While it’s not as popular as MOV or even FLAC files, you might occasionally encounter an MKV, or Matroska, file. When you’re dealing with subtitles on an audio or video track, an MKV file can come in handy.
When it’s time to convert an MKV file into something your laptop will actually support, like an MP4 file, it’s important to make sure you follow these steps to prevent any data loss.
The VLC media player can recognize and play almost any video format, including MKV. Better yet, it can also convert them to something more universal, like MP4. Here’s how.
Step 1: Head over to VideoLAN’s website and download VLC. Make sure to read the fine print when installing, so you aren’t introducing your computer to any bloatware.
Step 2: Open the software and click the Media tab in the upper-left corner and select Convert/Save from the resulting drop-down menu.
Step 3: Click the Add button and locate the file you wish to convert on your PC. Once it’s selected, press the Convert/Save button at the bottom of the window.
Step 4: Specify your desired video format — in this case, we’d recommend H.264 + Mp3 (MP4) — using the drop-down menu beside Profile. Clicking the tool icon (next to the drop-down menu) will also allow you to further fine-tune your settings.
Step 5: Specify under Destination where you would like VLC to export your file. Then, click Start. The timeline will turn into a progress bar and once it finishes, your video will be ready. Remember that the old MKV file still exists. If you no longer want the old file and would prefer more storage space on your computer, you should delete all your old MKV files when finished.
Cloud Convert (web-based)
If you would rather not install any software to convert your files, you can use a web service instead. There are a few out there, but Cloud Convert is our favorite because it’s simple and supports a vast array of file formats.
Step 1: Navigate to the Cloud Convert homepage and upload your file. You can find it through the Select File button. You can also import from Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud storage services, by tapping the down arrow on the Select File button.
Step 2: Click on the down arrow button next to Convert to and then select MP4 from the list of video formats. Then select the big, red Convert button at the bottom of the page.
Step 3: When the conversion process is complete, a green Download icon will pop up. Click that to download your newly converted video. Note that if you expect to frequently convert files to MP4, you can download Cloud Convert as a Chrome extension or as an iOS app.
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