Microsoft Silverlight is a plug-in that is used to play media content in the web browser on your Windows or Mac computer. Silverlight DRM is still widely used to play TV content and is designed as an alternative to Adobe’s outdated Flash Player.
However, Silverlight is also outdated and hardly ever used in websites to play media content, other than tv content or live streams. The websites that still support Silverlight will later have to switch to another media player to offer their content.
In 2012 Microsoft had already announced that it would stop further developing the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. However, Microsoft continues to provide bug fixes and patches for Silverlight. Since then, no Silverlight plug-in has been developed for Microsoft Edge.
Google Chrome and Firefox also stopped supporting Silverlight, Google terminated support for Silverlight in Chrome in September 2015, and Mozilla for Firefox in March 2017.
Microsoft will continue to support Silverlight version 5 with updates and bugfixes until October 2021, after that it will stop and many websites will have to switch to HTML5 technology to offer their content. This makes a lot of content immediately available to Microsoft Edge users also.
In this article, I will explain how to activate the Microsoft Silverlight for Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
How to enable Silverlight for Internet Explorer 11
To activate the Silverlight plug-in in Internet Explorer 11 you first need to download and install Silverlight on your computer.
After installing Silverlight for Internet Explorer, open the Internet Explorer browser. In the upper right corner of Internet Explorer, you will find the wrench icon, this is the menu. Open the menu, click on “manage add-ons”.
In the add-on type menu on the left, open “Toolbars and Extensions” and change “Currently loaded add-ons” to “All add-ons”. If all goes well, you should now see “Microsoft Silverlight” from “Microsoft Corporation” in the add-ons you have loaded.
Click on the Silverlight add-on and in the lower right corner on “Enable”. Now the Silverlight plug-in for Internet Explorer is activated.
How to enable Silverlight for Google Chrome
By default, Silverlight is no longer supported by Chrome. The Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (yes Netscape, it’s that old!) NPAPI is no longer supported by Google Chrome.
However, it is still possible to use Silverlight in the Google Chrome web browser. You will need to install a browser extension for this. The IE Tab browser extension allows you to use Silverlight in Chrome, and not only Silverlight but also Java, Active X, and the SharePoint plug-in.
Click on “add to chrome” and then on “add extension”. The IE tab extension for Google Chrome is now installed in Google Chrome.
The IE tab browser extension now asks you to install an ietabhelper executable. This ietabhelper file is needed to display Internet Explorer in Google Chrome. Click on the file it will be installed automatically.
In the navigation bar of the rendered Internet Explorer in Google Chrome, you now go to https://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/iis-smooth-streaming/demo/
You are now asked if you want to install Silverlight on your computer. Download and install Silverlight on your computer. After that, the Silverlight plug-in will be available for use in Google Chrome.
To change the options of the IE tab extension to Chrome, right-click on the IE Tab extension in the upper right corner of the Chrome menu on the extension.
Then select Options from the menu to change the settings for the IE tab extension. You can also remove the IE Tab extension this way by clicking Remove from Chrome.
How to enable Silverlight for Firefox
Unfortunately, after version 56 of Firefox, it is no longer possible to install Silverlight in Firefox. In version 56 there was still a method to activate NPAPI plug-ins, but this method does not work anymore.
The only way you can still install Silverlight in Firefox is to install an older version of Firefox on your PC. After that, you will need to disable automatic updates in Firefox. An older version of Firefox can be downloaded here. This is not recommended, use Google Chrome instead.
How to enable Silverlight for Safari
You can install Silverlight for Safari version 11 by going to the following web page, https://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/iis-smooth-streaming/demo/ and clicking Install Microsoft Silverlight.
Download Silverlight to your Mac and install Silverlight by following the installation process. Then click on Safari in the top left menu and select Preferences from the menu. Open the Websites tab and in Plug-ins activate Silverlight for the desired web page.
Silverlight for Safari 12 (Mac Mojave 10.14)
In Safari version 12, for Mac Mojave 10.14 you will notice that the Silverlight plug-in is not available. It is, unfortunately, waiting until Microsoft provides support for Silverlight in Safari 12 until then you can best use Google Chrome and the IE tab plugin.
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