How to install 8.1 Pro Media Center on new PC?

How to install 8.1 Pro Media Center on new PC?

Post#1 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:33 pm

Building out a new low power (low heat!) HTPC to replace my 2010 era i3 turd. I read Win 7 MC will go end of life around 2020, and Win 8 will follow in 2023. If I purchase a Win 8.1 Pro disk on eBay, can I use the Media Pack key for Win 8 that I got from MS a couple of years ago? I am not sure if I need to BUY 8, install the key, THEN upgrade free to 8.1, or if I can just straight clean install 8.1 Pro and add the old 8 key.

Thanks!

Paul Anderegg
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Post#2 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:55 am

How bought this idea...

Throw some 7 on there with activation, take the free upgrade to 10

Then take the free WMC v12

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/61061-DISCUSSION-Patch-WMC-to-run-on-Windows-10-final-amp-possible-alternatives/page84?p=1200602&viewfull=1#post1200602

Read the first 30-40 pages, and the Readme and Workaround in the WMCv12 installation folder, before you get started.
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Post#3 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:47 am

Crash2009 wrote:How bought this idea...

Throw some 7 on there with activation, take the free upgrade to 10

Then take the free WMC v12

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/61061-DISCUSSION-Patch-WMC-to-run-on-Windows-10-final-amp-possible-alternatives/page84?p=1200602&viewfull=1#post1200602

Read the first 30-40 pages, and the Readme and Workaround in the WMCv12 installation folder, before you get started.


Being as I am building a new PC next to the existing one, I really am interested in alternatives at this point. The guide and remote control are the two biggest reasons i want to stick with Media Center, I have not found a TiVo or Cox alternative I can live with. Fortunately, I have a spare Ceton InfiniTV4 card as well, and MS gives you 30 days to play with fresh installs before requiring activation. :-)

Paul
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Post#4 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:00 am

Go fresh 10 then, with WMC v12. Why jump through all the hoops involved with 8.1

Remote, Guide, and DRM are all working. A few extra steps are required for a working Xbox360.
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Post#5 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:39 am

Paul Anderegg wrote:Building out a new low power (low heat!) HTPC to replace my 2010 era i3 turd. I read Win 7 MC will go end of life around 2020, and Win 8 will follow in 2023. If I purchase a Win 8.1 Pro disk on eBay, can I use the Media Pack key for Win 8 that I got from MS a couple of years ago? I am not sure if I need to BUY 8, install the key, THEN upgrade free to 8.1, or if I can just straight clean install 8.1 Pro and add the old 8 key.

Thanks!

Paul Anderegg


One thing to keep in mind, Windows 7 Media Center and Windows 8 media center are the same thing. The only thing they are keeping active is the guide on it. The same guide data they are using on the Xbox one.

I would almost bet when WIndows 7 WMC dies, so does 8.1's as well. So holding tight as it might last for another 3 years, is all a maybe thing.

If your building a dedicated box, WIndows 7 is the better one to do it. Also if your on 8, just install the v12 of the Windows 10 for WMC package, same version it came out of 8.1 and was modded to work on 8 or 10...
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Post#6 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:48 am

Ya, sooooooo, that WMC v12 thing doesn't work on my Windows 10 PC. It installs, but attempting to open Windows Media Center "app" results in nothing happening...........God forbid I need to actually get my Ceton and Cox Tuning Adaptor functioning with that state, I have huge hassles just getting off the shelf Win 7 MCE to work with InfiniTV4. :(

I am looking for the OEM solution here, no hassles till 2023..........my "TV" is a leisure device, not a gaming console, I am not interested in battling with it or having interesting new challenges on specific Tuesdays each month. :-)

The original Q still stands.

Paul
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Post#7 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:26 pm

Paul,
If you purchased a key for WMC 8.1 and never activated it, it should in theory still work.
If you took advantage of the "free" promotional offer from MS that offered a free WMC key when windows 8.0 first came out it will not activate. It had to be activated by a certain date.
I had three of the promotional Windows 8.0 keys for WMC that will not activate now (I tried).

