Here is how to install Media Center on Windows 10

Microsoft's Windows 10 is a big hit with many users, but not all PC users are happy with the upgrade. The depreciation of Windows Media Center began way back in 2009, but fans of the media add-on have been clinging on to it ever since. Indeed, if you were lucky enough to have Media Center on your PC, the app would uninstall with the Windows 10 upgrade. Instead, users were given a free DVD player as a consolation prize, which hardly makes up for the loss of functionality.

Now, users at the MDL forums have managed to create an all-in-one package to reinstall Windows Media Center on current Windows 10 builds (including 10240 and 10532). The project had been in the works for a few weeks now, but starting a few days ago users could successfully install the center to their PCs. The site Windows Blog Italia wrote up on how easy it is to accomplish and indeed, we were able to successfully install it on our PC with ease.

Install Windows Media Center on Windows 10

Note: Before we start, we should caution you are download files from an unofficial source. As such, you should heed with the utmost caution when installing as this constitutes a security concern. Although there are no known side effects make sure you have your PC backed up just in case.

1. Download

Download and extract WindowsMediaCenter_10.0.10134.0.zip from this address.

2. Run

Right-click on _TestRights.cmd and click Run as administrator

3. Reboot your PC

4. Run 2

Right-click on Installer.cm and click Run as administrator

5. Exit

After the installer runs, click any key to exit

Now, doing a simple search for Media Center reveals the app installed on your PC. You can then pin it to your Start menu or taskbar for quick access. Due to our configuration we have not confirmed how well it runs with a TV signal setup, so your mileage may vary. Otherwise, despite looking like a throwback to Vista, the app runs just fine on our new 2015 Windows 10 machine.

Let us know in comments if Media Center is something you still you use and whether you will be using this workaround!

