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 device will 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.
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 CloudConvert is our favorite because it’s simple and supports a vast array of file formats.
Since CloudConvert is a hosted service, you’ll need to upload your video files to their server. If you’re worried about uploading your private or confidential videos to the cloud, you can use another software to edit them on your device. Otherwise, you should feel confident using CloudConvert because you are given the option to delete your video files as soon as they finish the conversion. (You can do so by clicking on the X icon next to the Download button. It may take up to 24 hours, but your videos should be deleted from their servers by then.)
Step 1: Go to the CloudConvert homepage and click Select File to choose a file from your computer. If you click on the drop-down arrow within the Select File button, you can choose from files you keep in Google Drive, Dropbox, or other online storage options.
Step 2: Select the arrow next to Convert To and then choose MP4 from the video formats list. Click the Convert button to start the process.
Step 3: The conversion doesn’t take too long, and you know the process is done when the option to download appears. (CloudConvert may automatically playback your newly converted video for you, so that you can see if the conversion went well before you download the new file.) Click the green Download button to download your new video. Once you download your MP4 file, you can use it on any compatible device or platform. If you’re going to convert files frequently, you might want to add the CloudConvert Chrome extension.