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Windows 11’s Newest Update Discontinues Built-In AC-3 Codec Support

Image Source: Hamara / Shutterstock

In a surprising development, Microsoft has announced the deprecation of the AC-3 codec’s built-in support in the latest iteration of Windows 11, version 24H2. This announcement was made subtly on a support page owned by the corporation.

Microsoft’s statement on the matter reads, “Starting with Windows 11, version 24H2, the AC-3 codec will no longer be included as part of the operating system’s core features.” This implies that media relying on this codec may face playback issues on the default media player and on some third-party players.

Nevertheless, Microsoft points out that numerous device manufacturers tend to pre-install the AC-3 codec on their systems. Therefore, devices from these manufacturers may continue to offer native AC-3 support. The rationale behind Microsoft’s decision to remove the codec is not disclosed on the support webpage.

Users of third-party media players, such as VLC Media Player, won’t experience any problems as these players come with their own built-in codecs. Traditional players like Windows Media Player and its Legacy version, however, require the AC-3 codec to be installed on the computer to work correctly.

Tip: Check if your media player supports AC3 by downloading and trying to play a sample AC3 file.

For those using a previous version of Windows 11, playback of AC-3 content on Windows Media Player and Windows Media Player Legacy should function normally.

Reminder: The compatibility of the AC-3 codec after upgrading from an older Windows 11 version to 24H2 is not clearly defined at this time.

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How to Re-enable AC-3 Codec Compatibility in Windows 11 Version 24H2

To restore your media player’s ability to play AC-3 codec files in Windows 11 version 24H2, you’ll need to manually install the codec if it’s not included with your media player.

LAVFilters is a reputable, open-source set of DirectShow filters that allow for playback of various multimedia formats.

  1. Download the most recent version of the installer from the LAVFilters GitHub repository.
  2. Run the installer to add the necessary filters to your system, enabling you to play files in AC-3 format and others.
  3. Select either the default installation directory or choose a new one, then click ‘Next’.
  4. Verify that all components are checked, and optionally, select the H.264 MVC 3D Decoder if needed.
  5. Click ‘Next’ to continue.
  6. Choose a Start Menu folder for LAVFilters or opt out by selecting the appropriate checkbox.
  7. Press ‘Next’ once again.
  8. Review your installation settings and proceed with ‘Next’.
  9. Make sure all the formats are checked off and select ‘Next’.
  10. Initiate the installation process by clicking on the ‘Install’ button.

Once you have installed LAVFilters, they should function seamlessly without the need for additional configuration.

Image Credit: Hamara / Shutterstock

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