Source: MDL Forums (registration required); via Windows Blog Italia

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

317 Comments
  • I prefer Kodi
  • Kodi ftw!
  • 1) The problem with Kodi is that it relies on Backends like NextPVR which virtually always fails to give a playable recording. I tried about six or seven times with different backends but most of them either failed totally or gave a recording that ended half way through. Much is made of Kodi but I have found it to be honest, way below what most of the hype created states, 2) Mediaportal also failed dismally as far as recording TV was concerned. I still find that it may be old but WMC reliably records and plays virtually anything you want use successfully. Regards Paul      
  • Kodi does not support cablecard "copyonce" content.  Kind of useless for cable.
  • Kodi can't record encrypted or non-encrypted cable television.
  • Can't rememebr which version it came out with but Kodi now supports multiple PVR backends (argustv, nextpvr, tvheadend...) for recording and playing tv.
  • Yes, you are right there are no other alternatives if want to get rid of your cablebox and watch or record encrypted channels.  I installed it , and it was a complete waste of time.  With this hack, You can't even watch copy-once protected/encrypted channels due to licensing. Funny how people say they are happy its gone and that it's useless.  That's because they like paying their cable company $10-$20 each for cablebox/DVR.   
  • Kodi can't handle live TV. It has to go through something like MythTV which is horrible.
  • You can actually use Media Center as a backend for Kodi - ive done this previously and was the best experience i had of any backend.
  • you must have never used SageTV. :) bought by Google some years ago (for Google Fiber TV) and now recently, made open source.
  • Using an HDHomerun, Kodi can defintely handle live TV. 
  • I cannot get latest KODI to find any channels on HDHomerun addon, yet the HDHr viewer works  
  • I prefer MediaPortal now that I have switched, but I don't have cable. I know some people with cablecard are happy they can keep Media Center on Windows 10.
  • Sorry to ask the dumb question but... if media center is the only thing that can watch and record comcast content then why are so many people happy with alternatives unless they don't care for cable content? in which case... why not just buy any set top box or even better a rasberry pi/intel nuc/really any cutsey small form factor computing device with hdmi out, put the OS of your choosing on it and go STRAIGHT to the web based services web sites? or even better! download the app for netflix, hulu, amazon etc. I am re-working my htpc options as I just bought a new home and no one seems to address this or care that our ONLY alternative to media center for getting cable provider content is GONE with Media Center. I just don't get it.. There are plenty less complex options for accessing local content and or web based content like hbo go, pandora etc. Many options that don't require the administrative overhead and setup headaches etc. roku, western digital hub and streamer devices (could even pair these with a NAS if you have a huge local library like me), if all you care about is local content and web based options. Could it REALLY be the MP gui or the Kodi GUI? I have seem both and neither is so much better than a standard set-top box or a actual computing device to get that content.
  • I use a more or less dedicated old gaming Windows 7 PC that operates as a WMC server with a 3 TB hard drive and to deliver content to a family room 36 inch TV. I have an XBOX 360 WMC Extender driving my living room 40 inch TV. HDHOMERUN PRIME delivers up to three channels on my network. My first main use is TV recordings from Comcast cable. I record up to 8 hours a day in football season and a lot of scheduled stuff off PBS. The XBOX also gives me an easy interface to my other interest which is AMAZON PRIME. I use a WIndows Media Center IR remote control that handles about 90% of XBOX 360 functions. I also use a Wii USB wireless keyboard on the XBOX. Getting this to work smoothly requires 1 Gbit switches connected with ethernet cables across the house. I have a couple wireless connections that have to run at 300 bps. I have three Windows 10 systems. I just made the WMC hack work on all of them but I am still testing. One of them is an ASUS T100 with 32 bit W10 and it's underpowered. WMC plays recordings but it won't do live TV. I have been testing the HDHOMERUN DVR Beta software but I don't like it one bit.  
  • ive downoaded windows media center to my windows 10 pc but cant get it to accept the extender code for my xbox 360. is there a way round this ?
  • Right now Kodi is not the answer, and may never be (Open Soure code can't handle DRM channels). SiliconDust's HDHomeRun DVR software, when ready, will probably be the answer. Until then it's worth considering running Windows 7 or 8.1 in a VM (Hyper-V, etc) under Windows 10. It's not a bad solution for me, but I have good specs and 32MB of RAM.
  • That's gotta be an old computer, mid-90's or so?
  • Dang! I just now realized why you said that. Cue, very cute...
  • you kno  what... this is not a bad idea. I am still lookin gfor alternatives and this may be the best best. Simply virtualize the windows 8.1 box IN windows 10. It isn't too much of a hassel to fire up a VM PLUS if I want I can figure the guest OS to do stuff like auto start media center in full screen mode when launched.
  • I should warn you that I tried using Virtual PC and couldn't get WMC to run stably. I've been meaning to try again but I rebuilt my setup and haven't had the time. Maybe tonight...
  • I meant Hyper-V above. This time around I am going to try this.   Hyper-V: P2V with Disk2VHD
  • Do i need a pro version of win10 to use this?
  • No.
  • How does this mesh with copyright law? I can certainly go along with those of us who paid for Media Center being able to use it, but this looks like it is freely available to all, which certainly is not kosher with copyright or DMCA.
