Microsoft Silverlight 5 Available

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 10, 2011
Updated • Dec 10, 2011

Microsoft has released a new version of Silverlight, a technology for creating interactive web and mobile applications. It is in many regards Microsoft's answer to Adobe's Flash technology. There have been rumors for quite some time now that Microsoft would stop Silverlight development as it was never really able to break Flash's dominance on the world wide web.

Silverlight 5 now could be the last version of the technology that gets released. The new version is available for download for all support platforms (all Windows operating systems from Windows XP SP3 and higher and Intel based Mac OS X 10.5.7 or higher) and web browsers (Internet Explorer 6 and higher, Firefox 3.6 and higher, Safari 4 and higher, Google Chrome 12 and higher). Opera is not listed on the compatibility page even though it is compatible with Silverlight. Other browsers may also be compatible even though they are not listed.

Visit the Silverlight getting started page for information about the installed Silverlight installation on your system, the system requirement chart, instructions on how to uninstall Silverlight and download links pointing to the latest version of the application.

Users can download and install the new version of Silverlight. Browsers that are open during installation need to be closed and reopened before they recognize the new plugin version automatically.

So what is new in Silverlight 5? The announcement over at the Silverlight blog highlights the following changes:

New features in Silverlight 5 include Hardware Decode of H.264 media, which provides a significant performance improvement with decoding of unprotected content using the GPU; Postscript Vector Printing to improve output quality and file size; and an improved graphics stack with 3D support that uses the XNA API on the Windows platform to gain low-level access to the GPU for drawing vertex shaders and low-level 3D primitives.

In addition, Silverlight 5 extends the ‘Trusted Application’ model to the browser for the first time. These features, when enabled via a group policy registry key and an application certificate, mean users won’t need to leave the browser to perform complex tasks such as multiple window support, full trust support in browser including COM and file system access, in browser HTML hosting within Silverlight, and P/Invoke support for existing native code to be run directly from Silverlight.

Here is a video highlighting new features and changes in Silverlight 5.

Additional information about Silverlight are available at the official website over at Microsoft. (via Mike)


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  1. flux said on August 1, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I don’t understand. How can Microsoft Silverlight (64-bit) Version: 5.1.10411.0 operate in Firefox 14.0.1, a 32-bit browser and within plugin-container.exe also running as a 32-bit process? How can a 32-bit plugin container contain a 64-bit plugin? Silverlight 64-bit does work in Netflix under Firefox with this very configuration. o.O Isn’t this defeating the purpose of 64-bit Silverlight and/or negating any advantages of 64-bit operating systems and CPU’s?

  2. ilev said on December 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Uninstalled version 4 and installed version 5 (downloaded the file with Chrome), Firefox plugin hasn’t been installed.

  3. Paul(us) said on December 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks Swapnil, That makes sense to me.

  4. Paul(us) said on December 11, 2011 at 12:39 am

    No, Howard the 64 bit Ms Silverlight version .exe file works for MS-IE-64-Bit the MS-IE-32 bit and also for the Firefox 32-bit version.

    1. Swapnil said on December 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

      I am not Martin, but hope my reply does make sense.
      Performance differences between Silverlight 64-bit and 32-bit?

      64-bit Silverlight would most probably have better memory utilization and for 64-bit Silverlight, Windows would not have to load WOW64 wrapper so yes, 64-bit Silverlight should perform significantly* better than 32-bit Silverlight.

      *Significantly does not mean a really huge performance improvement. It means performance improvements would be considerable. Somewhere around 10-20% performance improvement.

  5. Paul(us) said on December 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    To be shore that the new version worked correctly I have uninstalled the old MS silverlight 4 version first with Revo uninstaller and the run the Auslogic reg. cleaner.

    I have a question to you Martin about the MS Silverlight 64 bit version who I have installed on main win7 64-bit system. Do you think there is a any (or maybe significant) performance difference with the 32 bit version? And if so what are the points that I can see those enhancements.

    1. Howard Pearce said on December 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      This is only for 64bit browsers, isn’t it ?

  6. ilev said on December 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t understand the need for a new Silverlight 5 version (with support, according to Microsoft, until 2021). It was a dead platform from day 1 and if look for web sites/services, other than Microsoft’s that support Silverlight, you won’t find more then 100 (out of 350+ million sites).

    Regarding the getting started link. The site deals only with xp, vista, mac, IE, Firefox. There is no Windows 7 or Chrome or Safari…

    Microsoft’s programmers are so dumb that they can’t uninstall automatically previous versions of Silverlight during new version installation and the user has to uninstall Silverlight manually ?

  7. Rick said on December 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Great … fantanstic…wonderful

    Up to version 5 before 4 was working sans bugs

    Neflix (their largest vendor driving Silverlight) by far) were recommending people use version 3 just days ago because of problems on 4.

    I wonder what they think about 5?

  8. Mike J said on December 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I disabled Silverlight in Firefox a couple months ago and have not been able to tell the difference.

  9. Howard Pearce said on December 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Installation fails saying I already have the version isnatlled even tho that is a version 4 … according to the program files folder

  10. Swapnil said on December 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    “The new version is available for download for all support platforms (all Windows operating systems from Windows XP SP2 and higher and Intel based Mac OS X 10.5.7 or higher)”

    Wait a minute. This is wrong. Windows XP SP2 isn’t compatible with Silverlight 5. Only Windows XP SP3 is. Microsoft forgot to update the system requirements correctly.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 10, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      It felt kinda strange I have to admit. Will make a correction to the article. Thanks

  11. Swapnil said on December 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    “Opera is not listed on the compatibility page even though it is compatible with Silverlight.”

    Yup. Masking/Identifying as Firefox will display ‘Installation status’ just fine.

  12. Jakim said on December 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Why put a video that uses Flash to talk about Silverlight?

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