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 already, but it is recommended that you install the new plugin, anyway.

Note: Even if you already have Windows Media Player installed, you may still be missing the plugin required to play back Windows Media audio and video embedded in web pages.

Windows Media Player used to be available for the Mac platform, but is no longer supported by Microsoft. Flip4Mac is the replacement of choice - it adds Windows Media playback capabilities to QuickTime.

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.

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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox buttonOn the menu bar, click on the Tools menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Tools menu, and then click Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open.

  2. In the Add-ons Manager tab, select the Plugins panel.
  3. Scroll down the list, and look for the entry called:
    Microsoft® Windows Media Player Firefox Plugin
    np-mswmp.dll

    WMP - Win1


    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" 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:
    • At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit

      Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29

  6. When Firefox has completely closed, start Firefox up again.
  1. Go to the plugin download page on Interoperability Bridges.
    • The Interoperability Bridges page also contains more detailed installation instructions.
  2. Click "Download Now" 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:
    • At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit

      Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29

  6. When Firefox has completely closed, start Firefox up again.
  7. In the Location bar, type about:config and press EnterReturn.

    • The about:config "This might void your warranty!" warning page may appear. Click I'll be careful, I promise! to continue 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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29

    . When you restart Firefox the plugins will be enabled.

Installation

Download and install the Flip4Mac WMV Components for QuickTime from the Flip4Mac website. The website includes more detailed installation and usage instructions. For information about QuickTime, see the Use the QuickTime plugin to play audio and video article.

Testing the plugin

The following link is to a test page that requires the Windows Media PlayerFlip4Mac plugin. If the player loads and plays, then the plugin is installed correctly:

Note: On Mac OS X 10.6 and above, Firefox runs in 64-bit mode by default. If you see a yellow notification bar with the message, This page requires a plugin that can only run in 32-bit mode, you will need to click the Restart in 32-bit mode button to restart Firefox, before the media will play.

Enabling or disabling the plugin

You can disable or enable the Windows Media PlayerFlip4Mac plugin in the Firefox Add-ons Manager.

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox buttonOn the menu bar, click on the Tools menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Tools menu, and then click Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open.

  2. In the Add-ons Manager tab, select the Plugins panel.
  3. In the list of plugins, select the Windows Media PlayerFlip4Mac plugin.
    • If you want to disable the plugin, click the Disable button.
    • If you want to re-enable the plugin, click the Enable button.
  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox buttonOn the menu bar, click on the Tools menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Tools menu, and then click Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open.

  2. In the Add-ons Manager tab, select the Plugins panel.
  3. In the list of plugins, select the Windows Media PlayerFlip4Mac 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 Change what Firefox does when you click on or download a file.

Troubleshooting

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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