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Setup a Proper Decoding Chain in Windows 7

Well, after I completed my original decoding chain guide here, I realized that I needed to specify a few things with respect to the intricacies of Windows 7. Thus, this post was born.

Okay, the reason why you may want to reconfigure the defaults on Windows 7′s decoding options is because they are either not working for your current setup with your encoding software (BD Rebuilder or MeGUI for example), or you are just darn curious. Either way, here’s how to get started.

First off, download the Windows 7 Preferred DirectShow Filter Tweak Tool.

The title is a bit of mouthful, isn’t it? From now on, I’ll just be calling it Filter Tweaker.

Step 1)

Unzip and run Filter Tweaker. You will be presented with a screen like the one below (64-bit users, you will see a window with 64-bit decoders as well).  I highly recommend that you run through this list and ensure that all of your decoders are assigned to FFDShow.

Note: For those of you on a 64-bit machine, you should install the 64-bit version of FFDShow.

The decoding options for Windows 7 and the necessary Directshow settings.

Step 2)

This isn’t really a step as much as an important consideration. While scrolling through that list that I showed above, make sure that the VC-1 entry is set to use FFDShow as its main decoder. When you are done, click the Apply button.

This step is important, because if you followed my first “Setup” guide (link at the top of this page), then you should already have FFDShow set to use the WMV9 codec when processing VC-1 video. This additional step in Filter Tweaker is necessary to wrestle the control of the VC-1 decoder away from Windows and give it to FFDShow.

The specific setting for VC-1 in Windows 7.

Step 3)

You will now be taken to the Media Foundation page that I have shown below. You can pretty much leave it at default, but I have posted it here for reference. If everything is set as you desire, click the Apply button again.

Decoding Chain for Windows 7 and Media Foundation based on file extensions.

Step 4)

You should now be on the More tweaks for Windows 7 page. I chose to disable any built-in windows components that dealt with my decoders as I think they are all crap. I want to give full control to FFDShow, as it is the greatest decoder package available. You can do whatever you like, but I have had absolutely no problems disabling everything as I have shown below.

When you are ready, click Apply once again.

More Windows 7 Decoding Tweaks


Well, that is about all of the extra tweaking that you have to do in order to get things running extra smoothly on a Windows 7 machine. Thankfully, a program such as Filter Tweaker exists and makes the whole process so much easier.

If you have any questions, or what to express your opinion, please post in the comments.

Enjoy your problem free decoder setup!

  • william Hulsey

    This tutorial was a big help to me. I have run this tweaker before and was not sure what to check. many thanks

  • Adub

    Well, I’m glad that my tutorial was at least some help to you!

  • Richard

    Hi Adub

    A couple of questions.

    At ‘Step 1)’ I see the list of 32-bit decoders but have an option of ‘ffdshow (dxva)’ on a few eg H264. Can you expand on that?

    Also on ‘Step 1)’ I see a list of 64-bit decoders as you mentioned but the only option for all of them is ‘Microsoft’. A mention of this would be handy too. Is it just because a 64-bit version of ffdshow doesn’t exist? And if it did WMP12 wouldn’t use it anyway because by default it’s 32-bit? And more to the point why would you run 64-bit WMP12?

    Yours (forever barking up the wrong tree)


  • Adub

    For your first question, my answer is “really? Cool!”

    It appears that the ffdshow authors were able to finally add DXVA support. Very cool. This means that you will see accelerated decoding via your graphics card. However, I’m sure support is very circumstantial, so it’s really up to you to discover if it works on your system. If it does, I’d say use it. If not, then use the regular (non-dxva) video decoder.

    For your second question, my answer is “You didn’t install the 64-bit version of FFDShow”.

    Why would you run 64-bit? Because it offers better performance for “free”. I quote that because it’s only free if you got your system setup as 64-bit by chance, instead of buying a 64-bit system just to have the greater performance.

  • Richard

    Quick response! I looked over my shoulder then.

    “Note: For those of you on a 64-bit machine, you should install the 64-bit version of FFDShow.”

    Ha! I’m blind. Or you just added that!

