How To Get the HEVC Codec Windows 10 for Free

In this article, we'll be going over how you can acquire the HEVC codec without having to spend any money. Let's get started.

On Windows 10, playing different video formats require you to have the right codecs installed on your device. While the system does support the High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265 format, Microsoft doesn't natively include the codec with Windows 10. Luckily, there's a way to get it for free.

Get the HEVC Codec Windows 10 for Free


In this article, we'll be going over how you can acquire the HEVC codec without having to spend any money.

What is the HEVC codec and why you need it

Codecs are essential for streaming media. Without codecs, you're unable to play videos on your device, which also limits you from editing or filming in specific formats yourself. For example, on a device without codecs, you'd be unable to record through your webcam or play media you downloaded or received.

While Windows 10 comes with many different and essential codecs by default, some are missing from the system’s starter pack. One of these codecs is the HEVC codec.

Why is this important? The HEVC format is becoming more and more popular nowadays. This increase in use is thanks to Apple’s iPhone smartphones, which by default record and save videos in the HEVC format. 4K UHD Blu-ray footage also uses the same format to give lossless playback quality.

If you want to play these files on your Windows 10 device without having to download even more third-party apps, you’ll need a codec that includes HEVC support. By default, apps such as Microsoft’s Movies & TV player won’t allow you to play these files, giving you an error instead:

HEVC Codec


This makes it hard, or outright impossible to playback HEVC content on devices running Windows 10. If you don’t have access to purchase the pack, you might think you’re doomed.

If you’re one of the many users who don’t want to spend $0.99 USD to be able to natively play HEVC files, you’re in the right place. Despite how the codec is advertised as being locked behind a paywall, it’s actually completely free of charge.

How to download and install the HEVC codec for free

There are currently 2 different codec packs available in the Microsoft Store that include support for HEVC content. Despite being identical, one of them costs a dollar, while the other pack is free and available for all users.

  1. Click on the Start menu.
    Windows start Menu
  2. From the application list, scroll down and select the Microsoft Store. Alternatively, use the Search bar to find the application.
    Microsoft Store
  3. Use the search bar in the top-right of the window to look for “HEIF Image Extensions”. Once visible, click on it from the search results to navigate to the store page. Alternatively, click here to be navigated to the store page.
    HEIF Image Extensions
  4. Click on the Get button. Doing so will automatically install the codec and allow you to start playing HEVC videos on your computer.

HEVC codec alternatives

The Windows 10 store isn’t your only source to satisfy your need for the HEVC codec. Popular third-party video apps offer the codec by default.

While VLC is primarily a media player, it has tons of hidden functions you probably don’t even know of — it also comes with the HEVC codec built-in. By downloading the latest version of the software, you get free access to the codec even if the Windows Store option isn’t available for you.

Download: Get the latest version of VLC Media Player from the official website for free.

All you have to do is download the software and install it on your Windows 10 device. Easy and simple — you also get a high-quality, high-performing media player in the process.

Final thoughts

If you need any further help with Windows 10, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team, available 24/7 to assist you. Return to us for more informative articles all related to productivity and modern day technology!

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