YouTube HTML5 Videos won’t play in Internet Explorer 11 – FIXED!

I am the CIO for a mid-size company that has around 1000 computers running Windows 7 and Windows 10.

As of this writing, we use Internet Explorer 11 for everything. This is for multiple reasons. 1) We are required to deal with the state and federal agencies a lot. They still have many outdated systems that only work with IE. 2) I don’t want to add the burden of supporting multiple browsers. We are considering moving to Chrome with their Chrome for Business. They have a full suite of GPO controls that will give us the same level of control that we have over IE. But, that hasn’t happened yet.

We’ve had a constant problem with YouTube HTML5 videos playing in Internet Explorer. The pages loads, all of the video thumbnails load, but the player just shows the spinning wheel of death. We tried to ignore it for a while, but it has become a much bigger problem, so I decided to dig in.

I’ve spent hours troubleshooting how to get HTML5 video playing within Internet Explorer 11 under windows 7 and windows 10. With all the searching on google, there was no clear answer.

Here’s a description of our setup.

  • All computers are running Windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Pro
  • All computers are members of a Windows domain
  • All computers are behind an ASA firewall
  • All users have unrestricted access to youtube.com
  • System settings are managed by Group Policy Objects (GPO)

We could make it work by doing the following steps:

  1. Open IE
  2. Open Internet Options
  3. Click on Advanced Tab
  4. Click on Reset…
  5. Click on Reset again.

These steps set the browser back to defaults and it would work. But as soon as GPO updates or you do a GPUPDATE /FORCE it would not work again.

Thinking it was related to the GPO settings, I did all the typical troubleshooting steps and followed many pieces of advice from all over the internet, but I couldn’t get it to work. I inspected every detail of the security settings in our trusted sites and I checked the settings under the advanced tab of IE. I did comparisons before & after GPO on multiple computers. Any setting that I changed made no difference.

So, then I turned to the inspector within IE and watched the traffic. It took me a while, but I noticed that the HTML5 videos were attempting to stream from googlevideo.com. That link redirects to https://www.google.com/videohp.

So, as a test, I added the googlevideo.com and google.com sites to our trusted sites list.

That fixed it. After all the hours I spent, the googlevideo.com site needed to be trusted.

After a day, all systems have received the GPO updates and the new trusted sites list. Everyone that I’ve checked with can now see HTML5 videos on youtube.

I hope this helps someone out there that is struggling with the same issue.

Please share with your friends!

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