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GSpot... the Swiss Army Knife for Codecs

written by: PapaJohn•edited by: skierhughes•updated: 8/7/2009

As you get into digital video you'll be into the world of audio and video compressors and decompressors... 'codecs'. When you have a file that doesn't play or play right, open it with GSpot and see what's inside.

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    GSpot: Excellent Free Utility

    When you get a video file that won’t play, and trying everything you know won’t resolve your crashes or hangs, or any kind of quirky actions in your video player or editing software, it’s time to think about the codecs used to make the file and those on your computer that are trying to play or edit it. Error messages are often not descriptive enough… heck, they’re often too hard for the average computer user to even find or read.

    Before heading off to a newsgroup or forum to seek peer support, paying for a tech support session from the computer manufacturer or Microsoft, or downloading some large codec pack that could do more harm than good, it’s time to get a great little free utility whose sole purpose is to assess the codecs that made the file, and those on your computer. Don’t laugh at its name….. 'GSpot'. With a name like that it needs to be good, and it is. It’s my all-purpose codec assessment tool.

    GSpot won’t solve your issue, but just knowing what the issue is can be the single biggest step toward resolving it. And it can’t hurt anything to take a look. Here’s the download link:

    http://www.headbands.com/gspot/

    It’s a free utility that works on XP or Vista. With a download size of less than ½ a meg, and no installation needed, the hardest thing to getting it going is to unzip it from the compressed download file. If you can’t do that, then you’d best ask a friend who is a little more skilled with computers for a little help. You’ll probably need it.

    GSpot doesn’t come with any codecs. Open a video file with it and look at the information provided. With the complexities of computers and software, beware of anyone who can tell you the exact fix for your issue without checking things a bit, or resolving a symptom only to later find it wasn’t the basic issue. I find problem solving in the digital video area very experiential. Try things, but only to the extent you’re comfortable, or just a bit uncomfortable.

    With the file open in GSpot, you’re ready to talk to anyone about it. If you can take a screen snapshot of the GSpot working window with the file open, and post it to a website or email it, you’ll be ready to chat with anyone and everyone. While you’re waiting for help, fish around the info in GSpot, including the little built-in test player provided to help you determine what codecs your system has (or hasn’t).

    Using GSpot will help you overcome any fear of the mysterious subject of codecs.

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    Images

    GSpot