    Anyway, more food for thought. Another evening fiddling with settings :)

    Cheers Adub.

  • Richard

    DXVA setting doesn’t play nicely with BD Rebuilder (‘Inspect’ throws up some warnings) and the version of FFDShow recommended for BD Rebuilder is incompatible with RipBot (requires rev3500 or higher).

    Hmm. I guess it’s a case of which app I need/want most.

    Other than that everything is spot on.

  • Adub

    BD Rebuilder will be happy with newer versions of FFDShow. So will RipBot (at least it should. Sometimes it’s detection algorithms can be a little off).

    As for the “DXVA setting doesn’t play nicely with BD Rebuilder…”, I’m not entirely sure what you mean. As far as I know, BD Rebuilder doesn’t have DXVA settings.

  • Richard

    I’m at work on my laptop at the moment but on my home PC I think I’m going to have to go back a little and check these settings more carefully but what I meant was…

    RipBot requires new versions of FFDShow. For BD Rebuilder jdobbs hosts an older version. The general consensus over on Doom9 seems to be to not deviate from jdobbs’ recommedations as BD Rebuilder is still in beta. I recall that when I installed newer versions of FFDShow for RipBot I got warnings from the ‘Inspect’ tool in BD R. I’ll double check that but I’m sure I did.

    Re: DXVA. When I ran Windows 7 Preferred DirectShow Filter Tweak Tool and chose the DXVA options as previously mentioned, I’m fairly sure ‘Inspect’ gave me grief again.

    On a separate note, since doing all this WMP12 won’t play DVDs for some reason. Ho hum.

  • Alan Bennett

    Hi, Re Windows 7 – proper de-coding chain

    Great, great articles – I might now preserve some of my hair!
    I am not a techie and have found the different codec options so, so confusing. After weeks of trying to get MKV movies playing smoothly – your advice (cutting out all the confusing crap) has enabled me to get 720p & full HD movies running great on my Zotac Ion (with DXVA assist).using 64 bit windows 7
    Howvever, I have a number of “foreign” films for which I need to see the sub-titles . Rather than I tweak the settings for more frustrating weeks – can you advise the setting for these, please?
    I have a variety of MKV, HD , MP4,Divx, avi dvd rips so need the subtiltes for all these formats.

    If there are issues with these under Windows 7 media player would the installation of Media Player Home Classic provide an answer and how should this be configured for ffdshow etc? (or some other player software)

    Grateful thanks

    Alan Bennett

  • Adub

    Yes, you are correct that the general consensus seems to follow using the specified build. However, sometime ago, Jdobbs (the developer) said that it would be okay to use some newer versions of FFDShow.

    As for your warnings in the Inspect tool, would you mind posting them? Or a link to a screenshot would do just fine.

    If you are having problems using the ffdshow DXVA filters, then I suggest you resort to the ffdshow non-DXVA filters, as these should have no problems on the decoding side. They may just be a little slower. But honestly, if it works, than it doesn’t matter that it is theoretically a little slower than a non-working solution.

    As for WMP12 not playing DVD’s, that may be because you have disabled some of the internal Microsoft filters. Which for all intensive purposes, is just fine. Still FFDShow, should work just fine with WMP12, but I can’t really confirm that right now (I’m on a Mac).

    Personally, I use Media Player Classic Home Cinema for all of my playback needs. It’s small, has uses a tiny fingerprint, and is very configurable. But to each his own.

  • Adub

    Alan, I’m glad that I was able to help get you started!

    As for playing media files with subtitles and using DXVA, it’s get’s…sticky. Currently, I believe there are only a few players that can do it. And yes, Media Player Classic Home Cinema happens to be one of them. I believe the developers added some hackery that allows them to render subtitles in DXVA mode. I think that you have to use the internal DXVA renderers, but those should be just fine.

    You will need to adjust the video output settings to do so.

    First open MPCHC, then got to View->Options, or press the ‘O’ (thats “oh”) key. Go to Playback->Output. Under “Directshow Video”, select the VMR-9 renderer. That should allow you to use DXVA and subtitling.

