Buy Windows 8 Pro, Get Windows Media Center for Free

You may or may not know this, but Windows 8 does not come with Windows Media Center.  But you can get it free from Microsoft, for a limited time.

How, you might ask?  This way:

  1. Buy a computer with Windows 8 Professional, or upgrade an existing computer to Windows 8 Professional.  You can also upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro for a nominal cost, if needed.
  2. Get on the Internet from that computer and proceed to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs.
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  3. Follow the instructions.
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About a day later, you will get an email with your WMC product key.

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Open the Control Panel and click on the “Add features to Windows 8” option.

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Enter your product key,

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tick the appropriate check box, make note of the message, and

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let the download and installation begin.  This particular process takes some time, so be patient.

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Once completed, and the computer restarts, you will find this message on the desktop,

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a new version blip on the desktop,

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and a new tile on the Windows 8 Start screen.

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Click on the tile to bring up Windows Media Center, throw a DVD into your optical drive,

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and enjoy a movie (once again) in Windows 8.

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I definitely missed WMC, particularly as a DVR, and I am quite happy to have access to it again.  This is a free upgrade to Windows 8 Pro through January 31st, 2013.  After that, it will cost you a whopping 10 bucks, which is still quite cheap for what WMC gives you.

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8 comments

  1. A correction to “step 2” on the above guide: You don’t need to visit the site from the PC running Windows 8 Pro, you can request the free Media Center key from any PC, right now. just remember that it must be activated on the Windows 8 Pro PC no later than February 1, 2013.

    I requested mine yesterday from my Windows 7 PC and just received the code. Now I have 3 months to think about getting Windows 8 or not….

  2. Does anyone know if the $39 WIndows 8 upgrade download from MS allows for clean install? Still running Vista on my office PC, was looking to upgrade, but if I can’t do a clean install, then, I’ll just pass unit I get a new PC.

    1. During the installation process in Windows 8, you will be asked for 2 options, (1) to keep your current stuffs and install Windows 8 or (2) A clean install.
      You also can download Windows 8 RC for a test run and upgrade it from it.

  3. In response to some posts.. Media Pack is currently free for W8 too!… and yes, you can install W8 upgrade on a clean system.. there is nor qualification verification.. but how you will sleep at night with M$ EULA running around your head is beyond me :-p

  4. Be warned if you are in Europe – Windows 8 Pro N Edition does not have the “Add Features” facility, and WMC cannot be installed on this version.

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