How to fix Netflix DRM Error N8156 (it is a Silverlight problem)

We recently had a problem with Netflix streaming. The problem occurred whether trying to use Windows Media Center or in a web browser (like Internet Explorer or Firefox). We could view our queue and everything, but when trying to play a streaming movie, the error message below would appear. Solutions for Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP and Mac are all shown below.

Netflix DRM Error N8156-6013

Digital Rights Management (DRM) Error
Error Code: N8156-6013

We’re sorry, but there is a problem playing protected (DRM) content.

The date on your computer is set to 4/6/2011, which may be incorrect. Please correct the date on your computer and try again.

If the problem persists, please call Netflix at 1-866-579-7113.

The problem, it turns out, has nothing to do with the date on your computer. The problem is with Microsoft Silverlight, the software that is used for the actual video streaming within Netflix. Scroll down or click the links below to go the instructions specific for your operating system.
Windows 8 instructions
Windows 7 instructions
Windows XP / Vista instructions instructions
Mac instructions


Windows 8
Here are the steps to take to fix the problem:

  1. Exit out of Netflix (from both your web browser and from Windows Media Center).
  2. Browse on your computer to “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady\”.
  3. Change the name of “mspr.hds” to “mspr.hds.old”. (In other words, you want to get rid of the mspr.hds file, and you are renaming it just so that you have a backup copy of it.)
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. Open Internet Explorer and go to the Netflix website, log in, and start playing a streaming movie from their website (it should successfully work here now).
  6. Now you can go into Windows Media Center / standalone app to stream you movies again!
  7. If you have more than one computer with the Netflix problem, then repeat this procedure for each of the afflicted computers.

Apparently the problem occurs when Silverlight is updated to a new version (e.g., from version 3 to 4) and some of the old version’s things are left behind in the file you renamed, which breaks the new version. When you rename the “mspr.hds” file, it lets Silverlight re-create the file from scratch.

If the steps above do not fix the problem for you, then try this: close all of your internet browsers and the software that you use to watch Netflix, and then uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Silverlight and/or the Netflix app.


Windows 7
Here are the steps to take to fix the problem:

  1. Exit out of Netflix (from both your web browser and from Windows Media Center).
  2. Browse on your computer to “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady\”.
  3. Change the name of “mspr.hds” to “mspr.hds.old”. (In other words, you want to get rid of the mspr.hds file, and you are renaming it just so that you have a backup copy of it.)
  4. Open Internet Explorer and go to the Netflix website, log in, and start playing a streaming movie from their website (it should successfully work here now).
  5. Now you can go into Windows Media Center to stream you movies again!
  6. If you have more than one computer with the Netflix problem, then repeat this procedure for each of the afflicted computers.

Apparently the problem occurs when Silverlight is updated to a new version (e.g., from version 3 to 4) and some of the old version’s things are left behind in the file you renamed, which breaks the new version. When you rename the “mspr.hds” file, it lets Silverlight re-create the file from scratch.

If the steps above do not fix the problem for you, then try this: close all of your internet browsers and the software that you use to watch Netflix, and then uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Silverlight (thanks for the tip, Josh).


UPDATE:

Windows XP (and apparently for Windows Vista, too – thanks for your comment greengeekgirl)

Larry (see comments below) asked how to do this for Windows XP. The same file exists in Windows XP, but it is in a different location and it may not show up if “system files” are hidden. Here is the location in Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds

If you are using Windows XP, but cannot see this file, then you can try two things. First thing to try: open “My Computer” and try to copy/paste the path above into the address bar and press <Enter>. If the file still doesn’t show up, then you may need to try the second step, which is enabling the visibility of system files by doing the following:

  • Click the “Tools” menu item and select “Folder Options”.
  • On the window that pops up click on the “View” tab.
  • In the “Advanced settings” area, scroll down and deselect “Hide protected operating system files” (it will ask you if you really want to do this, so respond with “yes”).
  • Now go to the path “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds” and you will find the file. (Then follow steps 3 – 5 in the “Windows 7” section above.)

