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William George (Product Development)

Windows Media Center running on Windows 10

Written on October 2, 2015 by William George

Good news for the HTPC crowd!

A kindly soul on a web chat I was on recently pointed out that some ingenious folks have gotten Windows Media Center pulled off of Windows 8.1 and installable on Windows 10. Those accustomed to using Media Center are probably aware that Microsoft stopped developing it after Windows 7, and while it was an optional add-on for 8 / 8.1 it is completely lacking from any version of Windows 10. However, it appears that was just a choice by Microsoft and not due to any sort of technical limitation or incompatibility.

I tested the Media Center installation on one of my systems at home, which I had upgraded to Windows 10 shortly after its release. I no longer use a TV tuner / cable TV service, so I cannot test out the TV viewing and recording side of things - but the rest of it seems to work as it did on earlier versions of Windows. I also tested it on my workstation here at the office, which has a clean installation of Windows 10, and it works here too. And since a picture is worth a thousand words:

Windows Media Center running on Windows 10

Now before I link to the info about how to install Media Center on Windows 10, I should point out two things:

  • I am not sure what the legality of this is, in Microsoft’s eyes. I would not be surprised if they frowned on it or if it somehow goes against their licensing terms somewhere, but I am not aware of anything specific like that. Further, since they offer no way to purchase or obtain it officially I don’t feel too bad about using this myself and at least letting others know about it.
  • This add-on includes installing software from a relatively unknown source. This is generally a risky thing, and should be taken with a grain of salt. It is entirely possible that someone could include malware in a package like this, or that the installation could go sideways and hose up an otherwise good Windows installation. As such I would highly recommend backing up your computer before installing it, and only installing it if you absolutely need Media Center functionality.

With that said, here is the page with download links and installation instructions:


If anyone tries this and has comments for the community, please leave them in the discussion section below. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I no longer have cable TV service at home - so if you run into tuning issues I can’t really help. Good luck :)

Tags: Windows 10, Media Center, HTPC

I installed Plex server on my Synology and haven't missed media center since. Works great on my iPad and Roku as well for my media library. ;-)

Posted on 2015-10-05 04:08:49

I second Plex server. Simple and works out of the box. If you want to go crazy, it will do crazy quite well too.

Posted on 2015-10-15 16:10:13

Plex is great as a media server, but as far as I am aware it can't handle TV recording. I dabbled with it a little myself, and it also didn't like the format my movies are stored in. For what it works with, though, it does well :)

Posted on 2015-10-15 18:17:40

It handles TV episodes very well, almost in a Netflix like fashion with the ability to sort through seasons and episodes. You need to put them in the correct folder and file name pattern though for it to pick up on that. https://support.plex.tv/hc/...

As for format, I usually use .mkv to retain subtitles, chapters, and DTS HD Master audio. I also include a stereo mixdown track at the same time with HandBrake to stream to iPads, etc. without much strain on the Synology for transcoding.

Posted on 2015-10-18 01:25:02
Kevin Rush AIA CSI ALA

Plex doesn't have cablecard tuner support and requires time spent converting files. This is what Plex fans always forget. These are not issues for current Windows Media Center users with a cablecard tuner. It's no work. How do Plex fans record HBO and copy protected DRM cable TV. I think maybe Plex fans get their media elsewhere and then spend time converting it.

Posted on 2015-11-04 00:08:41

I don't have cable or satellite TV here, so mostly I have to rip my own DVDs. But, just as an MP3 library is more convenient for me than flipping through my CD collection, Plex is more convenient than finding a DVD for a particular episode of StarGate, etc.

Posted on 2015-11-04 01:19:26

As a replacement for Windows Media Center I just want something to watch video files and listen to audio files, so I use the free Media Player Classic Home Cinema (https://mpc-hc.org).

Posted on 2015-12-27 05:32:48