  • Richard

    A quick reply once again Adub. Thank you. At the moment I don’t have any way of showing you screenshots of the ‘Inspect’ tool so it’s good old copy/paste I afraid.

    Using ffdshow rev 3326 20100319 clsid (32 and 64 bit installed)

    - Windows Version: 6.1 [7600]
    - AVISYNTH Version:, Ok
    - HAALI Splitter: Ok
    - FFDSHOW: 3326, Ok
    - WIN7 preferred AVC CODEC: Ok
    - WIN7 preferred VC-1 CODEC: Ok
    - WIN7 preferred MPEG2 CODEC: Ok
    - FFDSHOW VC-1 set to “wmv9″, Ok
    - FFDSHOW MPEG2 set to “libavcodec”: Ok
    - FFDSHOW AVC set to “libavcodec”: Ok
    - BD Rebuilder v0.34.0.7, Ok
    - X264: Ok
    - AFTEN: Ok
    - FAAC: Ok
    - MP4BOX: Ok
    - WAVI: Ok
    - TSMUXER: Ok

    Using ffdshow rev 3326 20100319 clsid (32 and 64 bit installed) with DXVA checked in Windows 7 tweak tool

    - Windows Version: 6.1 [7600]
    - AVISYNTH Version:, Ok
    - HAALI Splitter: Ok
    - FFDSHOW: 3326, Ok
    - WIN7 preferred AVC CODEC: Not Set correctly
    - WIN7 preferred VC-1 CODEC: Not Set correctly
    - WIN7 preferred MPEG2 CODEC: Ok
    - FFDSHOW VC-1 set to “wmv9″, Ok
    - FFDSHOW MPEG2 set to “libavcodec”: Ok
    - FFDSHOW AVC set to “libavcodec”: Ok
    - BD Rebuilder v0.34.0.7, Ok
    - X264: Ok
    - AFTEN: Ok
    - FAAC: Ok
    - MP4BOX: Ok
    - WAVI: Ok
    - TSMUXER: Ok

    Using ffdshow rev 3529 20100811 clsid (32 and 64 bit installed)

    - Windows Version: 6.1 [7600]
    - AVISYNTH Version:, Ok
    - HAALI Splitter: Ok
    - FFDSHOW: 3529, not recommended version
    - WIN7 preferred AVC CODEC: Ok
    - WIN7 preferred VC-1 CODEC: Ok
    - WIN7 preferred MPEG2 CODEC: Ok
    - FFDSHOW VC-1 set to “wmv9″, Ok
    - FFDSHOW MPEG2 set to “libavcodec”: Ok
    - FFDSHOW AVC set to “libavcodec”: Ok
    - BD Rebuilder v0.34.0.7, Ok
    - X264: Ok
    - AFTEN: Ok
    - FAAC: Ok
    - MP4BOX: Ok
    - WAVI: Ok
    - TSMUXER: Ok

    As mentioned elsewhere BD Rebuilder works fine on the non-DXVA setting and with the older FFDShow. It’s just that RipBot shouts for a newer version. Just thought I’d point it out.

    Re: the DVDs. I intend to stick with WMP12. Any idea which filters I could play with to get DVD playback again? I don’t often play DVDs on my PC but it would be nice to get it back.


  • Adub

    Uhuh. My theory was correct. BD Rebuilders Inspector tool is looking to ensure that the non-DXVA version of FFDShow is in control of the Win7 AVC/VC-1/MPEG-2 decoders. It is fine to go ahead and use rev 3529 as you are, along with the non-DXVA versions of the filters. You honestly aren’t losing that much speed when you use the non-DXVA of the DXVA version, at least for the smaller stuff. HD video can be a bit of a bog, but if it keeps BD Rebuilder happy, I will leave the choice up to you as to if you want to stick with the DXVA versions of the filters or go with the non-DXVA versions.

    Frankly, if you are not receiving any encoding errors in BD Rebuilder, I’d go with the filters that give you more speed. But that is up to you.

    As for the DVDs. Take a look at step 4 of my guide. See the top 2 filters? Try re-enabling those. Those are the only ones that come to mind (other than possibly MediaFoundation as a whole, but that causes a whole bunch of other problems with BD Rebuilder and RipBot as well).

