Play Windows Media files in Firefox with the Windows Media plugin

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To play Windows Media in Firefox, you need the Windows Media Player browser plugin installed. There are two different versions:

  • The original, which is usually included with Windows up until XP.
  • The new version, specifically developed for Windows XP and above, which is only available by download.
This article describes how to check for and install the Windows Media Player Firefox plugin. Many Windows XP users will have the old plugin but it is recommended that you install the new plugin, anyway.
Even if you have Windows Media Player installed, you may still be missing the plugin required to play back Windows Media audio and video content in web pages.

Note: The 64-bit version of Firefox does not recognize or support this plugin.

Mplayer is a popular Linux media player that can play back Windows Media files. In order to use Mplayer to play a Windows Media stream in Firefox, you must install two packages, named gnome-mplayer and gecko-mediaplayer. Your Linux distribution may have these packages readily available to install.

Microsoft discontinued the Macintosh version of Windows Media Player in 2006. The Flip4Mac replacement added Windows Media playback capabilities to QuickTime and was distributed for free until May 1, 2014, when Telestream began charging for Flip4Mac Player. For more information, see this Telestream article.

If you want a free player for many different media types, including Windows Media, you can try the VLC Media Player for Mac OS X. To play embedded audio and video content on web pages, you would need to download the VLC Web Browser plugin package (available from the Download VLC drop-down menu). For other alternatives, try the Mac App Store.

The following applies to Windows and Linux with the Windows Media plugin installed.

Checking if the plugin is installed

Important: The Windows Media plugin is now disabled by default and doesn't show up in the Add-ons manager. Please see these instructions for turning it back on.

To see if you already have the plugin installed:

  1. Click the menu button Fx89menuButton, click Add-ons and themes and select Plugins.
  2. Scroll down the list, and look for the entry called:
    Microsoft® Windows Media Player Firefox Plugin

    WMP Fx23
    • If the entry is present, then the plugin is installed.
    • If the entry is missing, proceed to the Installing the plugin section.

Installing the plugin

  1. Go to the plugin download page on Interoperability Bridges.
    • The Interoperability Bridges page also contains more detailed installation instructions.
  2. Click "Download Now" and you will be prompted to save a file.
  3. Save the file to your desktop.
  4. Once it has downloaded, run it, and the plugin will install.
  5. When the installation has finished, close Firefox:
    • Click the Firefox menu Fx89menuButton and select Exit.Click the Firefox menu at the top of the screen and select Quit Firefox.Click the Firefox menu Fx89menuButton and select Quit.
  6. When Firefox has completely closed, start Firefox up again.
  7. Type about:config in the address bar and press EnterReturn.
    A warning page may appear. Click Accept the Risk and Continue to go to the about:config page.
  8. Search for plugins.load_appdir_plugins.
  9. Double-click plugins.load_appdir_plugins to change its value to true.
  10. Click the Firefox menu Fx89menuButton and select Exit.Click the Firefox menu at the top of the screen and select Quit Firefox.Click the Firefox menu Fx89menuButton and select Quit. When you restart Firefox the plugins will be enabled.

Testing the plugin

The following link opens a test page that requires the Windows Media Player plugin. If the player loads and plays, then the plugin is installed correctly:

Enabling or disabling the plugin

You can disable or enable the Windows Media Player plugin in the Firefox Add-ons Manager.

  1. Click the menu button Fx89menuButton, click Add-ons and themes and select Plugins.
  2. In the list of plugins, select the Windows Media Player plugin.
    • If you want to disable the plugin, select Never Activate in its drop-down menu.
    • If you want to re-enable the plugin, select Always Activate in its drop-down menu.

If the plugin is disabled, pages with embedded Windows Media such as the "Windows Media test" linked above will not work and, if you download a Windows Media file, Firefox may ask you what to do with the file instead of automatically opening it in Firefox.

Links to media files

The Windows Media formats handled by the plugin include asf, asx, wm, wma, wax, wmp, wmv, and wvx. When you click on a link to download a Windows Media file and the plugin is enabled, it will open automatically in Firefox using the plugin. If you do not want this to happen, you can select a different download action in your Firefox Application settings for Windows Media files. For more information, see Manage file types and download actions in Firefox.


If you are having problems with Windows Media content, see Fix common audio and video issues.

Based on information from Windows Media Player (mozillaZine KB)

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