How To View Vid files in Windows

The .vid file format is a generic file format that many devices record footage to. It’s a legacy file system that has been around for years and can be viewed directly by some media players or rendered in a video editing tool into something more usable. I will show you how to do both.

How To View Vid files in Windows

The .vid file format is used by CCTV systems, some game recording editors, older DVDs and a range of other mediums. It is generic so should be understandable by most media players if the encoding is correct. I do know of a couple of CCTV systems that use a proprietary codec which renders the footage unusable outside the company’s product. So just because something is in .vid format, does not mean any of these techniques will work.

View VID files

As long as the encoding is compatible, you should be able to view a .vid file in Windows Media Player, VLC, QuickTime or other common media software. It only takes a second to try, so do this:

  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Find the .vid file in Windows Explorer.
  3. Navigate to the .vid file and select it.
  4. Drag it and drop it into Windows Media Player.
  5. Select the big blue arrow in the bottom of the screen to play.

If the codec was left at the defaults, WMP should play the file without issue. If it doesn’t play it, you may need to try a different player.

Try using VLC.

  1. Open VLC.
  2. Select the Media menu and Open Folder.
  3. Navigate to your .vid file and select it.
  4. Double click the .vid file to begin playback.

VLC contains hundreds of the most common video codecs by default so there are very few formats out there that it cannot play. If it cannot play the file, you may need to find out what codec has been used to create it.

  1. Download and install AviCodec.
  2. Run the program and navigate to the .vid file.
  3. It will then identify the codec used in the file.

AviCodec is a superb little piece of software used to identify exactly what makes up a video file. It will tell you the codec in the center of the results screen. Sometimes, the codec is a standard WMV or MP4 file that has been mistakenly named as .vid. If this happens you can simply rename the file from .vid to .mp4 and play anywhere.

Other useful tool is MediaInfo which does much the same thing. Open the .vid file with MediaInfo and let it read the metadata. Look in the ‘First video stream’ box to identify the codec and format used.

Otherwise you could try encoding the video into MP4.

Encode VID files

If you really need access to the contents of that .vid file, and the above steps didn’t help, you may like to try encoding the format into something else. The success of this depends entirely on who or what created the .vid file and is not guaranteed to succeed. It may be worth a try though.

Here are a couple of video converter apps you could try.

Freemake Video Converter

Freemake Video Converter is one of the most popular video converters around. It is free, easy to use and works with most video formats. It doesn’t list .vid as being one of them but given that the download is small and free to use, is worth a try. I don’t have a .vid file around to experiment with but I think it’s worth a shot.

Any Video Converter Free

Any Video Converter Free is another free media converter that could help you out. It doesn’t list .vid files as supported but works with most other formats so is certainly worth a try. The interface is simple and easy to get to grips with and should make short work of converting your file into something more usable.


Handbrake is a Mac app that has been converted to use with Windows and is very good at what it does. It is a little harder to get to grips with but is more powerful and has more granular control over video files than the first two options. If you can handle finding your own way around the UI, this may just be the encoder you are looking for.

Those are several options to view vid files in Windows. Your success depends entirely on how the original file was compiled and what codec was used. Hopefully, one of these options will play the video or even encode it into something much more useful.

Got any other ways to view vid files in Windows? Tell us about it below if you do!

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