Open MKV File

In this article, we’ll walk through you to steps to open MKV File. Multimedia files sometimes come in MKV formats which might not be compatible with your default media player. In cases like this, you might think your file has a problem, especially if you are not already acquainted with MKV files.

Hold on a minute, don’t delete your file out of frustration, there are ways to open and convert MKV files that can be done by anyone. You don’t need advanced computer knowledge; all you need to do is read the information from this article.


What is MKV File Extension

MKV file extension is a container file for various kinds of media files. This file format is more sophisticated than single format media extensions and they are popularly used online so chances are that you will come across one while you surf the web.

MKV file is convenient because it makes use of different encoding within a single file, making it suitable for things movies where you can have different multimedia formats making up a single file. You can also alternate between different media formats available within the file by using the controls for the file player.

How to Open MKV File

This means you can decide to switch from an English subtitle to a Portuguese subtitle or put off the subtitle altogether. All you need is the controls/options offered by the file player (as long as the MKV file already contains these media files).

However, the best part of this file is that it is an open-source format that can be used by anyone, royalty-free. So, now that you know the basics of an MKV file, it is time to open and/or convert your file as you wish.

How to Open MKV File (Windows and Android)

Using VLC Media Player

For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the VLC media player since it is popular and available. The VLC media player is open-source; therefore, it is free to use by everybody, and all you have to do is have it installed on your device. You can download VLC from your Google Play, VideoLan, and from Appstore (for Mac users).

Be careful where you download VLC from because there are fake VLCs all over the internet which is put up to confuse unknowing users. However, the three places mentioned above are places you can trust to get your VLC media player. The following steps explain better (if you already have VLC then jump straight to step 4).

Step 1: Go to a download site to get your VLC media player – With your browser, go to your preferred download site (use Google Play Store for Android devices).

Step 2: Download VLC media player – Search for VLC player on your download site and click on ‘Download’ to begin your download. If you are using a Windows device or going through a VideoLan, it might bring up a prompt asking what you want to do with your file after download, you can choose either to save or run.

If you decide to run, your file starts to install immediately after downloading, but if you choose to save then your file saves into the download folder of your device.

Step 3: Run and Open the player – If you had not chosen to run in the initial step, locate the downloaded file and double-click. It will bring a pop-up asking you to run the file, select ‘Yes’ and follow through the installation process. You will get a prompt to allow VLC to make changes to your computer, select ‘Yes’.

Step 4: Play the file with VLC media player – you have the option of right-clicking or dragging and dropping. You can right-click on the MKV file and select the ‘open with’ action. After that select VLC from the displayed list of applications available on your device and click on ‘ok’ which is located at the bottom right.

You can also open the VLC media player and then drag your MKV file and drop it on the VLC interface.

If you think that opening MKV files will be a frequent action, you can make VLC your default for these kinds of files. To do this, when you right-click on the file, select ‘Open with’ and select ‘Choose another app’ which will pop-up a window of your available applications.

Click VLC once and check the box with the words ‘Always use this app to open .mkv files’ at the bottom left of the window. Then click ‘Ok’ from the bottom right. You will get a prompt to allow the app to make changes to your computer, select ‘yes’.

By Downloading Codecs on Windows Media Player

Normally if you try to open an MKV file on your windows, you will get an error message. This is because, by default, your windows media player does not support that kind of file. To fix that, you can download codecs from third-party which will enable your player to open MKV files.

Choose a trusted source, download codecs and install them. Afterward, you will be able to play your MKV file by double-clicking. With codecs, you will need to update them as their developers often make updates available. It is important to note this in case you suddenly find your codecs are not working.

You can also convert the file to a format compatible with your player and this is explained in detail below.

How to Play MKV Files on Mac

Just like Windows, your Mac will not automatically play your MKV file, you will need to either get a third-party app, get a plugin for Quicktime, or convert your file to a readable format.

Method 1: Download a Plugin

To download a plugin, go to the official website to get the necessary plugin for your Quicktime.

Step 1– Click on download: Download the file from the official website and it will go to your download folder.

Step 2 – Disable Gatekeeper: You cannot just install the plugin because of your security settings. Therefore, you need to first disable the gatekeeper temporarily.

Go to ‘System Preferences’ (you can search for this from your Apple menu), and click on ‘Security and Privacy’. If you had attempted to install the plugin, you’ll see a section titled ‘Allow apps downloaded from’, here you can allow the install by clicking on ‘Open Anyway’.

Step 3 – Enter your password: Your Password and Username will be requested, enter them to effect changes and give access to the plugin.

Step 4 – Install the plugin: An installer window will pop-up, select your plugin, and install it. After installation, close the window. Now you can play your MKV file on Quicktime by double-clicking.

Method 2: Use a Third-Party Player

If you’d rather use a third-party app, you have several options available to you. VLC is one such popular option. It is easy to use and it has an extensive list of compatible file formats.

  • Download VLC Player from the official website (VideoLan).
  • Double-click on the downloaded package to install it. It will then ask you to add it to the applications folder.
  • From the pop-up window, click on the VLC icon, drag it to the ‘applications’ folder and then drop it.
  • Authenticate the installation in the prompt and enter your device name and password if prompted.
  • Right-click on the file and select the ‘open with’ option, from the list given, choose VLC and your file will open immediately.

Method 3: Convert the MKV File

MKV files are usually large, so it will be too heavy to make use of an online converter. Therefore, you should use an offline converter that you will install on your device. There are different converters available for you, and they have simple UI which usually follow this process to convert a file.

  • With the converter installed on your device, double-click on it to launch the converter.
  • Look for a tab titled ‘select file’ or ‘Choose File’ or ‘Browse File’, or anything similar. This will allow you to select your file from where it is on your device. Now click on ‘Open’ or ‘Upload’.
  • Haven selected your file, select your desired file type, and click on Convert.
  • After that, save your new file and open it with a supported player.


1. What file extensions are similar to MKV files?

File extensions like MP4, AVI, QT, SWF are all similar to MKV format. They usually can be handled the same way you would an MKV file.

2. What media players can open MKV files?

The most popular media player that can open MKV files is the VLC media player. Others are DivX and BS Player. With players that do not support MKV files, you can always download additional codecs to get them running.

3. Can my default Windows Media Player run MKV files?

Playing MKV files in the default Windows Media Player requires that you install additional codecs from a third-party source. Make sure that you only download these from sources you trust to avoid downloading malware that will damage your device.

4. What is the meaning of the MKV File?

MKV files stand for Matroska Video Files which was named after a type of Russian wooden doll called – Matryoshka. The name was given to it by the founders/developers.

5. Who was the creator of MKV file?

The development team comprises of different members that made this File a success. However, the lead developer on the team is Lasse Kärkkäinen together with Steve Lhomme who is the founder of Matroska.

6. How can I open MKV File on Windows 10?

Inability to play MKV files on Windows 10 can be fixed by using a supported player or installing the right codec. Windows media player will require you to install additional codecs before it can play an MKV file.

However, if you have installed a codec and it still isn’t playing then check that you have the right codec. You might need to download specific codec for video, subtitle, or audio depends on the problem you have.

7. Are MKV files Video files?

It is incorrect to refer to MKV files as video files even if they might contain video data. This is because MKV files can contain anything from videos to audios to subtitles. Therefore, this file type is a package with variety and not a single file type.


Because MKV files are yet to become universally default format for multimedia files, your default media player might not be able to open this file type. In Conclusion, All you need to do is follow the above steps above and you will have your file playing in minutes.

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