Manually Installing Windows Media Player Plugin for Firefox in Windows Vista

Surprise, a complete install of Windows Media Player in Windows Vista does not provide the necessary .dll files needed to play WMA or ASX files in Firefox. This means that if you do a fresh install of Windows Vista and Firefox 2.x and try to listen to an archived program on kexp.org you’re going to get that this ugly little window:

Missing Windows Media Player Plugin in Firefox Manual Install Dialog Box

Your first instinct is to let Firefox figure it out, by clicking the Install Missing Plugins. But then it says you have to manually install the plugin and you get directed to install the full Windows Media Player (WMP). Only this won’t solve the problem. What you really need is to download three .dll files and copy them into your C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxplugins directory.

These dll files are:

According to W3C, Firefox is in at a full 31% of the browser market! I can understand why Microsoft wouldn’t make it easy for Mozilla users, but you have to wonder about this. Microsoft has a desire to hold on to as much browser market as it can. But more importantly it wants people to use its encoding scheme for audio and video. Controlling a media format can mean a dynasty for a company, (think Adobe’s PDF). If Microsoft wants to encourage publishers to encode in their audio/video codec they need to start making it easier for people using alternative browsers to view their content.

Here is a link to the MozillaZine Knowledge Base entry on this topic. For most users, I would think the table of contents at the top is enough to make them give up on getting the plugin installed. I was prompted to finally figure this out while trying to play an archive copy of homeboy DJ Riz’s Expansions show on KEXP. Listen to Riz, he is the man.

Update 5/16/2008: I recieved this comment that the dll links were out of order, so I fixed them and also downloaded/bundled the dll’s into a single Zip file to make things just a bit easier.   Have a great day. 🙂

15 thoughts on “Manually Installing Windows Media Player Plugin for Firefox in Windows Vista”

  1. Wow, that’s interesting and sad! Didn’t Microsoft send Mozilla a congratulations cake on 2.0? This is why I haven’t installed my copy of Vista.

  2. Fixing once is not enough. Certain Windows Update will reset everything again. I just got my iMac G5 and will now trash my PC!

  3. This is great but the filenames on the links are mixed up. FYI.
    Left side is wrong right side shows the proper names in the order they are shown above.
    * npdrmv2.dll (download) npdsplay.dll
    * npdsplay.dll (download) npwmsdrm.dll
    * npwmsdrm.dll (download) npdrmv2.dll

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