Escaping Codec Hell

6 Apr , 2006  

This problem has been nagging my computer for a couple years now. The most frustrating part is that it comes and goes, seemingly on a whim, and my efforts to kill it for good never work. Judging by the large amount of talk on the issue, lots of other people are having the same problem.


Viewing a folder in windows explorer with thumbnail previews turned on produces an error, crash, or illegal operation. Sometimes this is called a DEP (Data Execution Protection) error if Windows and your processor has that functionality. However, I have experienced DEP errors, illegal operations, as well as strange “unskinned” errors (like a low tech error box that does not do anything but put up an error, as explorer and the videos remain).

Solutions Tried and Failed

My first problem was Illegal Operations that caused Explorer to shut down. Now, if I remember correctly the first solution I tried was downloading updates to all my video codecs in the form of a codec pack. BAD IDEA. This made things much, much worse because the codecs started conflicting with each other. Remember the golden rule of codecs.

With codecs, less is more. Install only when you absolutely have to.

Frustrated, I turned to piracy. I had read people were having success with the Divx (at the time I had narrowed it down to a Divx problem) Pro versions. These are not free. So I downloaded the Divx that people recommended and for a while everything worked fine.

Suddenly, one day out of the blue, DEP errors galore. Opening any folder with videos. Thumbnails or clicking on the file and having it previewed in the left pane. DEP errors are more fun because you can drag the stupid things down to the taskbar and hide them away and they won’t even stop you from seeing the previews, thumbnails, or playing the movies most of the time. Needless to say, it was a major annoyance because once you click OK, explorer disappears and it mangles your taskbar, etc.

Reinstalled codecs. Updated codecs. Downloaded new codecs. Nothing worked. People on the boards all over the place felt my pain. One person had said the only thing that fixed it for him was downloading and installing ffdshow. This is a program to increase video fidelity by using post processing, but also has its own codecs. This worked, for a while.

This takes me to last week. I had to uninstall ffdshow because it was conflicting with a game, for one, and it was causing some weird things to happen in Zoom Player. Everything was fine with it gone for a while. Then I start getting weird errors that are “unskinned” and low tech like they were from Windows 95, just a textbox with gibberish and an OK. The errors don’t close anything down or limit what I do, they are majorly annoying because each video seemed to pop up 4 errors one after the other.

The Final Solution

At this point, I’m pissed, and I’m not going to take it anymore. I found the fix to unregister the dll that allows you to have video thumbnails, but this solution is unacceptable to me. A sacrifice in functionality is alright for some, but not me. I want to solve this thing.

I finally found someone who had a nice workaround. I knew it had to do with Divx and Xvid, and I had since removed all the Divx things from my computer and just used Xvid. I also cleaned off all the extra codecs I could. This is directly from Ogros at Digital Digest.

Download the latest build from or wherever remove any previous installs of xvid then close all unnecessary applications start the install eg(with Koepi’s when it asks for language DO NOT PROCEED YET hit Ctrl+Alt+Del end task “explorer” then continue install WHEN FINISHED go back to task manager select “file” then “new task” type in “explorer” and you should be good to go.

the reason unistalling then reinstalling xvid doesn’t work very well is explorer will hold the in cache and even if you uninstall and reboot explorer will continue to load the old although running the installation when explorer is closed did update the “” to one which doe not conflict with media player 9.

Hopefully this works for you.

This worked for me. Hopefully it stays that way.

2 responses to “Escaping Codec Hell”

  1. Rocko says:

    Xvid? What a surprise.
    What do you expect from open source?

  2. Konaruhi says:

    I’m still having problems, and so far, found no solutions to it yet. There is only one person that has my exact problem:

    (he, also, has not found a solution yet.)

    My problem is kinda hard to explain (considering I’m a kid and I don’t know the “proper words” for somethings) so just go to the link above to learn my problem

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