QuickTime 7.6.6 for Windows was released in March 2010. The free version can playback all major audio and video formats, including H.264/MPEG-4 advanced video coding.
QuickTime is an essential piece of software for Windows, especially for streaming audio and video. This article will show you how to update, properly set up and use shortcuts for QuickTime. Finally, for those of you who don’t fancy installing Apple software and the strings attached, I introduce a lightweight alternative.
1. Download QuickTime
You can download QuickTime directly from Apple, either as a standalone application or in a bundle with iTunes. Note that you do not have to share your email address to access the download file! Simply remove the checkmark for the Apple news sign-up and you’re good to go.
2. Update QuickTime
If you’re already running QuickTime, be sure to check whether you have the latest version installed.
In case you have iTunes installed, you can simply let the Apple Software Update program search and install updates for you. You will find the tool under > Start > All Programs > Apple Software Update. Usually, it will remind you of available updates automatically.
Otherwise, open your QuickTime Player and go to > Help > Check for QuickTime Updates… and let the menu do its magic.
To simply check for your version, open your QuickTime Player and navigate to > Help > About QuickTime Player… This will open a little window revealing the software version.
QuickTime is currently on version 7.6.6. The latest version of the iTunes + QuickTime bundle is 9.1.1.
3. QuickTime Preferences
QuickTime comes with several defaults that you may not enjoy. Fortunately, you can revert them easily. Here is a quick reference list.
QuickTime shortcuts on desktop or quick launch bar
It is safe to remove any shortcuts the installer created.
QuickTime icon in system tray
You can easily remove this one, too. Open the QuickTime Player, then go to > Edit > Preferences > QuickTime Preferences. Switch to the > Advanced tab. At the bottom, remove the checkmark for > Install QuickTime icon in system tray.
If you removed the QuickTime system tray icon, you can also disable the qttask.exe, which briefly launches at every startup. This will require you to edit the registry, so proceed at your own risk only! Click > Start > Run, type > regedit and hit > Enter. Within the registry, go to > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Within that key delete the > QuickTime Task value and close the Registry Editor. Finally, open your QuickTime program folder and remove the > qttask.exe.
Under > QuickTime Preferences to go the > Updates tab and check or uncheck the box for > Check for updates automatically, depending on what your preference is. If you allow automatic updates, QuickTime will regularly “phone home”.
In > QuickTime Preferences you can also choose whether or not to automatically playback movies embedded in websites. Navigate to the > Browser tab and check or uncheck the respective box.
QuickTime allows instant-on streaming. This may cause problems when you’re on a slow network connection. You can either go to the > Streaming tab and uncheck > Enable Instant-On or increase the delay with which files are streamed. Furthermore, you can adjust the > Streaming Speed.
Go to > Edit > Preferences > Player Preferences to adjust further settings. For example choose to > Use high quality video setting when available or > Show subtitles when available or to not > Show Content Guide at Startup.
4. QuickTime Keyboard Shortcuts In Windows
Here is a quick reference list covering the ten most common and useful QuickTime keyboard shortcuts.
This will pause and resume playback.
Left / Right Arrow Keys
Using these keys you can fast forward or rewind audio or video files.
[J] or [L] Key + [K] Key
Hitting [J] will play your movie backwards and hitting [L] will fast forward it, both with the sound on. Hitting the keys multiple times will rewind or fast forward at a faster pace. Also try holding down the [K] key while pressing [J] or [L] to rewind or forward frame by frame.
Up / Down Arrow Keys
Adjust the volume.
[CTRL] + [F]
Enter full screen mode.
Exist full screen mode.
[CTRL] + 0
Play movie at half size.
[CTRL] + 1
Play movie at normal size.
[CTRL] + 2
Play movie at double size.
[CTRL] + 3
Play movie at full size.
5. Use A QuickTime Alternative
If you don’t fancy using QuickTime at all, but would still like to view QuickTime movies, I recommend trying QuickTime Alternative. This skinny version of QuickTime contains only the essential components and no bloated features.
The main advantage of QuickTime Alternative is that it doesn’t run processes in the background. Overall, it consumes less system resources.
The package consists of the QuickTime codec libraries extracted from the official distribution. It comes with its own player, Media Player Classic, and provides QuickTime plugins for all major browsers to support streaming audio and video. The latest release is based on QuickTime components version 126.96.36.199. It is available for Windows XP through Windows 7.
A similar package is available for RealPlayer, by the way. More details can be found in Travis’ article Great Alternatives to QuickTime and RealPlayer.
What is your favorite feature of the official QuickTime distribution for Windows? And if you’re using QuickTime on a Mac, what are Windows users missing out on?