If it still doesn’t work for you with Windows XP, then (thanks to adarba’s comment) you can try also looking for the file here:
C:/Documents and Settings/All Users/DRM

If this still does not fix the problem for you, then try this: close all of your internet browsers and the software that you use to watch Netflix, and then uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Silverlight (thanks for the tip, Josh).


UPDATE (again):

Mac

If you are having the same problem on a Mac, then follow the instructions at this website: http://www.docstechnotes.com/2011/04/fix-netflix-error-code-8156-6013-on-mac.html. You basically do the same thing as I’ve described above, except that on a Mac the location to delete the “mspr.hds” file is at:
/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/PlayReady/mspr.hds

And likewise, if you don’t see the file or the folder, then it is because it is “hidden” and you need to make it visible first or browse to it from a terminal (per the Doc’s Tech Notes website instructions).

If you are using a Mac and these steps didn’t work for you or you still have questions, go check out the comments section under Doc’s post, where there are several other useful tips.

If steps above do not fix the problem for you, then try this: close all of your internet browsers and the software that you use to watch Netflix, and then uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Silverlight (thanks for the tip, Josh).

I hope that helps!

155 thoughts on “How to fix Netflix DRM Error N8156 (it is a Silverlight problem)”

  1. I was having this issue. I could run Netflix in any browser if I opened the browser as administrator, but not otherwise. This is on an Administrator user account in Windows 7.

    What finally worked for me was to change the permissions on the folder:
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady

    Right click on the folder, choose Properties, then the Security tab. Find the “Users” group in the list and give the that user Full Control. I deleted the file mspr.hds for good measure. Now all is well. I can open my browser normally and watch Netflix.

  2. Thank you! I’ve reinstalled Silverlight twice, but it didn’t solve it… Then I did the “Change the name of “mspr.hds” to “mspr.hds.old”.” and it works great!

  3. Gracias Mike !! ahora surge otro problema la resolución de pantalla no es optima no puedo leer los subtitulos ni poner la función fullscrean, que puedo hacer ? esto siempre con Netflix..
    Gracias

  4. I use windows XP and i found the file mspr.hds and renamed it; but when i rename it my system just makes another mspr.hds file. Which i assume is why my netflix still doesnt work. Im not sure if this was already asked before? but any help would be appreciated.

  5. THANK YOU!! I nearly had a heart attack this morning thinking I couldn’t show a movie I had planned for my class. Much appreciated 🙂

  6. I am having this issue right now and all i have to say is im super amazed because it works for everyone else but me. I have windows 7 but some problems occured when i was following your instructions. i went into the c drive and found the microsoft folder but it failed to have playready in it, so we dont have playready apparently, but i do have windows media center. I find it odd tht i can not find any files or anything that match what i was supposed to rename. So this did not work for me. Its my moms account but my computer is different than everyone elses. thy have apple computer. But i guess it just wasnt meant to be anymore. DX

  7. Same problem in windows 8.1
    I tried deleting silverlight and reinstalling but no help.
    I searched for mspr.hds, found and remaned but still have problem, any thing for win8.1

  8. omg omg omg thank you!!! FINALLY!! i reinstalled silverlight, (opened firefox as admin before and after), changed playready file name (added .old) and logged back into netflix, and freakin VI-OLA!!! YAAAYYY!! 🙂 im on a laptop, have vista, and now all is well. happy holidays to you!!! 🙂

  9. omg omg omg thank you!!! FINALLY!! i reinstalled silverlight, (opened firefox as admin before and after), changed playready file name (added .old) and logged back into netflix, and freakin VI-OLA!!! YAAAYYY!! 🙂 im on a laptop, have vista, and now all is well. happy holidays to you!!! 🙂

    ps- i think the problem started when i used slimcleaner and accidentally deleted my DRM cache. duh me.

  10. Thanks so much this has saved me so much time. I just built a new computer and wanted to relax with netflix and it wouldnt work. I spent three hours looking for solutions and you saved my life thanks again.

  11. Win 7 default permissions for PlayReady folder is

    users – full control
    authenticated users – full control
    administrators -full controll
    system – full control

    apply to folders subfolders and files

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