecting) and remove codecs. This might be useful if, say, you suspect that there are conflicting codecs and/or you want to reinstall codecs (or install a codec pack) and would like to start with a blank slate.
  • Filters mapping editor: this allows you to change the priority of the filter and add/remove the types of media the filter will process. Obviously you need to know what you are doing, but this can help solve
    This should help solve the issues created by codec/filters producers that set a too high priority or make their filters decode formats they cannot handle perfectly.

This is a program dear to my heart.; it can help you manage your system’s codecs as well as find the ones you need for any media file that you might want to view. It has a nice interface and set of features; I highly recommend it (this program is donationware: if you find it useful you should buy it.)

Version tested: 2.8.0

Compatibility: Windows 98, ME, NT 4(service pack5), 2000, XP, Vista. Requires .NET Framework 2.0.

Go to the download page to get the latest version (approx 699K). Also visit the program home page.

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Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started
  • Ali

    Hmm.. it missed a few codecs which I do know I have installed. So don’t follow the suggestions for codec downloads blindly. It might lead to conflicts.
    I tested it’s file analysis capabilities. I pointed it to a .mov file. The program came with a 55% chance that it was a Quicktime file, plus two other suggestions. Might be helpful but on the whole I don’t think it is useful enough as it is.

  • Samer

    Part of the reason you get multiple results is that a video file would include an audio track (or tracks) that could be encoded using any of a number of codecs. In addition, 2 media files of the same kind could use different codec.

    What I am saying is that given that a media file is a complicated beast I understand why the authors of this program choose this probability system to report on a file.

  • Anonymous


  • i like it

  • km


  • Fred Thompson

    GSpot is a longtime favorite in video hobbyist circles. What does CodecInstaller do which GSpot won’t, other than provide a third-party from which to get codecs?

  • Samer

    I used Gspot ages ago and do not recall my experience with it very well at the moment. I’m not sure Gspot will allow you to set Codec priorities or delete individual codecs. I also quite like that CodecInstaller will provide codec download links!

  • Toni

    I’ve used CodecInstaller for a while now and I think it’s great. Especially being able to just click and get to download the codec you need, is excellent.
    But I noticed the same thing Ali did, it missed some codecs I was sure I had installed.

  • Viking

    OH ! No ! .NET FrameWork again !
    I will always bypass these software that need to install .NET FrameWork before i use.

    forget it and find other replacements !!!

  • ZMasu

    well .. I like it … Thanks..

  • rusbee

    This may contain MALWARE, be careful with this one

    In the first run of codec installer, I was surprised how persistent it was to call home the moment I ran it. I blocked the connection once (did not set a block rule yet) and it kept trying to connect.

    Since I am more on the cautious side with unfamiliar software, I decided to uninstall it. The moment I launched the uninstaller, Threadfire blocked it with a high-risk warning of the Heuristic analysis, the uninstaller was trying to create multiple copies of itself on the hard disk.

    This made me be more careful, and I increased Comodo Defence security level which would let me see step by step what the uninstaller was trying to do, told ThreadFire to let uninstaller to continue, and guess what, it copied itself into two files in temp folder: Au_.exe and Bu_.exe, since these files are known to be associated with Spyware.SpyFalcon I was not going to let it continue.

    Interestingly, Prevex V2 (which has already saved my PC from malware once before) reports the main executable CodecInstaller.exe as “Heuristic: Suspicious File With Outbound Communications”

    While I am not able to prove this is definitely malware with more solid facts, I am sure it is pretty damn close, if not one. And honestly, am disappointed to see it gain a recommendation from freewaregenius which I had regarded as a good source of advice.

    Anyone has had a similar experience with codec installer? I would be more than glad to be proven wrong, though I would certainly stay away from anything from jockersoft nonetheless.

  • Samer

    Virustotal, which runs a file through more than 30 updated malware detection engines, actually gives it a clean bill of health:

    Note that there are 2 versions you can download. The above Virustotal analysis is for the full version. The other (network) version needs to access the internet in order to download the installation components in real time when you install the program.

    This is a program that I’ve used extensivley ever since I wrote about it without any hint of trouble, and I doubt that its malware in any form. I will investigate further though.

  • rusbee

    Thank you for your reply.
    The individual scanning of files does return a clean result, yet behavior analysis does not seem to agreee.

    CodecInstaller created AU_.exe BU_.exe and CU_.exe (size of all of them 67,046 Bytes) during uninstall.

    Googling the temporary file names returns some false alarms and also:

    The file sizes mentioned on Prevex don’t match, (although that would not have really proved much even if they did). These temp files also pass clean through virustotal.

    I can only guess that it was a false alarm.
    Sorry for the inconvenience. (please feel free to remove my previous post)

  • CT

    rusbee –

    I decided to install this under the “ReturNil” sandbox, and check it out thoroughly, and found no real issues. As for the AU_, BU_, & CU_ .exe’s, I know of several programs that create temporary files on launch or uninstall – could the initials stand for “A-Uninstall(er)”, “B-Uninstall”, etc?

    I understand your desire for safety, but it seems clean to me – perhaps the Software Creator being Italian, and therefore using Italian in his code is triggering False Positives?

    Still, I understand your “Better Safe than Sorry” approach, and I’d recommend “GSpot”, mentioned above – it has a VERY long history of reliability and safety, and when you select the “Add [or remove] GSpot ‘Send-To’ option” under Options -> Settings, it easily (Right-Click file -> Send-To -> GSpot) does a great job of easily and quickly detecting which Codecs are used/needed by a particular file. However, you’ll have to Download them yourself (I’d suggest http:\\, and as mentioned, several other features of “CodecInstaller” are not included in GSpot.

    Everybody has their own preferences, and ‘Comfort Level’ for programs – such as “Internet Explorer”, “FireFox”, “Opera”, “K-Meleon”, etc – even “PC” vs “Mac” vs “Linux” – To each, his own! 😉

    Samer, THANKS! (again!)

  • rusbee


    Thank you for taking the time to install and test CodecInstaller.

    While, I am already familiar with GSpot, (always installed on my system as part of the K-Lite codec pack), I do not often use it, and certainly am not adept in understanding all that it says. The reason I tried CodecInstaller was some old videos I had recorded off my DVB card. While these files play smoothly in Ubuntu with the extra codecs installed, somehow I cannot manage to get the video playing fine under XP with VLC, media player classic, etc. GSpot and CodecInstaller both say I already have the codecs installed.

    But somewhere along the way, it all went side-track when Threatfire triggered the security stuff. Now that all is in peace again, maybe I will have sometime in a Sunday evening to look for a solution for the video files again.