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All posts for the month July, 2016

Windows Media Center running on my PC after free upgrade to Windows 10! Note the logos, some of which I created.

Windows Media Center running again on my PC after the free upgrade to Windows 10.

The free Microsoft offer to upgrade PCs on Windows 7 & 8 to Windows 10 ends on July 29.

I use Windows Media Center as a free DVR. I had planned to skip the upgrade in order to keep WMC, since Windows 10 doesn’t support it. (See previous post RIP Windows Media Center (in 5-8 yrs).)

But last week, as the deadline approached, I got to wondering again if there was any way to keep WMC going under Win 10. Turns out there is!

Look for DavidinCT’s post of 4/8/2016 about midway down this Windows Central Forums page. There is a better WMC installer: see the update just below.

Download the WMC zip file appropriate for your PC, unzip it, and read the directions closely before starting.

Update, 10/4/2016:

My successful add of WMC to Win 10 per the above method was wiped out when my PC automatically received the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB3176936) on 9/24/2016. Tried a reinstall, but got an “Installing package failed, reverting…” message.

Using the WMC version 8.8.1 zip file referenced in this post at MyDigitalLife, I was able to get WMC working again. You would need to create a login there to see the post.

I upgraded to Win 10, then installed WMC with the download. There were hitches reinstalling the following three WMC-associated third-party programs, which I solved. But all YOU would need to do to avoid these problems is simply uninstall the first two before doing the Win 10 upgrade, then reinstall them afterwards. (As I did on my second desktop PC.)

ServerWMC – feeds data and video to my Raspberry Pi for viewing and control through OSMC/Kodi. In order to reinstall it on Win 10, I was forced to locate its original .msi install/uninstall file. It was in the folder “Windows.old” created by the Win 10 upgrade. (This folder is needed if you want to roll back to the original Win 7 or 8 installation.)

My Channel Logos – a useful program that populates the WMC TV schedule grid with network logos (you can add custom logos, too). Again, had trouble reinstalling because it wanted to see the the original .msi file, but this time, I couldn’t find it. Used the free version of the Revo Uninstaller program to remove the old version of MyChannel Logos so I could do a successful reinstall.

One further tip: my previous custom logos were in C:\ProgramData\MyChannelLogos. I did have the foresight before the new install to change the name of the existing MyChannelLogos directory to MMMyChannelLogos so it wouldn’t be overwritten. Afterward, I moved my custom logos to the new Custom directory under MyChannelLogos.

Ceton My Media Center – allows the corresponding smartphone app to control and program WMC remotely. It took me awhile to realize that it was still there under Win 10, just no icon or program was visible (even in Control Panel/Programs and Features). Found it by typing “Ceton My Media Center” in the new Win 10 desktop search box. Pinned the “app”, as Win 10 calls programs, to the start menu.

Problems like the above (though I haven’t run into any others yet) are why you ultimately might want to do a new clean install of Win 10 after the upgrade. Microsoft allows you to burn ISO image files to a DVD for this purpose, should the need or desire arise. I created DVDs for all three of my computers. The tool is downloadable on this Microsoft Win 10 page. I’m too lazy to reinstall without a compelling reason, but it’s good to have the option.

Other notes:

  • I ran TightVNC viewer on my laptop to remotely upgrade my two desktop media PCs, which were running TightVNC server. No need to attach a monitor and keyboard, even during installation, and the several reboots.
  • WMC programming data for the TV listing grid is provided free by Microsoft from Rovi (also see previous post TiVo to be acquired by Rovi (Tulsa roots) ). My guess is that the data will become unavailable by 2020 or 2023, but if you still have the PC, at least you will be on Win 10, which Microsoft will support through 2025.
  • Personally, I like Win 10 better than Win 7, and much better than Win 8. The app “charms” have been tamed and are actually useful now. But if you dislike Win 10, you can revert back to Win 7 or 8 within 30 days of your upgrade.
  • Some PC models are not approved for Win 10 upgrade. I learned this when I tried and failed with a Dell Latitude E6420 owned by one of our nephews. Here is Dell’s page listing their Computers tested for upgrade to Windows 10. If you have problems, check with your PC’s manufacturer.