  • Richard

    Well I just did a movie only backup (it had Java) onto a DL DVD and it worked just fine using the newer versions of FFDShow. Cheers Adub.

    Re: the DVD thing. I’ll fiddle with that later. It’s not like I watch DVDs on my PC.

  • Adub

    Good news! Glad to hear it worked out.

  • Oksana

    I’m running Windows 7 Pro 64bit. I followed both of your video playback chain guides. I installed only the 64bit ffdshow. Should I install the 32bit version as well? I ask because in the 32bit column I see the Media Foundation still has control of some of the codecs.

    If I knew when my machine was using 32bit or 64bit codecs I would be able to answer this for myself. Thanks for the guides.

  • Adub

    If you are using 64-bit encoding tools (64-bit MeGUI, 64-bit Avisynth, etc), then install the 64-bit version of ffdshow. If you are using 32-bit versions of these programs, then install the 32-bit version. You usually shouldn’t need both versions installed.

  • Sherman

    I followed your guide but when I ran multiTest it still failed for VC-1 decoding. I used the 64 version of FFDshow.I have a Win 7 64 laptop. Do I need both the 32 and 64 bit of ffdshow. I want to use multiAVCHD. I think that is a 32 bit program

  • Quidsane

    This page desperately needs an update! Filter Tweaker is at v4.2 now. I figured it out bu your screenshots are way off now. Also more options brings more questions. Just a suggestion! Cheers!

  • Adub

    Quidsane, thanks for the heads up. I’ll add this to my todo list.

  • Ken


    I keep experiencing audio drop outs when putting my clips out via PS3/or Camcorder settings. Has anyone experienced this? I have download the main 3 programs to assist with multiavchd, but still come up with the same problems. The audio drop outs are not consistant on where they drop out but tend to be on the 30P clips vs the 24p. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.



  • Trish

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been having problems with a/v since I upgraded to Win7 from XP about a month ago and this has greatly reduced the issues I’ve been having. I followed your guide as closely as I could although it seems some things have been updated so it doesn’t look quite the same as what I’m working with.

    However, I’m still getting an occasional… don’t even know how to describe it… kind of an audio stutter/buzzing sound with skipped video frames. It happens with streaming videos, avi’s on my HDD, video game cut scenes and music files and seems to be pretty random. I don’t even know where to start looking for a fix for this. I’m assuming it’s codec related since it’s much better after uninstalling the Combined Community Codec Pack, which worked just fine on XP, but I don’t know what else to do to make it stop entirely. Any suggestions?

  • Gosch

    First I want to thank you for this good Site. I am reading lots of Sites with Theme Codecs, Filters and so one. My English is not the best, sorry.

    I ave installed all the Programms you told, some things work some things not :) (at my machine of course^^).

    1. I have some Files downloaded from a big Music TV Channel. Media Info says:
    Vollständiger Name : C:\Bibabutzemann.mp4
    Format : Flash Video
    Dateigröße : 37,4 MiB
    Dauer : 3min 11s
    Modus der Gesamtbitrate : variabel
    Gesamte Bitrate : 1 640 Kbps

    Format : AVC
    Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
    Format-Profil : Main@L3.0
    Format-Einstellungen für CABAC : Ja
    Format-Einstellungen für ReFrame : 5 frames
    Format_Settings_GOP : M=2, N=60
    Codec-ID : 7
    Dauer : 3min 11s
    Bitraten-Modus : variabel
    maximale Bitrate : 1 605 Kbps
    Breite : 768 Pixel
    Höhe : 432 Pixel
    Bildseitenverhältnis : 16:9
    Modus der Bildwiederholungsrate : konstant
    Bildwiederholungsrate : 23,976 FPS
    Standard : Component
    ColorSpace : YUV
    ChromaSubsampling : 4:2:0
    BitDepth/String : 8 bits
    Scantyp : progressiv

    Format : AAC
    Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
    Format-Profil : HE-AAC / LC
    Codec-ID : 10
    Dauer : 3min 11s
    Kanäle : 2 Kanäle
    Kanal-Positionen : Front: L R
    Samplingrate : 44,1 KHz / 22,05 KHz

    What have I got to conigure in fddshow, to play this files in WMP?

