John McGowan's AVI Overview: Installation, Configuration, and Related Topics

Where can I get the 16-bit Video for Windows 1.1e runtime?

This is the Video for Windows for Windows 3.x In a pinch, it will also work under Windows 95. Windows 95 includes a version of Video for Windows that has 32 bit video codecs and possibly other changes specific to Windows 95. See elsewhere in this Overview for information on re-installing Video for Windows for Windows 95. Historically, Microsoft made the 16-bit Video for Windows 1.1e runtime available at their website: (Note the file name is all upper case) HOWEVER, as of November 29, 1999, they appear to have removed the file from the web site. You can get it at: Return to Top

Reinstalling Microsoft's Video for Windows in Windows 95

This requires the Windows 95 CD-ROM. One can either reinstall Windows 95 (probably not what you want to do) or manually remove Video for Windows and manually reinstall the files that make up Video for Windows under Windows 95. Truevision's Technical Support has a good note on how to do this. Although it does not appear to be copyrighted, I felt uncomfortable cutting and pasting it into the AVI Overview. The URL is Return to Top

How to get Microsoft ActiveMovie 1.0

ActiveMovie is Microsoft's successor to Video for Windows. ActiveMovie 1.0 is shipped with OEM Service Release 2 of Windows 95. ActiveMovie 1.0 is also bundled with Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. ActiveMovie 1.0 is available for Windows 95 and Windows NT. ActiveMovie 1.0 plays AVI, QuickTime, and MPEG files. IF YOU DON'T HAVE OEM SERVICE RELEASE 2 of 95! ActiveMovie 1.0 is incorporated in Internet Explorer. A full install of Internet Explorer can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site. Microsoft also provides a free download of just ActiveMovie 1.0. Both can be downloaded from the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web site as described below: Click on Internet Explorer for 95 and NT 4.0 link to get to the download area. There is a pulldown list of products. (6/6/97). Select "Active Movie 1.0 for Windows 95 and NT 4.0" to get just ActiveMovie 1.0 Click the "Next" button. This brings up a page to select the language from another pulldown list. Pick your language (e.g. U.S. English). Click the "Next" button. This brings up a list of links to download sites for amov4ie.exe Dowload this executable and run. It installs Active Movie 1.0 Return to Top

Installing and Configuring AVI Codecs in NT 4.0

The Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 applications and operating systems are configured through the NT Registry, which is similar to the Windows 95 Registry. Although Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95 share a desktop user interface, there are some significant differences between the NT 4.0 Registry and the Windows 95 Registry. In NT 4.0, the 32 bit video codecs do not appear to be listed in a [drivers32] section in the SYTEM.INI file. This differs from Windows 95. The Video for Windows configuration information appears to be stored almost exclusively in the NT Registry in NT 4.0. The NT Registry can be viewed and modified through the Control Panel or through the REGEDT32 Registry Editor. Use the Control Panel unless you really know what you are doing. You can view and change which audio and video codecs are installed through the Multimedia icon in the Windows NT 4.0 Control Panel (in My Computer). This works much the same as the Multimedia icon in the Windows 95 Control Panel (in My Computer). Double click on the Multimedia icon to launch the Multimedia applet. Select the Devices tab within the Multimedia applet. This tab gives a list of installed multimedia drivers including hardware device drivers, MCI drivers, and audio and video codecs. It includes two sections: (cute icon)Video Compression Codecs (cute icon)Audio Compression Codecs Double-click on these to view the installed audio and video codecs. There are buttons to Add.. or Remove... multimedia devices including the audio and video codecs. To Add a video codec, click the Add... button. This gives an Add dialog box with a List of Drivers. You may select from a list of drivers that the system knows about, such as "Cinepak", or select "Unlisted or Updated Driver". If you need to use "Unlisted or Updated Driver" you will need a directory on a floppy disk, CD-ROM, or your hard drive containing the needed drivers and an INF (Setup Information ) file. Depending on what you are doing, the needed directory may be on a floppy provided with a product, on the Windows NT installation CD-ROM, or constructed manually by you or someone else. The INF file provides directives for installing the driver including changes to the Registry. Windows read the INF file and follows the directives. You may need a different (NT specific) INF file to install under Windows NT 4.0 than Windows 95. The 32 bit video codecs are installed in the \WINNT\SYSTEM32 directory used for 32 bit drivers, analogous to the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory in Windows 3.x NOTE: Using the Remove... button to remove a codec does not remove the codec files from the hard drive. Nor does the codec disappear from the list of codecs displayed when Add... is selected. Remove... appears to simply disable the video codec so that it is not invoked. Use Add... to enable the codec after Remove... The other option to install a codec is to use an installation program that will appropriately update the NT Registry and copy the needed files to the correct directories in the NT file system (such as \WINNT\SYSTEM32). In many cases, you can get an install program from a Web site or other convenient source. In this case, you do not need to use the NT Control Panel. The install program does all of the work. NT 4.0 appears to be able to use the same 32 bit video codecs as Windows 95, for example Cinepak for Windows 32. Keep in mind that device drivers for hardware are different between Windows 95 (which uses VxD's) and NT 4.0. Only some parts of Windows 95 and NT 4.0 can use the same code. Return to Top