Think it over fast, the free upgrade opportunity goes away after July 29!

Robin Trower "In City Dreams" on Chromecast LP cover art slideshow

Chromecast LP cover art slideshow. In person, color is saturated and sharpness is outstanding.

I discovered a way to do something I have wanted to do since the 1970s. (No, I didn’t get rich selling bongs.)

Like most music fans of the era, I would put an LP on the turntable, then sit and stare at the album cover and read the liner notes while listening.

I had always wanted to display an array of LP art on the wall, but never found a way that was satisfactory.

One thing I really missed when CDs came in was the large-scale cover art.

Recently, I moved my old 1977 turntable and 1984 cassette deck into the theater room. They are now integrated into our system using my Logitech Harmony remote. When I select Phono or Tape, among all the many other “Activities”, the receiver is set to the correct input.

Of course, I still have to get up to change the records or tapes. Maybe I will have a robot to do that, and serve cocktails as well in a decade or so. (Other things that may happen in the future: The lighter side of transhumanism)

I currently participate in a Facebook group that discusses “analog music of all types and the equipment we play it on. Cassette, reel-to-reel, 8-track and of course, vinyl.”

Just a few days ago, I mentioned there that you could use a Chromecast device to show photos and art from Google while listening to your analog recordings.

But then I thought of using Chromecast to display custom LP cover photos. Turned out to be easy.


If you use any Google online apps such as Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, etc., you already have access to your own Google Photos account. You can upload an unlimited number of photos to it without using any of your Google Drive storage allotment, and create photo albums for free, as long as you select High Resolution in Settings rather than Original resolution. The High setting is more than adequate for this purpose.

I found a site called AlbumArtExchange.com with a vast catalog of easily searchable LP cover art. I downloaded a few favorites into a folder on my PC, then used Google Photos to upload them. Then I created a photo album there called “LP Covers” and added the images to it.

Now using the free Android Google Cast app on my smartphone, under Devices, I selected Edit Backdrop. I turned off every source of photos and art except Google Photos.

Under Google Photos on the app, my new LP Covers photo album appeared. I checked its box.

Voila, when I turned on the TV and selected the Chromecast device input, there was a great-looking slideshow with my art! Note that it creates an attractive backdrop for the art as well.

Aside from finding lots more LP covers to upload, I did a few more things:

While looking at my LP Covers album on the Google Photos browser page, I clicked More Options, selected Sharing Options, and turned off sharing. This is because of the terms of use for the images on AlbumArtExchange.com.

Used the app to control the speed of the display (sped it up). Note that your photos are downloaded from the internet, so it will use some bandwidth. We have the next-to-bottom tier of service with Cox. But even with all our TV/movie streaming, we have rarely used more than half our 250 GB allocation in a month. I looked at the past several days of usage to see if there was an increase. Couldn’t tell any difference. Just an FYI.

Started a free account with AlbumArtExchange.com. The advantage is not having to complete Captcha boxes so often.

Again, make sure you have selected High Resolution rather than Original in Settings, so you don’t use up any of your free space with Google.

I also added “soft” buttons on my Harmony remote’s Chromecast Activity so I can switch between turntable, cassette, FM tuner and Chromecast sound without disrupting the ongoing slideshow.

If you don’t have a fancy remote like this, just select Chromecast on your TV, and operate your old-school equipment separately.

I love the result. I’ve been adding lots more images to the show. Mostly I have covers from my old favorite LPs, but some are for CDs, and a few albums that I have only on mp3. Another benefit is the stream of reminders about music I really like. I used to sit in front of my album collection and mull over which one I wanted to hear next.

As you can see above, this beats any possible previous idea I might have had for displaying cover art. It even shows the time, temperature and a current conditions icon for Tulsa!

Hope you enjoy it, too.