    I have Win7 64bit, and yes I could watch it with VLC but I want to figure out how it works…

    Can you please exlplain this thing with fddshow and ffddshow64bit and DXVA Configure . Now I have all installed, ffdshow tyout and ffdchow64bit.

  • Adub

    That is just an H264 encoded video, with AAC audio. Just make sure that you have the H264 decoder enabled in FFDShow, and you shouldn’t have any problems. If you have a multithreaded box, chooses ffmpeg-mt as your decoder.

    I’m not sure if WMP supports MP4 files out of the box, but if it doesn’t, you may need to install Haali’s Media Splitter as well.

  • Quidsane

    …and the Decoding Chain hordes continued to chant in unison:


    …and so began the journey north to safety to our place in the sun. And just as Haali had planned, we traveled far beyond the reach of men on 32-bit machines. The DXVA, the precious DXVA, was hidden in the FFDShow! As for me, I grew to manhood, and in the fullness of time, I became the leader, the Chief of the Great 64-Bit Tribe.

    And Adub?
    That was the last we ever saw of him.
    He lives now only in my memories…

  • Gosch

    Thanks for answering so quick.I was not sure to get a answer because the last Post before mine was in 2011. Well, I did all so you told me Adub but it does not work. By the way the real rason I asked is that I have much Problems with multiAVCHD. I searched a lot, but there is no other free software to get. That´s not so bad, actually I like this Programm, if it just do what I want finally :).

    My first “Job” is to safe the home Videos of my daughter age of 2. My second is to put some Movies to Blu Ray and my third is the same just with musicvideos (If my daughter dance on musicvideos it is really funny^^)

    I had to accept that I CAN NOT play any Blu-Ray on my PC System. I took 2 weeks to figure this out. By the way a Programm called “Cyberlink BD_Advisor” what I recieved with my Blu-Ray Burner told me that. I tryed to play a normal Blu-Ray, it did not work.
    “Cyberlink BR_Advisor” complayn about my Video Connection Type and my Graphic Card. I have no HDMI Monitor and my GC is a Radeon HD6900 Series.

    This was a heavy knock, because I realized now that its not possible for me to make a Image with multiAVCHD wich I can load in a virtual Drive to test my work. It not good to burn rubbish when a BluRay cost 6 to 9 €.

    Puhh lots of text… you are bored now, aren’t you?^^ (It doesn’t matter ;))

    Maybe I am going to buy a new Monitor, but the Graphic Card is just 1 Year old, and a daughter with a age of 2 costs money so I will keep it….the Graphic Card and the kid^^.

    I experimentet more with multiAVCHD. At the moment I have a Problem witch I postet here:

    The reason of my question with the mp4 files is:
    I think because of I can not play it with WMP, multiAVCHD can not work with this files. Could it be???

    Could it be there is a DRM on this musicvideos?Could this cause Problems?

    I wantet to try with other Inputs. For the first I just want t create AVI files. But always multiAVCHD stop working:

    [18:09:06] *** Encoding : One pass – content: [00:05:08]
    [18:12:18] *** Speed : 40.05 fps (elapsed: 00:03:12 – Realtime x 1.6)
    [18:12:18] *** Transcoding successful!

    [18:12:19] Detected video: ID#0:V_XVID 720×576, fps=25.000
    [18:12:19] Display properties: 1024×576 (AR:1.78)
    [18:12:19] Detected audio: ID#2:A_AC3 (48000Hz 6ch 448kbps) Language: und
    [18:12:19] Encoding AVI audio…
    [18:12:40] Added audio: A_AC3, “F:\Temp\multiTEMP-20120301\″, lang=und, timeshift=0ms
    [18:12:40] Creating AVI file…
    [18:12:45] Failed!

    [18:12:45] No compatible folders/files processed…

    What is the reason?

    making a mkv file works fine.

    On my Laptop (same System Win764bit) is the same…..