If you purchased a WMC key for Windows 8.1 when they were still available it should still work afaik..
I believe if you buy Win 8.1 and clean install/ activate using the Win 8.1 key then upgrade to the WMC pack with the WMC pack key.. it should be fine. The WMC key should be tied to your system hardware.. as long as that hasn't changed it should (I think) activate ok. It may require calling into MS to get it working or it could just activate and work fine.. But I don't see why it wouldn't work with one option or the other.
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Post#8 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:16 am

Paul Anderegg wrote:Ya, sooooooo, that WMC v12 thing doesn't work on my Windows 10 PC. It installs, but attempting to open Windows Media Center "app" results in nothing happening...........God forbid I need to actually get my Ceton and Cox Tuning Adaptor functioning with that state, I have huge hassles just getting off the shelf Win 7 MCE to work with InfiniTV4. :(

I am looking for the OEM solution here, no hassles till 2023..........my "TV" is a leisure device, not a gaming console, I am not interested in battling with it or having interesting new challenges on specific Tuesdays each month. :-)

The original Q still stands.

Paul


If this helps any bit, I use a InfiniTV6 with a shared tuner in WMC on Windows 10 using the 8.1 driver with no problems at all. So you shouldn't have any issues with your InfiniTV4 under Windows 10

If you have a LEGAL key for Windows 8.1 with Media Center, then go to control panel and then "any time upgrade" when you go there, enter your key. If you only got the Free Key from Microsoft in a email and NEVER activated it, it's worthless. You will NEED to install 8.0 or 8.1 and then use ANYTIME upgrade to put in your KEY for Windows Media Center. You do need a VALID Windows 8/81 license and a Windows 8.1 Pro W/Windows Media Center KEY to use it.

Finding a license to upgrade 8.1 to 8.1 Pro with Media Center is getting harder and harder. People are still looking for it, and don't even see any on ebay right now.

Best suggestion...Install Windows 7, install SP1 but, ONLY updates that apply to Media Center AFTER SP1, then 100% disable updates. Put a script in your scheduled tasks to Reboot your computer once a week at a late hour where no one will be watching or nothing will be recording (2-4am type thing). Once you have it setup, tuners, channel lineup and recordings tested etc, BACK IT UP. And you will have a solid as a rock HTPC, with very little if ANY issues with recording (on a general note).

I did this exact thing, Windows 7 for me is 100% rock solid, No issues at all, I run WMC on Windows 7 at 4K @60hz, Run full Blu-ray rips in the movie library with FULL DTS-HD Master or Dolby Digital TruHD master sound tracks with FULL rips not compressed with 4 Extenders.

FLAWLESS machine, no issue, no blu-screens, No lockups and I bet it will go past 2023, or a 3rd party option to add Guide data will work.

Here is something to keep in mind if your looking for a ROCK solid Windows Media Center machine. Windows Media Center was DESIGNED for WIndows 7 and with WIndows 7 in mind when it was built, It was PATCHED to run on Windows 8.1. In fact they removed some settings from the 8.1 version.

If you want the ultimate Windows Media Center machine, Windows 7 should be your choice.
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Post#9 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:33 am

I own both. WMC on win 7 pro 64 bit (running on z77 chipset/ivybridge cpu Hd4000 graphics)
and WMC on win 8.1 pro 64 bit (running on z97 chipset/broadwell dt/Iris Pro 6200 graphics)

WMC on win 8.1 pro has been handicapped for media extenders.
Only xbox 360 models will work. I have an old Linksys dma-2200 media extender (circa 2008) working
with WMC 7 pro 64 bit plus another xbox 360. I have not tried connecting the xbox 360 to the new
win 8.1 box. I think I'm just going to use WMC 8.1 pro as a standalone dvr for the BR.

The Linksys is a bit buggy, but I've managed to make it work. (it does require frequent power on resets)
The one cool thing about the Linksys media extender.. it has analog component video outputs.. and a
SP/DIF optical audo jack. Perfect for connecting up to a Hauppauge DVR capture device... I also have an
HDfury iii video dongle that kinda does the same thing.. it had eide profile to allow hdmi handshake.. then
it converts output to analog component video / optical sp/dif jack for audio. it works pretty good for endcoding
dvr recordings to h.264 container files. I use a denon avr-5308ci receiver for audio lipsync correction ...



