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“I can’t get messages to play
on my computer!  What do I do?”

If you are having trouble playing a message from,, or it is most likely that you do not have the latest version of Windows Media Player or your media player is not working correctly.  Most errors are due to having an older version of Media Player.  You need at at least version 9 or greater of Windows Media Player or an alternative player such as Media Player Classic.  If you install the codec pack you can play DVDs and virtually any other audio or video file type including DVDs with Media Player Classic.  It’s free and you can download Media Player Classic and the codec pack by clicking on the links.

Windows NT, some Mac versions and some portable music players are NOT compatible with some of the later versions of Windows Media Player and wma files and you may need to listen to the MP3 version.
Most portable music players that indicate they play .wma files will NOT play the voice codec these are encoded with.  The MP3 version will play on all computers and portable music players but read this to make sure your computer is setup to play sound.

Click here to download the latest free Media Player version and install it.

Click Media Player Classic and codec pack to install Media Player Classic and the codec pack to play virtually all audio, video files and DVDs.

If you have downloaded AND installed the latest Windows Media Player and the files still won’t play, below are some additional troubleshooting steps that you can try.

First you need to make sure that Windows Media Player is set to play the files.  Open Windows Media Player (do this by clicking START then All Programs then Windows Media Player)
Once Media Player is started in the upper left corner click HELP then About.  Make sure the version number is 9 or greater.

Click OK to close the version box then click TOOLS on the upper menu then OPTIONS then the File Types tab at the top.
The first file type is usually Windows Media file (asf) and the second file type is Windows Media Audio (wma).  BOTH file types must be checked.  Check them then click OK.
Sometimes the file type needs to be reset if it is already checked.  To do this UNCHECK them then click APPLY then CHECK them and click APPLY again.  Try START SERVICE again.  If there are still problems continue with the suggestions below.

1.) No sound at all:

If you've never heard any sort of sound other than a beep from your computer, perhaps you need a computer service person to take a look and see what you need in order to play sound files.

If you have previously heard music played on your computer, then check the simple things first:

  • Are your speakers plugged in and turned on?
  • Is the speaker volume control turned up?

As another simple check, click the following link to play the a test wav file, and then go to the appropriate paragraphs depending on whether you do or do not hear the test wav file:

Not only must the speaker volume be turned up but the wave volume must be turned up also.  To check whether the speaker and wave volume are turned up on recent versions of Windows click “START” then “CONTROL PANEL” then “Sounds and Audio Devices” then “Audio” then under “Sound Playback” click “Volume.”  Make sure the “Master Volume” and the “Wave” volume are turned up and the “Mute” check box is NOT checked.

If you were not able to hear the test wav file:

  • Wav files are the simplest, most basic, type of audio files, so if you don't hear that wav file being played saying "test, hello", then it is very unlikely that you will be able to play mp3 or wma audio either.
  • All too frequently, different versions of audio software can create system conflicts that result in no audio whatsoever. Therefore, it's often useful to simply download the latest version of Windows Media Player as described above and see if that solves the problems.

Or, if you did hear the test wav file:

  • If you do hear the words "test, hello" from the previous wav file test, that is very encouraging. So, lets try two more test files to see how they work on your system.
  • Let's try a test .wma file and then a test mp3 file:
  • Click here to try playing a test wma file
  • Click here to try playing a test mp3 file
  • If you did hear the test wav file, but are unable to hear either the mp3 or the wma file, then either the mime types are not properly set in the browser, the file types are not properly associated with the player, or the audio player cannot properly play the files.

    In either case, such issues are often resolved by downloading and installing the latest version of a reliable audio player as described above.

2.) Saving the Audio Files on your hard drive:

If you want to play the sound files instantly, or if you want to play them frequently, it may be best to save the files on your computer hard drive rather than repeatedly downloading them via the internet.

When the audio files are stored on your hard drive, you can play them instantly, without any download, and without even being on-line.

One way to save the audio files to your hard drive, is before downloading the file, you can point your mouse at the desired sound file on a web page, right click the mouse, and select "Save Target As...". In this manner, you can make your own collection of sound files that are stored on your own computer.

If you have already downloaded the audio file to your player, and want to save the file to your hard drive, many players offer a menu choice for saving the file. For example, in Windows Media Player 9, just click on File, then Save Media As.

3.) Sound starts and stops repeatedly:

Many of the older audio players have the annoying characteristic that they will often try to play the sound while it is still in the process of being downloaded. So, the sound plays for just a moment and then it stops for a moment while it downloads more of the sound file and then plays another tiny bit and stops again. This makes a very choppy, interrupted sound during the download. Very annoying.

After the first bit of audio starts you can hit the stop button (the square symbol) on the player to tell it to shut up until the file is completely downloaded. When the download is finally completed, you can hit the play button (the triangle symbol) and it should then play the complete file without any hesitations.

This annoyance has generally been solved with Windows Media Player version 9.

4.) Windows Media Player (wma and mp3):

You can get mp3 and wma players for free from many sources. Many of them are fine products, but some may cause problems.  We recommend Media Player Classic and the codec pack

Zip file for Media Player Classic
Zip file for the codec pack.

If you are having any sort of sound problems, I recommend downloading the latest version of the Windows Media Player, directly from Microsoft to use as a baseline test. After you get everything working with Windows Media Player, then you can move on to testing other mp3 players.

If you are using Microsoft Windows and have sound player problems, you really should download and install the latest version of the Windows Media Player. That is often the simplest way to resolve sound problems.

You can get the latest Microsoft Windows Media Player for both PCs and Mac for free from:


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