  • My thoughts exactly. Odd that WC doesn't seem to have a problem with it. Posted via the Windows Central App for MS-DOS 6.22
  • What so one rule applies to one blog and not another? Eesh, it's on the internet it doesn't matter where it get's posted about. As once it's on the net - it will stay on the net whether some like it or not. Edit: Well, looks like you two have got your wishes :P - "Error (429)This account's public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!"      
  • I just clicked it with the same result. Good. I'll click it some more later. ;)
  • confirmed the link is working 3 minutes ago 11/27/2015 black friday
  • Piss off Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Thank you for giving us your highly-educated opinion on the matter. We appreciate the deep thought it took you to form such an intelligent and relevant opinion. EDIT: I just clicked your name so I could see what your avatar said (it was too small for my old eyes to read). Now I do understand why it took such deep thought for you to come up with such a brilliant statement. ;)
  • lol.
  • I've heard that this procedure does not install any codec for MPEG, so it's legal. Your WMC won't play anything MPEG2 encoded until you provide them. You must have your DVD Player app gifted by Microsoft (that comes with its 14.99USD worth codec install) installed, or use some other codec from the community (don't know exactly which). Thus, THIS procedure detailed by WinCentral is perfectlty fine as far as how MPEG codecs fees are concerned.
  • So Microsoft gave permission for their copyrighted work to be given away free by this entity?
  • windows or microsoft stated that media center is now no longer supported by them and that they are abandoing it giveing it up which thus makes it abandon wear.   they stopped supporting updating and copy righting it back when win 8 came out. so that makes copy right now 7 or 8 years old when it was abandon by them.   when did media center get copy righted probly back in windows 98. which makes copy right pertty old copy rights only last so many years.
  • You obviously have no clue just how long copyrights last. You also have no clue when Media Center came out. Additionally, you don't know what abandon wear is (hint - it isn't what you think). You're probably better off deleting your comments so as not to look such a fool.
  • hahahaha hi love how no one responded to your troll bate !!!
  • they abandon it, and gave up copy right and stoped supported it back after windows 8 came out.   copy rights only last for so many years and if its abandon copy right does exsit any more.
  • So how many years is "so many years." I'd venture to guess it's close to ten times what you think it is. And I'm pretty certain (like 150% certain) that Microsoft did not "gave up copy right". Even if they consider the software to be "abandoned" as you do, that does not eliminate their ownership rights of their copyrighted works.
  • unlike windows 7 or 8 win 10 comes with abilty to play all codecs I did not need to install any codec packages to play movies it just seems to auto play all formats. including DVD support.   so out of box on win 10 recap i can play all codex packages with out installing them Mpeg2 avi so forth and also play DVDs if there set up as TS folders.  media center installed on 10 plays every thing just fine with out needing install anything tested it on 3 computers.   biggest issue with install is sound media center abilty to setup sound system does not exsit and if u put in iwndows 10 5.1 sound when u go to play movie in media center wont play it    if u switch it back to stero then it is fine.   if u try to setup sound in media center it just does not give you option any more.
  • In addition to demonstrating complete ignorance of copyright laws, you have now demonstrated that you do not know what comes in Windows 10, which can NOT play DVDs out of the box. If you install something like PowerDVD or one of its competitors, or a freebie like VLC, THEN you can play DVDs. Not out of the box. Microsoft did not pay to license the codec for DVDs (or BluRay for that matter), so you cannot play them without installing other software. Please, for the love of God, delete your comments so that you don't look more a fool.
  • installer doesnt appear. Just a cmd prompt for a few secs and vanish
  • That is because you need to run it as an administrator.
  • tired that did not work but my verson of windows 10 is pro i dont know if that is why
  • Dou you have another link Daniel? the link you posted is not accessible anymore. thanks 
  • Useless to me, only watch bluray.:)
  • kewl
  • How can I watch my VHS on this?
  • Oh It's really simple......just put your VHS tape in the slot and hit play.......oh you don't have a place to put the VHS.....oh geez....
  • just take the blue ray disc dup it into a TS format that way it can be played as if its a DVD but it have blue ray quailty.   warning tho the folder size be any where form 20 to 40 gigs.   you legal have abilty to copy movies for your own use as a backup on to ur own computer sysems to host and to watch, but can not reburn and sell or sell file.   if u need software to backup movies so forth so u dont have to use the disc any more best best is dvdfab
  • Will definitely give this a spin when I finish work. Been using MediaPortal for a few weeks since I upgraded and it is ok but would love to have WMC back.
  • Ditto. Spent the last three days deciding between mp, mp2 and kodi. Was settling for mp. Biggest disappoint with WMC is that the Netflix plugin is not supported (it does suck, but at least my WMC remote could control it).
  • Legacy people are legacy people.
  • If you can explain how W10 does it then fine. Otherwise, Media Centre is the most current offering by MS and so is not legacy.
  • It is legacy cuz Microsoft ain't supporting it no more so it aint current
