How to Set VLC as the Default DVD Player (Windows 7)

Having spent some time searching the web for an answer to this question, I found the same partial information repeated many times. I prefer to keep auto-play disabled. However, I was still finding that Windows Media Player would always start when I double-clicked the DVD drive icon.

Eventually, I decided to have a bit of a dig around in the system.

Here’s my suggestion:

  • Open regedit: enter “regedit” into the search box on the Start button’s pop-up dialog
  • Navigate to the key <HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD\shell\play\command>
  • Note that <(Default)> is set to “%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe” /prefetch:4 /device:DVD “%L”
  • Take a look instead at <HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD\shell\PlayWithVLC\command>
  • Note that <(Default)> is set to “C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe” –started-from-file dvd://%1
  • Copy the latter value into the former entry

This can alternatively be achieved via a registry import. Copy the following into a file called, say, <VLC_for_DVD.reg>:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD\shell\play\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\VideoLAN\\VLC\\vlc.exe\" --started-from-file dvd://%1"

(That’s for a 64-bit Windows 7 system; you may need to adjust that for 32-bit systems, or other editions of Windows.)

Double click on the file’s icon to import the values into the registry.

For reference, my search revealed the following suggested partial solutions

  • Open VLC
  • From the Tools menu select Preferences
  • Select the Interface page (if not already selected)
  • Scroll down to find the Set up associations… button, and click it
  • Select all or any required extensions
  • Save

and

  • From the Start button, select Control Panel
  • [if list view] Select AutoPlay
  • [if category view] Select Hardware and Sound, and then AutoPlay
  • Select VLC in the combobox for DVD movie
  • set AutoPlay for all media devices as preferred

HTH

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20 Responses to “How to Set VLC as the Default DVD Player (Windows 7)”

  1. Daren Imboden Says:

    You sir are a god among geeks! I have been looking for this answer for quite a while. Works perfect! Double-clicking the DVD drive icon now launches the DVD in VLC.

  2. Gentry Hearn Says:

    A little more elegant, perhaps, is to change “(Default)” in ‘shell’ to “PlayWithVLC”

  3. Mayank Agarwal Says:

    Watch this video to learn How To Make VLC Default Media Player …

    • Fini Says:

      Nope, this way in the video doesn’t work. I followed this video, put a DVD in my drive, double clicked on DVD and it still opened in WMP.

      • Rob Says:

        Sorry this article didn’t help you solve your problem. If you do find out any additional information, please do add that in a reply.

        Rob.

  4. Bertha Says:

    I have the probem that some of the dvd files that I save in VLC duplicates when I open to play it and when I delete them they are just back the next time I open VLC again. Can you please help?

  5. Artificial Amateur (@YetiOnCocaine) Says:

    Thank you so much, worked PERFECT!!! I was looking all over for this info and it’s not an easy thing to type into Google and get what you want in the search results so thank you again!!!

  6. Thane Sherrington Says:

    With VLC version 2.0, the regfile needs to be changed to:
    –started-from-file dvd:///%1″

    (note the 3 “/”s).

  7. Jim Says:

    Thank you! Every other single “answer” on the internet has to do with enabling the auto-play feature (something I find particularly annoying with DVDs and CDs).

    • Rob Says:

      You’re welcome. Nice email address reply by the way! I might start using one like that. I think I understand the sentiment.
      :-)

  8. Gibz Says:

    Awesome. That worked, but u have to do it using an Admin account. Thx alot

  9. Stefan Says:

    Thanks a lot, man, for the Registry Hack to exchange WMPlayer to VLC!

    I don’t know how many hours I’ve tried to change it. It simply didn’t work via the normal Autostart menu, god knows why…

    Best regards,
    Stefan

  10. pe Says:

    it’s for x64 os, doublecheck your vlc path

    create new text document, paste the following text into it save
    and rename .txt to .reg
    doubleclick .reg file to add information to registry

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD]
    “BaseClass”=”Drive”

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD\shell]
    @=””

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD\shell\play]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\DVD\shell\play\command]
    @=”\”C:\\Program Files\\VideoLAN\\vlc-2.0.6\\vlc.exe\” dvd:///%1″

  11. Neal Swarbrick Says:

    Wow!!!!

    Don’t deny it man, you ARE a god!

    I’ve been wrestling with this one for two flippin’ years and you’ve just solved the lot.

    Absolute fuckin’ Hero Xxxx

  12. jabber Says:

    Thank you very much.. Up until yesterday VLC was listed with my default programs to choose from. Don’t know what happened. Thanks for all the good into.

    • jabber Says:

      I think I may have found a simple way, at least for me that is, to get VLC back as my default player. First, I uninstalled VLC from my computer. Next I ran a search of the hard drive and removed any mention of VLC.
      Finally I downloaded the latest version of VLC from CNET. When it was installing I set VLC as the default for everything it could open.
      Then went to “default programs” and clicked “set your default programs” and set VLC to play all audio and video. Then set all your autoplay settings to VLC. Click “save” and you’re done.

  13. John Says:

    Worked perfect, thank you so much…and i’m usually a bit hesitant to go modifying the registry!!

  14. Cheesus Toast Says:

    It is a bit slow (maybe it is this dvd in particular) but it works all the same. Thank you for the heads up.

    Why the hell would someone have to dig around in the system registry just to get the dvd to play in your chosen program? This should be a basic setting in the normal interface ffs! I have been ripping my hair out trying to get this stupid operating system to do what I tell it to do. It insists on opening it up with god damn WMP regardless of it being set to open up with VLC! I had changed the autoplay setting and the file association but when you double clicked it was still opening up with WMP.

    DVDs have been around for almost 20 years and a multi-billion dollar corporation has still not worked out how to implement a simple user setting to choose the DVD player of there choice… They are forcing people to mess about with the system registry!

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