Get Your Media Center Back in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 is out…well, sort of. Interested parties can get the Preview version and those with a TechNet or MSDN subscription can grab the RTM. There are other ways to procure that final release copy as well, but we will not mention those here. If you are running Windows 8 then you can do an upgrade — the new operating system functions as a Service Pack, meaning it’s a free update.

You can do a clean install as well, and that is what I recommend and did myself, but that is certainly not for every users. Most prefer a safety net, and Microsoft always provides one. Customers can choose from varying levels of upgrades, saving everything, like documents, apps and settings, or just settings.

However, those who choose the “everything” option will still find themselves minus one app — Windows Media Center does not come along for the ride. Fortunately, its a fairly easy fix, providing you are an email hoarder. If you fall into that rather prevalent category created by Gmail and its almost limitless storage, then search out the key you were given back when you first grabbed the MediavCenter upgrade.

windows 8.1 mc email

From here on, Windows 8.1 is not tremendously different from its predecessor. The process for adding features is the same — begin by paying a visit to the Charms menu and clicking the Search option.

windows 8.1 add features

Type “Add Features”, hit the top result and you are off. Choose “I already have a product key” (unless you don’t, of course) then click to the next screen.

Type, or copy and paste, the key, but expect a few seconds wait while it validates. Now its an easy matter of accepting the terms and clicking the “Add new features” button at the bottom right of the screen. At this point its a simple matter of waiting for the process to play itself out.

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windows 8.1 add new features

Beware: Your computer is going to reboot, and it will do so with no warning whatsoever, and no option to save any work you have in progress. Be prepared for this.

Conclusion

Its a fairly simple process, though one that users likely should not have to go through. Its inexplicable why Microsoft removes Media center while bringing all other apps forward in the upgrade process. Still, at least its a simple problem to solve and, aside from the unexpected and sudden reboot, you should have no problems getting the feature back up and running.

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