How to give AVI files a different extension in Windows 3.x

It is possible to give an AVI file a different file extension, for example VID. Microsoft Windows can be configured so that Windows treats this file the same as a file with the AVI extension. For example, double clicking on a .VID file in File Manager will play the .VID file just the same as a .AVI file. In Windows 3.x, edit the WIN.INI file, usually in the \WINDOWS directory. There is a section [Extensions] which associates file extensions with applications. For example, this section will typically include a line such as: [Extensions] AVI=mplayer.exe /play /close ^AVI which causes Media Player (mplayer.exe) to be invoked when the user double clicks on a file with extension AVI. For VID, add a line VID=mplayer.exe /play /close ^VID Media Player is an MCI (Media Control Interface) application. It will attempt to play the .VID file through MCI. At this point however, MCI would not recognize VID although Media Player would be invoked. There is also a section [mci extensions] which contains lines such as: [mci extensions] AVI=AVIVideo ( tells MCI to use the MCI driver refered to as AVIVideo for files with the extension AVI) For the VID example, add VID=AVIVideo to the [mci extensions] section in WIN.INI The WIN.INI file is used mainly for configuring the higher levels of Windows: the graphical user interface and the desktop. Many applications install their configuration or installation information in sections within WIN.INI Names such as AVIVideo are defined in the [mci] section in the SYSTEM.INI file, also usually in the \WINDOWS directory. SYSTEM.INI is used mainly for configuring the lower levels of Windows: the device drivers, VxD's, and so forth. [mci] AVIVideo=mciavi.drv ( where mciavi.drv is the AVI MCI Driver ) Thus, many file extensions can refer to AVIVideo which in turn refers to the MCI Driver for AVI files. The MCI Driver processes MCI commands and may in turn invoke other drivers or DLL's such as the Video for Windows decompressors. Return to Top

How AVI Files are Handled in Windows 95

If a user double-clicks on an AVI file icon in Windows 95, Windows 95 will invoke an AVI player. In Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2, Windows 95 will invoke the ActiveMovie Control to play the AVI file. ActiveMovie 1.0 ships with OEM Service Release 2 which is configured to use ActiveMovie for AVI, QuickTime, and MPEG files. Windows 95 has file extensions and file types. .AVI is a file extension. File extensions are mapped to file types. AVIFile is a file type. The information on file extensions and file types is stored in the Windows 95 System Registry. More than one file extension can be mapped to the same file type. For example, the .AIF and .AIFF file extensions are both mapped to AIFFFile, the file type for the Apple AIFF audio file format. The file type contains information on how to play the file (which application to use) and other information. This information is all stored in the Windows 95 Registry. A user can view and also edit the information on file types through the Windows Explorer applet. Select the Options... item from the View Menu of Windows Explorer. Select the File Types tab from the Options property sheet. This gives a list box of registered file types. There are buttons to add, remove, or edit a File Type. The AVIFile File Type is identified as "Movie Clip(AVI)" in this list box of registered file types in Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2. In the Windows 95 Registry, "Movie Clip(AVI)" is a string in the "AVIFile" file type "key". Windows Explorer displays the string "Movie Clip(AVI)", not AVIFile, the name of the "key". A user can change how Windows 95 handles an AVI file by editing the "Movie Clip(AVI)" File Type in the File Types through Windows Explorer. For example, a user can select an alternative AVI file player. In Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2, the File Type includes a Content type (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension or MIME type). The Content type (MIME type) tells Microsoft Internet Explorer how to handle a file from a Web site. The original Windows 95 retail version did not include the Content (MIME) type. This extra feature could be added by installing the MS Plus! add-on to Windows 95. Some OEM versions of Windows 95 prior to OEM Service Release 2 supported the Content (MIME) type. The Windows 95 Registry can be viewed using REGEDIT, the Windows 95 Registry editor. The registry "keys" for file extensions and file types are stored in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT "key". Although REGEDIT can also edit the registry, the registry is rather complex and this drastic action should be avoided. Use the Windows Explorer applet. This applet knows how to modify the keys in the Windows 95 Registry. The Windows 95 Registry is a binary database stored in two files: SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT. Internally, the database is structured very similarly to a hierarchical file system such as the DOS/WINDOWS file system. A Windows 95 Registry "key" is essentially a folder that contains other "keys" or "values". The "values" have a name and associated data. The data are text strings such as "Movie Clip(AVI)" or binary numbers. The Registry Editor represents keys with a folder icon and values with different icons. The Registry Editor closely resembles the Windows Explorer. The registry contains a key in the top level HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT key called .avi, for the .avi file extension. All keys contain a default "value" with the name (Default). In the .avi key, the (Default) value has the associated ASCII text string data "AVIFile". In Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2, there is an additional value named "Content Type" with the associated ASCII text string data "video/avi", the MIME type for AVI files. This additional information is used by the Internet Explorer. The (Default) value in the .avi key references the AVIFile key, also in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. This key contains a number of other keys and values. The (Default) value for the AVIFile key has the data "Movie Clip(AVI)" which the Windows interface uses to identify the files to users. The AVIFile key is an example of a file type key. The "shell" key in the AVIFile key specifies what happens when a user double-clicks on an AVI file. In Windows 95 OSR2, the (Default) value for the shell key is "play". The shell key contains two subkeys:open and play. These keys specify possible actions to perform. The (Default) value indicates that the "play" action will be used. The open and play keys each contain a key called command. The (Default) value for the command subkey of play is "rundll32 amovie.ocx RunDLL /play /close %1". rundll32 is a program that runs a 32 bit Windows Dynamic Link Library or DLL as an Application. The command executes amovie.ocx, the ActiveMovie Control, as an application. Controls such as amovie.ocx are actually DLLs. /play tells the control to play the file and /close tells the control to close after finishing playing the file. In versions of Windows 95 without ActiveMovie, the command keys are configured to invoke Media Player, mplayer.exe. Return to Top

© 2000 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.