I have an IIS 6.1 website on a local Windows 7 32-bit machine that serves HTML and MP4 videos through Internet Explorer all on the local machine. An internet connection is not required as this is all local storage and local hosting via IIS. IIS is configured to serve the MP4 videos as downloadable files, not streaming in any way. I do have the proper MIME type ".mp4" with "video/mp4" setup in the IIS server, so I do not believe that is the problem.

When the machine is connected to the internet, clicking an MP4 video link in any HTML page served by the local IIS server results in Windows Media Player opening up and playing the video in its own window. However, when the Ethernet cable is unplugged, clicking the same MP4 video link results in Windows Media Player opening its own window, then displaying this error message:

Windows Media Player cannot play the file. If the file is located on the Internet, connect to the Internet. If the file is located on a removable storage card, insert the storage card.

It is almost as if Windows Media Player has a bug and since it is accessing this media file via a URL but the machine is not connected to a network, it thinks this file is unplayable.

When the Ethernet cable is disconnected, the local IIS server still serves all the HTML and ActiveX content except for media files. I also tried to access MP3 and WMV files through the IIS server to see if Windows Media Player would open those when the machine is disconnected from the Internet. Those files also caused Windows Media Player to display the same error message.

I tested VLC player (VideoLAN) after changing file extension ownership to VLC from WMP for .mp4 files. With VLC installed and extension ownership changed to VLS, I can download/open the MP4 video using the link in the web page served by IIS all while disconnected from the internet. The only thing I cannot do is get VLC player to open up and play the video simply by clicking the link in the Internet explorer web pages served up by the local IIS server.

I would like to make use of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player with this IIS server serving MP4 videos rather than use VLC player.


Michael Rayman


The issue is likely due to Windows 10 Digital Rights Management, which checks the web to see if you're allowed to play a given file. You can turn off DRM. To check if the file is DRM protected:

  1. Open Windows Explorer to the file location.
  2. Right-click on the column header and add the field Protected. The value is displayed as Yes or No.

See TechniPages on other ways to check for DRM.

GeeksToGo suggests using Regedit to disable DRM by setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WMD RM\DisableOnline to 0. You might try the converse, setting it to 1, to prevent checking DRM.

  • Hey, thanks for responding really quick like that. Well, none of my videos say "Yes" in the "Protected" column and I checked for that key in the registry and it does not even exist. Just to try it, I did create it and tried it set to both 0 and 1. I was careful to restart IIS server, and close then re-open Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player between changes. Nothing solved the problem. – user616943 Jul 14 '16 at 17:22

I finally figured out the answer to my problem:

While disconnected from the internet, mysteriously, Windows Media Player 12 requires that you check a checkbox in the Tools > Options... > Player tab settings area called "Connect to the Internet (overrides other commands)". Once this is checked and settings saved with APPLY, then Windows Media Player 12 will play videos served through the local IIS webserver on the same machine, while disconnected from the Internet.

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