To convert video formats in Windows Vista you need a 3rd party utility, some of which are expensive to buy. Fortunately, there is a great free video conversion tool for Vista users called MediaCoder.

Using this application you can convert between almost every video (and audio) file type possible:
  • MP3, Vorbis, AAC, AAC+, AAC+v2, MusePack, Speex, AMR, WMA, RealAudio, mp3PRO*
  • FLAC, WavPack, Monkey's Audio, OptimFrog, AAC Lossless, TTA, WAV/PCM, Waveform
  • H.264, XviD, DivX, MPEG 1/2/4, Theora, Flash Video, Dirac, 3ivx*, RealVideo*, Windows Media Video
  • AVI, MPEG/VOB, Matroska, MP4, PMP, RealMedia*, ASF, Quicktime*, OGM*
  • CD, DVD, VCD, SVCD, CUESheet*, HTTP*, FTP*, RTSP*, UDP*
* supported as input only

You can download the software directly from the MediaCoder website for free. Once you have installed it, the following guide will show an example MOV to AVI conversion. There are plenty of other features built into the software (such as batch video conversion etc...), but this guide is designed to illustrate the most basic single file mode.

Start by loading MediaCoder from your start menu:

mediaconverter1.jpg

Then click on the Add Icon on the menu bar, followed by Add File:

mediaconverter2.jpg

Browse to and click on the file you wish to convert, then click Open:

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The file has been added to the list ready for conversion. You can now select the output format by clicking on the Audio and Video tabs. In the example below the file is going to be converted from a .mov file to an XviD .avi file. Once the correct options are selected, click Start:

mediaconverter4.jpg

Once the conversion is started a progress bar will appear to indicate the time remaining. When this is completed a popup box will inform you of the new file size, time taken to convert and compression ratio. By default, the new file will be located in the same directory as the original file:

mediaconverter5.jpg

You have now successfully converted a video file. If you wish to perform batch conversions, cropping or any other advanced features then they are relatively easy to figure out using the tabs - but there is a built-in link to a help site if you get stuck.
 
Ian, Mar 28, 2008
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