Windows 10 has some pretty nifty new features when compared to its predecessors: Cortana, Edge browser, and Universal apps being prime examples. But as Microsoft giveth, so it taketh away. Unless you were lucky enough to upgrade from a higher tiered edition of Windows 7 or 8.1, which replaced Windows Media Centre with Windows DVD Player, your new spanky version of Windows 10 will come replete with no built-in ability to play physical media at all. While more and more PCs now ship without DVD drives, there are still plenty of people who want to watch their discs without the need to rip the content into digital formats. Thankfully this is easy to fix with some excellent free software, and in this feature we’ll show you how to play DVDs in Windows 10.

See also: Worst Windows 10 Sacrifices

Play DVDs in Windows 10: Avoid Windows DVD Player

When Microsoft decided to remove Windows Media Centre from its new version of the operating system, those on Pro, Ultimate or any previous edition that included WMC may have noticed that it was replaced with Windows DVD Player. For everyone else this is a paid upgrade that currently costs £11.59 on the Windows Store.

This seems like a stupid decision to us, especially in light of the fact that Windows 10 itself is a free upgrade. Judging by the considerable amount of one star reviews on the app’s Store page, not to mention the poor critical reception it received in the tech media, we think it’s safe to say that the Windows DVD Player is something best left well alone. It might be the official app, but it definitely doesn’t seem to be a good one, and better alternatives are available which won't cost you a penny.

Play DVDs in Windows 10: VLC Player

Regular visitors to the site will know that VLC Player has been, and most certainly remains, a firm favourite around these parts. It plays almost any type of media without fuss (CDs, DVDs, digital formats, streaming), runs on all major platforms, and is completely free.

There are currently two versions of the app available; one on the Windows Store that uses the Windows 10 Modern UI, and another available directly from the creators VideoLAN which is for the classic desktop environment. While the Modern UI release seems fine, we’ve found that the desktop version feels more stable and easier to use. You can of course try both, as they’re free.

Installing VLC Player - Desktop version

Assuming you opt for the desktop version, the first thing you need to do is get a copy of the program. You can download VLC directly from PC Advisor.

Play DVDs in Windows 10

Once the download is completed double click on the file, agree to let it make changes on your system, select your language, then follow the installation wizard ensuring that you choose the recommended settings.

Play DVDs in Windows 10

When the installation is complete insert a DVD into your drive, then open VLC, select Media> Open Disc from the menu bar at the top.

Play DVDs in Windows 10

Select your DVD drive from the Disc Device drop-down list (usually D:), and click Play. Now you should have access to your DVD library once more, and it's all smiles again.

Play DVDs in Windows 10