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Wow, I actually got it working again !!!
At first things got worse, and I couldn't play .avi files in addition to my original problem with only mp4 files. Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer were also starting to crash frequently.
First I applied MS Fix It for corrupt video codec causing crashes. Then I uninstalled all codec packs & programs. Then I ran a registry cleaner. Then I ran sfc /scannow. Then I installed codec packs (32 & 64 bit components because I have a x64 Win 7 PC). Remembering that everyone advises to do as little as possible when working with codec, I carefully read the installation guide and it said if you have mp4 problems disable Media Foundation on the 32 bit MP4 tab.
Bingo, both WMP & WMC play mp4 files perfectly.
Last edited by satwar; 11th Apr 2014 at 09:10.