  • Define "it". What does MC do so well that makes it so crackerjack? My household primarily does streaming and the Xbox One we have in the living room is a pretty amazing device for this purpose. We also have a HD OTA antenna and am looking forward to when the Xbox can act as a DVR for the OTA stuff.
  • The big "IT' that is missing from ALL other home media programs is the ability to use a PCI, USB, or network CableCard tuner(s) to watch and record encrypted cable television.  And it's not that it does it "so well."  It's that it is the only thing that does "it" at all.  There is not, nor has there been for years, any other option for this fucntionality.  SiliconeDust is purportedly working on a CableCard approved DVR software for the PC, but as yet, it is incomplete, has not been officially release to the public, and lacks even something as simple as an on-screen program guide. Sure, there's a dozen other alternatives if all you need to do is stream your non-"Copy Once" OTA recorded shows and your music and movie collection.  I myself use Plex to stream from the living room HTPC to other TVs in the house, as well as our tablets and phones.  But Windows Media Center is the only option for encrypted television DVR functionality, and the only one with a proper "10 foot inteface" capable of being fully controlled with a single standard universal remote control.
  • Actually, you are almost totaly correct about WMC and cablecard.  WMC is the only software that provides full content listings and future listings that can recored cablecard protected content.  I am using my Nexus Players to watch all of the channels on my SiliconDust HD HomeRun Prime but, it only shows what is currently playing without any detailed information.
  • MC plays and supports DVD where as a TS folder where there is no other program that does, it also works best with remote and it is able it has cleanest UI for images on the folders.   my biggest issue with Kodi was  the UI - when u pick movies it forces it self to look up movie and update the data file instead of just using the image folder.jgp and background.jpg that i put into the movie folder.   probly is KODI thinks it knows best and reogrnize my collection as it sees fit.   media broswer classic does a way better job then Kodi but only support DVD play back if combinded with media center.   plextor doses not support any DVD play back in format of TS folders    TS folder is a driect copy back up of a DVD or blue ray dic.   when i say does not support these programs do not support menu on the dvds correctly.   media center does.   the best best setup is EMBY running on Media center.   its most user friendly. best UI most cutomizable and supports all formats along with a prefect dvd backup TS folder support.   I have used all other programs nothing comes close.
  • @AndyCalling Windows Media Center was discontinued in 2009 when Windows 7 came out and support for it ended by the time Win XP was out the door in April 2014
  • Yeah. I can't believe people still use an app for 2009. Especially one that sucked then, let alone now that we have so many options for watching media. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You know not of what you speak. Please name a better program that is a true "Media Center"? Kodi, etc.? Don't think so, pain in butt to install and make work, doesn't do TV without waving dead chickens around while setting up a backend server. I've looked for the last two years for a substitute for MC, that does as much, is as easy to install, and has as elegent of an interface. There isn't one, tried them all, they all blow in one way or another!
  •  Correct, I have used  XBMC which is what it was before the name change. The improvements made too it to change the name only benfit Linux users mostly and those that want to build embedded systems.  There is no DRM support for open source software. So as is mentioned several times here, you can not watch your copy-once shows without it. It's not just cable boxes, it flags shows recorded via HD capture devices too if you have Dish Network or DirecTV.  Kodi is a solution for cable cutters and those that watch the majority of what they want via OTA and the internet. There is nothing wrong with this but not a complete solution either. I watch House Hunters: International and sorry but feed provided on the HGTV website is terrible and most of the videos are in SD. There also several shows on TLC that aren't available via the RSS feed or on sites like eztv.  Some of this stuff MIGHT be on the USENET but I can't confirm it. Years ago where was a box you could buy that would download shows you wanted to watch, I can't remember what it's called but it had a regular GUI/Channel Guide and based on your guide selection it would download that show for you to watch.   Unfortunatly I like to watch most sports LIVE and if your team isn't doing paticularly well, then you'll get shut out of national boardcast the majority of the time. As a long time Raiders fan this is an issue and until the team plays better they won't be featured on OTA too much.   
  • waving dead chickens though? I needed that laugh.
  • I just found out about NextPVR yesterday and that gives me an option to update the Win8.1 PC to Win10 finally since it can use Ceton cards now. I'm going to update the MCE machine today and try this first, hopefully Live TV streaming will work. All of my other PCs are on Win 10 but the one I use Media Center on, it's serving as a TV / DVR with a 4 tuner CableCard and terrabytes of storage - if a better solution exists I'll go to it but this is what we've had for a long time now.
  • NextPVR is good, but it does not handle pausing and rewinding live TV as well as media center. That's really the reason that I like media center the best - I can pause and go backwards in live programs quite easily. Since I'm often doing something else while live tv is playing I miss things and it's nice to be able to go back a minute and see what everybody is laughing about.
