April 10, 2020

Step-by-Step Guide to Install FFmpeg on Windows 10

Ever needed to extract the audio file from a certain video you had on your personal computer? Or perhaps wanted to convert a video file from one format to another? If not, you surely must have desired to compress a video file to be a specific size or playback in a different resolution. All of these and many other audio-video related operations can be performed by using a simple command-line tool known as FFmpeg. Unfortunately, installing FFmpeg is not as easy as using it but that is where we come in. Explained below is a step by step guide on how to install this multipurpose tool on your personal computers.

How to Install FFmpeg on Windows 10

What is FFmpeg?

Before we walk you through the installation process, let’s have a quick look at what FFmpeg really is and what are the different scenarios in which the tool can come in handy.

FFmpeg stands for Fast Forward Moving Picture Experts Group. It is a very popular open-source multimedia project available on a variety of operating systems and is capable of performing a plethora of operations on any and all audio formats & video formats out there. Even the archaic ones. The project contains multiple software suites and libraries enabling it to perform a variety of video and audio edits. The program is so powerful that it finds its way into many popular applications such as VLC media player and in the core of most online video converting services along with streaming platforms like Youtube and iTunes.

Using the tool one can do tasks like:

  • encoding,
  • decoding,
  • transcoding,
  • converting formats,
  • mux,
  • demux,
  • stream,
  • filter,
  • extract,
  • trim,
  • scale,
  • concatenate, etc. on various audio and video formats.

Also, being a command-line tool implies that one can perform operations right from the Windows command prompt using very simple single-line commands; a few of which are provided at the end of this article. These commands are quite versatile as they remain the same over different operating systems. However, the lack of a graphical user interface makes things a little complicated when it comes to installing the program on your personal computer.

How to Install FFmpeg on Windows 10

As mentioned earlier, installing FFmpeg on Windows 10 is not as simple as installing any other regular application. While most applications can be installed by simply left-clicking on their respective .exe files and following the on-screen prompts/instructions, installing FFmpeg on your system requires a little more effort because of it being a command-line tool. The whole installation process is divided into three big steps; each containing multiple sub-steps.

Step-by-Step Guide of FFmpeg Installation Process

Nevertheless, we are here to guide you through the entire process in an easy to follow, step by step manner, and help you install FFmpeg on your Windows 10 PC. 

Of course, the first step to install any software will be to install it from official sources.

1. Open the Google Chrome app from the Windows search bar as shown.

Type Google Chrome or any other desired browser installed on your system and click Open

2. Visit the official FFmpeg website.

3. Click on the Windows build by BtbN option as shown.

Click on the Windows build by BtbN option FFmpeg website

4. Click on the ffmpeg-master-latest-win64-gpl.zip link to download the zip file.

-win64-gpl.zip link to download the zip file.

Note: In case you are unaware of your processor architecture, open Windows file explorer by pressing Windows + E keys. Go to This PC, right-click and select Properties. In the Properties dialog box, you can find your processor architecture next to the System type label.

For example: The x64-based processor in the below screenshot implies the processor is 64-bit.

You will find your processor architecture next to the ‘System type’ label

5. Once downloaded, open the Downloads folder, right-click on the downloaded zip file and choose Extract to… option to extract all the contents to a new folder of the same name as depicted below.

Right-click on the zip file and choose ‘Extract to'

6. Right-click on the newly extracted folder and select Rename as shown.

Right-click on the newly extracted folder and select ‘Rename’

7. Carefully type in FFmpeg and hit Enter to Save.

Also Read: How To Install Hex Editor Notepad++ in Windows 10

Step II: Moving FFmpeg Folder to C Drive

It is important to understand the location is as important as the command prompt will only execute properly if the FFmpeg files are present in the correct locale.

1. Right-click on the FFmpeg folder and select Copy as depicted.

Right-click on the FFmpeg folder and select Copy

2. Naviagte to Default Windows installation drive, usually C: drive, right-click on a blank area and select Paste as shown.