    By the way my english is not perfect, but I think, if I am right, Quidsane wanted to say something like the tutorials are out of date, beause the technology changed from 32 bit to 64 bit?
    His Post was very “pictorially” :)

    Sorry for “talking” that much…..Ende^^

  • Gosch

    I am getting mad with this multiAVCHD.. I always get a mistake when I try to crate a AVI file. I don’t know what I can do more now.

    [00:01:46] *** Original : 1440×1080
    [00:01:46] *** Crop : 0
    [00:01:46] *** Resize : 1440×1080 (No change)
    [00:01:46] *** Uncrop to : 1440×1080
    [00:01:46] *** Sharpen : 0
    [00:01:46] *** Bitrate : 4000 kbps
    [00:01:46] *** Frame rate: Original (25.000)
    [00:01:46] *** Level : 4
    [00:01:46] *** B-frames : 3
    [00:01:46] *** Ref-frames: 4
    [00:01:46] *** GOP size : 50 (keyframe min. each 4 frames)
    [00:01:46] *** Quality : One pass (turbo)
    [00:01:46] *** SAR : 4:3
    [00:01:46] *** DAR : 1920×1080
    [00:01:46] *** Profile : File mode (AVI/XviD)

    [00:01:46] *** Stand-by for indexing (ffms2)…

    [00:01:46] *** Encoding : One pass – content: [00:00:52]
    [00:04:03] *** Speed : 9.52 fps (elapsed: 00:02:17 – Realtime x 0.38)
    [00:04:03] *** Transcoding successful!

    [00:04:04] Detected video: ID#0:V_XVID 1440×1080, fps=49.963
    [00:04:04] Encoding [AC3] audio to AC3…
    [00:04:07] Adding AC3 encoded audio track (und)…
    [00:04:07] Total of 2 tracks found in this file.
    [00:04:07] Creating AVI file…
    [00:04:11] Failed!

    [00:04:12] No compatible folders/files processed…

  • Adub

    Quidsane, I have not forgotten about updating this tutorial.

    I haven’t disappeared (I’ve still been answering comments), but school has been insane this year, and I’m devoting a lot of work to my master’s thesis.

    I will update my posts when I have time. Unfortunately, I don’t have any yet.

  • Adub

    First off, I highly doubt that you can’t play Blurays on your system.

    It may be that you can’t play protected Blurays, but you should certainly be able to play the ripped files just fine.

    Second, MultiAVCHD really isn’t the greatest AVI creation software. It was originally designed to rebuild and compress Blurays, not create AVI’s.

    There are other free software that will work much better for creating AVI’s, such as Staxrip or MeGUI.

    If you want a simple program for creating Bluray’s, RipBot264 works wonderfully. It has a simple, clear cut interface, and outputs to AVCHD without issue.

    The important thing is that you do have a decent decoding setup. You will need FFDshow tryouts, Haali Media Splitter, and Avisynth in order to use these programs. All are free, and all come with decent installers. If you are using windows 7, then you may need to use the Codec Tweak Tool to change the default decoders over to use FFDshow.

    I use Media Player Classic Home Cinema (again, it’s free) for all of my decoding needs, and if you can play a file in it with an Avisynth script, you can use any of the programs without issue.

    Thousands of people use these programs with great success, and we can get it working for you.

  • Quidsane

    Haha, yeah I figured you were busy.
    I was just injecting some badly needed humor into this post!

  • Gosch

    Ok, then I will not try to create a AVI with this Programm again^^.

    I have now tryed to make a Blu-Ray of my recorded video files. I created a Imageand loaded it with daemontools light. And…Wow I could play it with Power DVD 9. Mhmm. I did something right^^

    What Programm schould I prefer to cut and merge the m2ts files from the Camcorder because I have ca. 200 small files.

  • Adub

    Gosch, have you looked at my tutorial specifically for this purpose? I didn’t realize that you had around 200 files, and this is something that MultiAVCHD was designed for:

    However, there happens to be a really good joining software for m2ts: tsMuxer –

  • David

    Thanks so much for this and the playback chain post. My Windows 7 setup was in a real mess and is now working beautifully! I can now open files in VirtualDub again without getting error messages.