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How to Play Windows Media Player Files on Macbook Laptop

written by: Austin•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 4/29/2011

One of the most common filetypes for videos is .WMV, but .WMV is a native format of Windows Media Player, making them difficult to play on Mac computers. Here's a quick guide on how to access these files without paying a cent.

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    Windows Media Player and Your Macbook

    If you've been using Mac for a while, you're probably familiar with the file extension .MOV. It's basically the format that every video you play on your computer has to be in for it to work, and if it's in some other format you use to be out of luck. Not anymore, thanks to a couple of programs that can turn your computer into a movie viewing paradise. Here's a brief tutorial on the very easy process to get from being unable to use your Macbook laptop to play Windows Media Player files, to being able to play any movie file you want.

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    Step 1) Identifying Windows Media Player Files

    If you have a Macbook laptop, Windows Media Player is not built into it, nor can you get the native app in any way, shape or form, short of running the entire Windows architecture on your Macbook. Thankfully, there's a way to play these files, but first you need to make sure that Windows Media Player files are what you're dealing with. Look to the end of the file name for what's called the "file extension" (the part that comes after the dot). If it says "WMV", then you're in luck: It's a Windows Media Video.

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    Step 2) Download Perian

    Screen shot 2011-04-27 at 8.27.26 PM If there's one app that every Mac owner should download before any other, it's Perian. What Perian does is take Quicktime Player (the native video viewer on OS X) and turn it into an all-purpose movie watcher, without costing you a penny. After you download it (it's in package form, not .app form), double click on it, and with any luck the device will automatically install itself to Quicktime. Chances are, you won't even notice it once its installed, except when you notice that you can now play .WMV files.

    [Download Link]

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    Step 2b) Download Flip4Mac

    Screen shot 2011-04-27 at 8.27.36 PM If Quicktime was still unable to play .WMV files for some reason, you are in luck. There's another app called "Flip4Mac"that does many of the same things as 'Perian', but occasionally works a little better due to known bugs that Perian has. After you download Flip4Mac, follow the same procedure you did with Perian, meaning just double click on it and your Macbook should take care of the rest. It really is that simple.

    [Download Link]

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    Step 3) Enjoy!

    You may be amazed that it was really that simple, but frankly that's all there is to it. When it comes to your Macbook laptop, Windows Media Player may not be part of it, but there are plenty of ways to work around this without needing to spend precious time, money, or energy. If you're still having trouble after reading this tutorial, feel free to post your comments below and I'll get back to them as quickly as I can.

    Happy movie watching!

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    1. Information Reference: All information comes from prior author knowledge from use of these two programs to play .WMV files.

    2. Image Reference: All images are screenshots taken by the author of the individual programs from their respective websites, links aforementioned.