  • I've been trying out MediaPortal, you can pause and rewind using that too.
  • Almost all these features are available with the Xbox One and the TV Tuner Add-on
  • I know this is true, but don't you have to buy an  Xbox?  I don't have money for all those machines.
  • i dont know whts happening but when i upgraded from win 8.1 pro with media centre to win 10..the media centre was installed and it was working pretty well..only problem is it was a trial version..now there's a watermark
  • here's how to install Media Center without any hacks. Install Windows 7.
  • Eww. So give up all in Windows 10 to get something my cable box already does, lol. I'll pass. This "hack" took all of 30 seconds.
  • except you dont get any maintenance updates for wmc ie. security holes Posted via the Windows Central App for Android On W10
  • I updated
    windows 10 from windows 7. I was supposed to get the dvd app and it was supposed to be purchased once installed??
    Shouldn't I be getting it back once I clean install windows 10??
  • No, you do not get the DVD player once you do a clean re-install, annoyingly.
  • Unless you fork out the ridiculous fee just to play DVDs...
  • same now I cannot play any DVDs on my laptop. Here I come VLC Media Player =D
  • Really? O_O My first "DVD player" install came as a Windows Update, a couple hours after I upgraded to Win10. I never cleaned-installed the PC since then, but I wonder what is holding MS to reissue that KB Update to the autorizhed machines, since they DO know everything about our Hardware IDs and do know which are associated to a WMC license.
  • http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_apps-insider_other/getting-the-windows-dvd-player-app/6c94b519-8b05-462e-a864-b7ad67d5c834?tm=1438117403084&auth=1 Note answer 8.
  • Well, in that case.. I wouldn't feel so guilty by forcing install the KB update that came automatically the first time but MS forgot to reinstate then. That's the KB3081704 Italian way: http://www.windowsblogitalia.com/2015/08/come-installare-gratis-lettore-dvd-in-windows-10/
  • My PC that is hooked to the TV is just going to stay on 8.1. It's not like I need 10 to power my TV.
  • We have TWC and the DVR boxes SUCK period. I don't see how people make comments and say things like this. If all you have ever known is horrible provider boxes then you don't know what your missing.  TWC boxes are clunky and slow, so what your solution change cable services? Sorry but even if that was possible there are only two providers and I'm not in the area for the other one. My only other choices are to return back to DirecTV which isn't my decision or re-try U-Verse.  Microsoft just didn't want to pay for the MPEG-2 licensing for Media Center. They already charge you $20 for DVD playback.  NextPVR and Media Portal all depend on it's user base and programers with free time to make changes. This the problem with "Free"; Kodi is free, NPVR is free, Media Portal is free and guess what you don't get when things are free? DRM suppport yes DRM sucks but it's a nessasary evil for cable card tuners.  Everybody likes free, but when real WORK or INVESTMENT needs to happen free doesn't work so well, so you get half-baked product like the ones I mentioned, where the compromise is no encrypted HD content. That is fine when you want to watch something 2-13 but is a problem when you want to watch regular cable channels.  Most of the invovations in TV came from Sports and Sports is what keeps lots of your favorite shows on-air. That's fine until you want to watch an out of market game...
  • It took me a little longer but I got it working which allowed me to install Ceton drivers. However,  I get a decoder error when I try to watch live TV.  I installed the LAV filters but that didn't help. Any ideas?
  • 8.1
  • 8.1
  • Interesting hack but overall seems useless for all nut those who cent let go. I used to use Media to record all my shows but now the apps for Media Center are old and broken. Recording I HD is a joke and newer, better online streaming services don't have an app. I think the boat was missed back when they canned the encoder boxes for HD like they were working for DirecTV. Its a shame since it really had potential.
  • I have no issues with recording in HD, up to 4 channels at a time, with my Media Center. With a CableCard supporting tuner (there are many out there), the Media Center does the job of a cable box without the additional fees a provider charges - the opposite of acting like they're working for DirecTV, etc. I have a PC with 4TB of storage for recorded TV (in HD) and pay only $5 for service on the card that it needs, that's less than the little non-HD boxes they offer us on FiOS.
  • Re hysonmb, I agree with you. I'm using Windows 7 and 8.1 and Windows Media Center. My HD recordings using Windows Media Center are at the full resolution available from Comcast and from Over The Air (OTA). This includes recordings of encrypted HBO using DRM too. The recordings and live TV are available on all my TVs because Windows Media Center's whole house media center features using Ceton tuners and cablecards. Easy and family friendly user interface.
  • I use a 2 tuner USB cable card. My shows record just fine from it or the OTA HD tuner which is almost ten years old.  Streaming content is fine until you get to the major sports and then it becomes a problem. As I also said some channels provide dated content in SD via their RSS feeds on their channel websites. I am looking at you Discovery, HGTV and Scripts TV...So if you watch any of those channels, guess what it's not the latest episode and it's in standard def.   Using Windows 7 or 8 is the only solution for those wanting to keep Media Center. I use Kodi strictly for archived TV and Movies from my server. 
  • MDL for the win. They've even figured out how to change the 'hero' logon screen.
  • Yeah!
    Login screen image really should've have an option