What Is a WMA File?
A file with the WMA file extension is a Windows Media Audio file. Microsoft created this lossy format to compete with MP3, so it's often used for streaming online music.
There are multiple sub-formats of WMA, including WMA Pro, a lossy codec that supports high-res audio; WMA Lossless, a lossless codec that compresses the audio without losing quality; and WMA Voice, a lossy codec meant for applications that support voice playback.
Also developed by Microsoft is the Windows Media Video file format, which uses the WMV extension.
How to Open a WMA File
- Windows Media Player is the best program to use for opening WMA files because it's included in most versions of Windows. However, you can play WMA files in other operating systems with third-party software like VLC, MPC-HC, AllPlayer, MPlayer and Winamp.
- The TwistedWave Online Audio Editor provides a quick way to play a WMA file in your browser if you don't have any of those programs installed to your computer. It works on any operating system.
- If you need to play the file in a program or device (like an iPhone) that doesn't natively support the WMA format, you can just convert it to a different format that is supported, using one of the WMA converters described below.
Still Can't Open Your File?
File formats sometimes use the same or similar file extension letters, and it can be confusing. You might think your file is a WMA file but it could be something that just looks like it has the .WMA file extension.
- For example, WMF (Windows Metafile), WMZ (Compressed Windows Media Player Skin) and WML (Wireless Markup Language) files share some of the same letters as WMA but are in fact not used for the same purpose as this audio file format.
- Some other examples include Windows Media Photo files that use the .WMP file extension, and WAM files (Worms Armageddon Mission). The GarageBand MagicMentor Template file format uses a few of the same letters, too, for .MWAND files.
- If your file doesn't actually end with .WMA, do a search here on Lifewire or Google to find more information about the format and what program is able to open or convert it.
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