Right-click on a blank area and select Paste

3. Open the pasted folder once and make sure there are no FFmpeg subfolders inside.

Note: If there are any subfolders found, then move all the files such as, bin, doc, presets, LICENSE.txt and README.txt to the root folder and delete the subfolder. This is how the FFmpeg folder should look like.

Insides of the FFmpeg folder should look like

Also Read: How to Install or Uninstall OneDrive in Windows 10

Step III: Installing FFmpeg on Windows 10

Its now time to install FFmpeg from the extracted & moved folder as follows:

1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, search for Edit the system environment variables. Once found, hit Enter to open as shown.

Search for ‘Edit the system environment variables’ and hit enter to open

2. In the System Properties dialog box, switch to Advanced tab.

3. Next, click on Environmental Variables… button shown highlighted.

Click on ‘Environmental Variables...’ at the bottom right of the advanced system properties dialog box

4. Select Path under the User variables for [username] column by clicking on it. Post selection, click on Edit... button.

Select ‘Path’ under the User variables for [username] column by left-clicking on it. Post selection, click on Edit

5. On Edit environment variable, click on New as shown.

Click on New on the top right-hand side of the dialog box

6. Carefully type C:ffmpegbin followed by OK to save the changes.

Carefully enter Cffmpegbin followed by OK to save changes

7. After making the said entry, the Path in Environment Variables should look like this.

Path label in environment variables has been open

8. Press OK to close Environment Variables and save the changes made.

Also Read: How to install Internet Explorer on Windows 10 

Step IV: Verify FFmpeg Installation Via Command Prompt

The final part does not have anything to do with the installation process but will help verify if you were able to correctly install FFmpeg on your personal computer.

1. Search for command prompt as shown. Once located, select Run as administrator option as shown.

Right-click on command prompt and select to ‘Run as administrator.’

2. In the Administrator: Command Prompt window, type ffmpeg -version and press Enter key.

3A. If you managed to successfully install FFmpeg on your Windows PC, it should display details such as build, FFmpeg version, default configuration, etc. as depicted in the pic below.

Command Prompt will be open

3B. In case you weren’t able to install FFmpeg properly, the command prompt will return the following message:

ffmpeg’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

weren’t able to install FFmpeg properly, the command prompt will return with the message

In such a scenario, go through the above guide thoroughly once again and rectify any mistakes you might have made.

Also Read: How to Install Autotune VST Plugin in Audacity

How to Use FFmpeg?

It all might as well be for nothing if you don’t know how to use this multipurpose tool. Fortunately, using FFmpeg is much simpler than installing the program itself. All you need to do is open command prompt as administrator or PowerShell and type in the command line for the task you wish to execute. Below is a list of command lines for various audio-video operations that one might wish to perform.

1. To perform any kind of edits using FFmpeg, you will need to open the command prompt or Powershell in the folder containing the files you wanna work with. Open the folder with your files in it, hold shift & right-click in an empty area and from the list of options select Open Powershell window here.

Right-click in an empty area and from the list of options select ‘Open Powershell window here’

2. Let’s say you want to change the format of a particular video file from .mp4 to .avi . To do so, type the below line carefully in command prompt/powershell and press Enter:

ffmpeg -i sample.mp4 sample.avi

Note: Replace sample with the name of the video file you wish to convert.

Type the command in the command prompt and press enter

3. The conversion may take some time depending on the file size and your PC hardware. The .avi file will be available in the same folder after the conversion has finished.

Replace ‘sample’ with the name of the video file you wish to convert

Other popular FFmpeg commands include:

  • Get audio/video file information: ffmpeg -i sample.mp4
  • Convert video file to audio file:   ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vn output.mp3
  • Change video resolution: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -filter:v scale=1280:720 -c:a copy output.mp4
  • Compress an audio file: ffmpeg -i input.mp3 -ab 128 output.mp3
  • Remove audio from a video file: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -an output.mp4
  • Preview a video: ffplay sample.mp4

Note: Remember to replace ‘sample’, ‘input’, ‘output’ with respective file names


So, hopefully, by following the above steps you will be able to install FFmpeg on Windows 10. But if you still have any queries or suggestions then feel free to reach out in the comment section.