The xbox 360 is more stable as a media extender but uses a lot of power and generates a fair amount of heat.
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Post#10 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:44 am

i tried to re-install win 8 with WMC on a new hard drive. I was having problems ( random crashing) so I thought a clean install would be good. WMC would not activate and you can't get MS to answer a phone to help resolve. Seems I am stuck with what I have and try to figure out what is crashing the system or roll back to Windows 7. MS is so aggravating. They really want us to stop using WMC!
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Post#11 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:03 pm

Somewhat old post but I thought I'd chime in on my (recent) experience - I had purchased win 8 pro, and got the FREE LEGAL upgrade that included media center (from Microsoft) - Well over the years my install while it worked, wasn't perfect. I tried to fresh install my 8 - which worked fine, and activated. then adding the upgrade key, it would no longer be licensed... Seems that Microsoft will not allow this key to be used to activate a new install ... And ALL of us that have this key have the exact same key ...

So what I did was purchased a windows 8 (not 8.1) pro pack upgrade on eBay (paid $70 for it) - installed 8.1 by using Microsoft's media creation tool - Activated that install with my 8.0 key (which worked fine :) ) - and then added the newly purchased 8.0 pro pack key - it worked fine .. Added media center functions and activated.

Could I have just used the pro pack key on install? I don't know - maybe? FWIW the 8.0 pro pack key on eBay was at least 30% cheaper than the 8.1 pro pack key, and it's the same thing :)

So I now have a fresh install of win 8.1 and all the latest (and are probably last versions of my add-ins)
DVRMStoolbox and DTBAddin (early adopter version)
Channel logos XL
MCE Reset Toolbox
MCE backup
Recorded TV HD

Sadly recorded TVHDs commercial skip display STILL seems to be a hit and miss affair on weather it will or wont work. but now I know I can reinstall my 8.x WMC whenever I need to.
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Post#12 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:10 am

ThePaladinTech wrote:Somewhat old post but I thought I'd chime in on my (recent) experience - I had purchased win 8 pro, and got the FREE LEGAL upgrade that included media center (from Microsoft) - Well over the years my install while it worked, wasn't perfect. I tried to fresh install my 8 - which worked fine, and activated. then adding the upgrade key, it would no longer be licensed... Seems that Microsoft will not allow this key to be used to activate a new install ... And ALL of us that have this key have the exact same key ...



Thanks for posting this, as I was contemplating reinstalling my OS plus Media Center on new hardware. Just to clarify: you can install Windows 8.1 Pro and then use the Windows 8 Pro Pack to add Media Center, right? How do you do it? Just through adding additional Windows features from the control panel? Thanks.
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Post#13 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:12 pm

How I did was by creating the 8.1 install media usb key. I installed the software and activated it with my windows 8 license, then from "add features" I selected
"I already have a key" and entered my 8.0 pro pack key.
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Post#14 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:42 pm

You could also find a ISO with 8.1 with WMC, put a dummy key in there for install, when you fully install, got into Control pannel> system and change your key to your retail key (media pack key). This would be the best way to do a full install with WMC clean.

You could ALSO, Install 8.1, download the v12 WMC for Windows 10, and install it on 8.1, the files were ripped from 8.1 and still work. A few hacks are enabled on T-S's copy so it might be usefull on 8.1...

for people thinking about doing Windows 10 Media center, I would personally avoid it, after the Annversery update, it broke Ceton tuners and with other udpates WMC just goes away. If your looking for a dependable machine and still use Windows Updates, WIndows 7 or 8.1 should be your only choice right now.

Of course you can disable updates on 10 but, not being secure is not always the best (I personally disable all updates on my dedicated HTPC).
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Post#15 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:58 am

I recently performed a clean install of Win 8.1 64 and used Belarc Advisor to recover my media center key before formatting. I activated windows 8.1 during install, went to "add windows features" and entered the media center key I recovered from belarc (original windows key is overwritten) and media center installed fine. It feels like a new computer again also...
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