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Google borks Firefox in Gmail

  • 54 replies
  • 18 have this problem
  • Last reply by Mick Lee

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Google, ever helpful, has replaced the mp3 attachment player in gmail with something that apparently only works in Chrome. In other browsers, it blames the browser for not being able to play the attachment, and immediately demands that you download the file (preferable to Drive) and get yourself an app to listen. I just want to listen to my damn voicemail without being forced to do it in Chrome nor to preserve it for all posterity. Has anyone got a workaround for this crap?

Chosen solution

Hi funksucker, you can use this dialog to confirm your version:

Help > About Firefox

The current version is 26.0.

In order for Firefox to play MP3 media on Windows XP without using a plugin, the DirectShow technology is used. Some users have turned it off so it is easier to download MP3s instead of having them play in the browser. To check your current setting:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.

(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste media. and pause while the list is filtered

(3) If the media.directshow.enabled preference is bolded, then it has been switched from its default value of true to false.

If it's set to true and the media won't play in Gmail, perhaps Google has decided not to support XP users any more??? Unfortunately, I cannot get "hands on" and test this problem myself, since I have Windows 7.

Edit: Removed stray text pasted in error.

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Thanks for sticking with me on this jscher2000. I followed those instructions, found plugins.load_appdir_plugins & changed it's value to 'true'. Still no good. Windows Media Player plugin still doesn't show up in my plugins :(

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Hi funksucker, can you find the DLL file here:

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\Plugins\np-mswmp.dll

That's where plugins.load_appdir_plugins=true should direct Firefox to check.

Anyway, this isn't going to affect the Gmail situation because Google's current design for MP3 attachments is to invoke the native HTML5 player (if found) or require a download, without offering a way to play it in the WMP plugin.

I don't know why DirectShow is working on some Windows XP's and not on others...

If you try to play MP3s from other sites, do they work? On the following page, it will initially play an OGG-encoded audio file, but you can click the button for MP3 file to see whether that plays.

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Yeah it plays all but the mp3 & flac files.

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Hi funksucker, someone suggested before that the codec for some MPEG media formats might be missing. Have you updated Windows Media Player (not the plugin, the stand-alone player)? I think on XP you can install up to version 11: If stand-alone WMP can play MP3s outside of Firefox, then there appears to be a disconnect beween Firefox and DirectX/DirectShow. I don't know what other settings need to be adjusted to close the loop.

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Took a while to install but there were several errors i had to ignore along the way like the one i've attached. it plays mp3s but still not in gmail. btw there's no drive option either, only download. ....Well I tried to upload a bitmap screenshot image but it failed bah!

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Hi funksucker, did I already suggest trying a new Firefox profile? It will have your system-installed plugins (e.g., Flash) and extensions (e.g., security suite toolbars), but no themes, other extensions, or other customizations. It also should have completely fresh settings databases and a fresh cache folder. This should determine whether it is a settings issue in your regular profile.

Exit Firefox and start up in the Profile Manager using Start > search box (or Run):

firefox.exe -P

Any time you want to switch profiles, exit Firefox and return to this dialog.

You'll click the Create Profile button. I recommend using the default location suggested, i.e., do not exercise the option to choose a folder. Then start Firefox in the new profile you created.

Do the MP3 attachments in Gmail play?

When returning to the Profile Manager, you might be tempted to use the Delete Profile button. But... it's a bit too easy to accidentally delete your "real" profile, so I recommend resisting the temptation. If you do want to clean up later, I suggest making a backup of all your profiles first in case something were to go wrong.

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Success! Thanks jscher2000. Now how do I transfer my passwords, bookmarks etc over to the new profile? I don't really understand your last paragraph. Do I use my recovery code?

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Hi funksucker, that's useful to know. Let's try something a little less drastic first.

Let's temporarily knock out your settings file in your regular profile.

Assuming you're still using the new profile,

Help > Troubleshooting Information > Show Folder

Click up a level then click into your regular profile (typically has default in the name, but anyway, you'll be able to judge by the timestamps of the files inside).

Rename the prefs.js file to prefs.old

Then exit Firefox, return to the Profile Manager, and start up in your regular profile again. Renaming prefs.js will have reset a lot of Firefox settings to their defaults. To see whether something in that file was causing the problem, test MP3s in Gmail again to see whether they'll play.

Any luck?

Note: If you are in your regular profile already, you should exit Firefox before renaming prefs.js to prefs.old

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There was no prefs.js file but i renamed the prefs file to prefs.old but mp3s in gmail still won't play in my old profile

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Hi funksucker, well, if the problem wasn't in prefs.js, you may need to use the new profile. This article describe the files you can transfer to copy settings between the two folders. To reduce the potential damage from copying in the wrong direction, please make a backup of both folders in a safe location first.

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Result! Nice one jscher2000! All working fine now, we got there in the end. Many thinks for all your time & help mate :)

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Just one more thing....the singer I'm working with today is sending her ideas as m4a files & they won't play >:( Is there a box I can tick somewhere?

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Hi funksucker, I don't know whether DirectShow can handle the AAC compression used in m4a media. If you drag an m4a file from disk and drop it onto a Firefox tab, will it play directly or does a plugin such as QuickTime get called?

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Yeah quicktime came in & played it. I guess i'll have to ask her to work out how to send her ideas as mp3s from her end

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