This post will be of use to those interested in Windows Media Center software as a free DVR using a USB TV tuner, HDHomeRun device, or the like.
Microsoft stopped updating their Windows Media Center software after they introduced Windows 7. It is incompatible with Windows 10. Eventually, Microsoft may move that functionality to Xbox.
However, some enterprising hobbyists figured out ways to install WMC and make it run anyhow. As of this date, the free installer program referenced below is the one to use.
The big Windows 10 Creators Update, now rolling out to users, breaks WMC, as did the previous major Anniversary Update.
But afterwards, WMC can be reinstalled, or installed for the first time with the special installer software.
WMC (which includes free program data downloads) hopefully should work until 2023 when Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 support is discontinued. (See previous post RIP Windows Media Center.)
I first used one of these installation methods to Add Windows Media Center to Win 10 on July 23, 2016. A couple of months later, this happened:
My successful add of WMC to Win 10 was wiped out when my PC automatically received the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 on 9/24/2016. Tried a reinstall, but got an “Installing package failed, reverting…” message.
Using the WMC version 8.8.1 zip file and instructions 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.
WMC 8.8.1 has worked great.
But I recently got wind of another major Windows Update on its way, the Windows 10 Creators Update (Version 1703). If you want it early, you can make that happen by downloading the Update Assistant.
I checked recent posts on the MyDigitalLife forum and found that Creators Update does indeed break WMC. But the above-linked WMC 8.8.1 version can be successfully reinstalled after the Win 10 update.
Since I have two Win 10 PCs running WMC, I picked the faster quad-core PC for my first go.
No problems at all with the Creators Update. And all the WMC 8.8.1 files from last time were still there.
Here are my relevant notes:
Be current on Windows Update before starting with Creators Update.
If you use ServerWMC, note or take screenshots of your current settings, since you have to set up ServerWMC again from scratch. I had my pre-update PC to look at, so I didn’t need to do this.
If you already have WMC working, no need to uninstall it before Creators.
Also in that case, I recommend saving a copy of your current HOSTS file (C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\HOSTS). There are a couple of IP addresses at the bottom that enable WMC to download the free program guide data.
FYI, my HOSTS file contains the following lines that work in Tulsa (and possibly anywhere in the continental US):
After applying Creators Update, you can uninstall/reinstall an existing WMC 8.8.1 setup as follows:
- In your 8.8.1 folder (mine is C:\WMC-V8.8.1), right-click Uninstaller.cmd and Run As Administrator. Then reboot.
- Run _TestRights.cmd as Admin. You should see a command prompt window. (If you don’t, reboot and retry.)
- Run either InstallerGREEN.cmd or InstallerBLUE.cmd as Admin. (Blue is the standard WMC color, green is custom.)
- Check your HOSTS file and make sure IP addresses are there.
You do have to go through the setup process again for WMC.
If you should have problems with the program data download phase of setup, the IP addresses in your HOSTS file may be responsible. Do a Google search for “data.tvdownload.microsoft.com” to look for other IPs if yours or the ones I gave above don’t work for you.
I again used TightVNC viewer on my laptop to remotely do the update on my two headless (no monitor or keyboard) media PCs running TightVNC server.
No need to uninstall/reinstall any WMC-associated third-party programs such as ServerWMC, My Channel Logos, or Ceton My Media Center as I needed to do for the upgrade from Win 7 to Win 10.
Cribbing my settings from the other PC, I quickly re-set up ServerWMC. (Over there, it enables my Raspberry Pi to communicate with WMC; see previous post Windows Media Center & Raspberry Pi.) The other two third-party programs needed no attention.
Emby is a free application I use with ServerWMC on this quad-core PC to stream live or recorded TV programs to my smartphone or Roku (see previous post Watch live local TV anywhere via Emby app). All I needed to do on the Emby server software was to Refresh Guide Data.
Once I got all that working, I did my other Win 10 PC in blue.
Proving there is more than one way to skin a dinosaur. 😉