How to Open an M4a File

By Ty Arthur

M4a files are an updated version of the hugely popular MP3 format that further compresses files to make them even smaller without sacrificing any sound or picture quality. While the newest versions of Windows Media Player are designed to play M4a files, you may need to install a separate codec file if you are using an older version.

Step 1

Click on the "Start" button located at the lower left end of your computer's desktop. Double click on the "My Computer" icon. Navigate through your computer's folders until you find the M4a file you are trying to open. Double click on the file and wait for a new window to pop up asking what you want to do.

Step 2

Click on the radio box next to the link that says "Select a program from a list of installed programs." Click on "OK" to bring up a list of programs installed on your computer.

Step 3

Click on the link that says "Microsoft Windows Media Player." Make sure that the box at the bottom that says "Always open with this program" has a check mark next to it. Click on the "OK" button. Wait for the Media Player program to open and see if the file plays properly. Close Windows Media Player if the file does not play.

Step 4

Open your web browsing program by double clicking on its corresponding desktop icon. Navigate to a website that offers M4a Codec files (see Resources below). Click on the "Download" link at the website.

Step 5

Navigate to the folder that stores your downloaded files and double click on it. Follow the instructions on the screen to install the codec file. Double click on the M4a file again to play it.

Tips & Warnings

  • The "M4a" and "MP4" files both reflect the same type of file compression, can be opened with the same programs, and can either correspond to audio or video files.

References & Resources