How to Fix “Cannot Play Media” Error in PowerPoint

Getting the “cannot play media” error in PowerPoint can be annoying and disrupt your presentation. This error indicates that PowerPoint is unable to play a video or audio file embedded in your slides. Here are some troubleshooting tips to fix this issue.

Check the Media File Format

The most common reason for the “cannot play media” error is an incompatible or unsupported media file format. PowerPoint supports certain video and audio formats like MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, MP3 etc. Verify that the file type of your media is supported. You may need to convert the file to a compatible format using a video converter tool.

Confirm File Location and Path

If the media file has been moved or renamed, PowerPoint won’t be able to locate it. Open the presentation file, right click on the media placeholder and select Edit Media > Edit Link to File. Check if the file path and name are correct. If not, browse to the new location of the file and relink it.

Reinsert the Media File

Sometimes simply reinserting the media file can fix playback issues. Delete the existing file from the slide and insert a fresh copy using Insert > Video/Audio. Ensure the video format is supported before inserting.

Disable Protected View

Files downloaded from the internet are opened in Protected View by default in PowerPoint. This restricts certain functionality like media playback. Go to File > Info and uncheck the Enable Protected View option.

Repair Corrupted Media Files

If your media file has become corrupted or damaged, use a file repair tool like Wondershare Repairit to fix it before inserting into PowerPoint. This should resolve media errors.

Use Media Compatibility Mode

Under File > Info, click Check for Issues then Check Compatibility. PowerPoint will check for any potential issues and provide options to fix them, like running in compatibility mode.

Update Hardware Drivers

Outdated or corrupt drivers for graphics card, sound card or other hardware can cause “PowerPoint cannot play media” errors. Update your drivers to the latest available versions.

Run PowerPoint in Safe Mode

Launching Office apps in safe mode starts them using default settings and disables add-ins. This isolates any problems caused by customizations. To do this, press the Ctrl key while you launch PowerPoint until prompted and then select Yes to open in safe mode.

Repair/Reinstall Office

As a last resort, repair your Office installation to fix any corrupted files or registry issues. On Windows 10 and 11, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features and select Office to run quick repair, online repair or uninstall/reinstall if needed.

Following these troubleshooting methods should help you successfully fix the “cannot play media” error in PowerPoint. Reach out for help if you still face any issues playing videos or audio.