FFmpeg is one of the most popular, free, and open-source multimedia tools to encode, decode, and convert media files. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to install FFmpeg on Windows, add FFmpeg to the Windows path, and verify FFmpeg installation. Even if you are a beginner, the steps listed below will be easy to follow. Let’s get started.
Steps to Install FFmpeg on Windows
Because FFmpeg is a portable command line application, Installing it is a bit different from installing general software. That being said, it is just as easy. You can install FFmpeg in four simple steps. i.e., download FFmpeg, extract FFmpeg files to a folder, add FFmpeg to Windows path, and verify FFmpeg installation. Let me show you how to do it.
Step 1: Download FFmpeg on Windows
First, click here to open the FFmpeg developer website. After that, click the “Windows” icon under the “Get packages & executable files” heading and then click the “Windows builds from gyan.dev” link.
The above action will open a new website called gyan.dev. On that page, click on the “ffmpeg-git-full.7z” package link.
This action downloads FFmpeg in 7z archive format to your downloads folder.
Step 2: Extract FFmpeg to a Folder
After downloading the FFmpeg archive file, find the downloaded file in your Downloads folder and extract it with zip software such as 7-Zip or WinRAR. To extract the 7z file, right-click on it, and choose the “7-Zip -> Extract here” option. If you are using WinRAR, select “WinRAR > Extract here.”
The above action will extract contents to a new folder in the same directory. By default, the extract folder’s name may contain the current FFmpeg version and build number. For ease of use, I recommend renaming the extracted folder to “ffmpeg.” Though not necessary, renaming the folder makes adding it to the Windows path easy.
Next, move the folder to the root of the C drive. Just like renaming, this step is entirely optional. However, this makes it easy to add the folder to the Windows path.
Step 3: Add FFmpeg to the Windows Path
To complete the installation process, we must add FFmpeg to the Windows Path environment variable. Adding FFmpeg to the path allows you to execute FFmpeg commands directly from any folder. i.e., without having to navigate to the FFmpeg folder first. Here’s how to do it.
On Windows 11 & 10:
First, press the “Start” button on the taskbar, search for “View advanced system settings,” and open it. Go to the “Advanced” tab in the System Properties window and click on the “Environment Variables” button at the bottom.
The above action opens the Environment Variables window. Here, Select the “Path” variable under the “User variables” section and click “Edit.”
Note: If you want to add FFmpeg to the path for all users, select the “Path” variable under the “System Variables” section.
Once you are in the “Edit environment variable” window, click on the “New” button.
Type “C:\ffmpeg\bin” in the blank field and click on the “OK” button.
Note: If you’ve placed the FFmpeg folder in some other folder or drive, change the directory path accordingly.
Once FFmpeg is added to the Windows Path variable, this is how it looks in the main Environment Variables window. Click on the “OK” button to save changes.
That’s it. Close the main window, and you are good to go.
On Windows 7 and 8:
Adding FFmpeg to Windows 7 path is similar to Windows 10 and 11, but the user interface is slightly different. Let me show you how to do it.
Open the Start menu by pressing the “Start” key on your keyboard. Next, search for “Edit System Environment Variables” and click on the result. After opening it, go to the “Advanced” tab and click on the “Environment Variables” button. Find and select the “Path” variable under “System Variables,” and click on the “Edit” button.
Go to the end of the line in the “Variable Value” field and add
;C:\ffmpeg\bin. Click on the “OK” button to save changes. Each path you add to the value field should be separated by
Note: If the FFmpeg folder is in some other folder or drive, change the path accordingly.
Step 4: Verify FFmpeg Installation
After installing FFmpeg on Windows, it is prudent that you verify the installation. That way, you can be sure that you can execute FFmpeg commands, and third-party applications that rely on FFmpeg can recognize and use FFmpeg. Here’s how to check if FFmpeg is installed properly on Windows:
First, right-click the “Start” icon on the taskbar and choose “Terminal.” You can also open PowerShell or Command Prompt directly by searching for it in the Start menu.
After opening the terminal or Command Prompt window, type
ffmpeg, and press the Enter key on your keyboard. If FFmpeg is installed and correctly added to the Windows path, you will see the FFmpeg version number and its configuration details. Typing
ffmpeg -h will show the full list of commands you can use with FFmpeg.
If you haven’t installed FFmpeg or added it to the Windows path properly, you will encounter the “ffmpeg is not recognized as an internal or external command” error message.
With that, you’ve successfully installed FFmpeg on Windows.
Install FFmpeg on Windows Video
As a compliment to this text tutorial, I’ve also created a video tutorial. In the video, I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step, highlighting important points and providing helpful tips along the way. Do check it out.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Here are a few frequently asked questions on FFmpeg, its installation process, common errors, and other issues:
FFmpeg is free and open-source software. You can download FFmpeg directly from the developer’s website. You don’t have to pay to download, install, or use FFmpeg on Windows.
You can install FFmpeg in four steps. First, download FFmpeg, extract the archive file to a folder,add the folder to the Windows path, and verify the installation by typing ffmpeg in the Command Prompt window. For detailed steps, follow the steps above.
To check if FFmpeg is installed on your Windows machine, open Command Prompt, type “ffmpeg,” and press “Enter.” If FFmpeg is installed, you will see its version number and configuration details. If FFmpeg is not installed, you will see the “ffmpeg is not recognized as an internal or external command” error message.
If you are seeing a “FFmpeg dll is missing” error, it means that the FFmpeg library file, which is required for the program to run, is not present on your system. To fix this error, you will need to remove the old installation and reinstall FFmpeg on Windows.
This error usually means that FFmpeg is either not installed or not added to the Windows path. Simply reinstall FFmpeg and add it to the Windows path to fix the “FFmpeg is not recognized as an internal or external command” error.
That is all. It is that simple to install and add FFmpeg to the Windows path. I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.