With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft waved farewell to Windows Media Center. There are some excellent free alternatives around, but if you miss the classic video recorder and media player there's a free download that brings its suite of streaming and playback tools to the new operating system.
Getting Windows Media Center running on Windows 10 isn't as straightforward as using an ordinary software installer, but it's not hard either. You'll be streaming TV and movies to your desktop in just a few minutes.
Once you've downloaded the ZIP file, extract its contents to a convenient place on your hard drive. The download contains 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Media Center in separate ZIP files, so select the one that's right for your operating system and extract it. If you're not sure which one you need, open the Settings menu, then select System > About and look under the heading System Type.
Now right-click the _TestRights file and select Run as Administrator. A command line window will open and a few commands will run. Once it's finished and you see a blinking cursor beside C:\Windows>, close the window and reboot your PC.
Once Windows has restarted, return to the extracted folder, right-click the Installer file and select Run as Administrator. Another command line window will open and the installer will begin copying the necessary files. This will take a moment, so be patient - it hasn't frozen. When it's finished, press any key to exit.
A Windows Media Center icon will now appear on your desktop and you can start setting up your media collection as normal. If you can't see a desktop icon, you should be able to find the program using the search box.
To make sure you're getting the most from Windows Media Center in Windows 10, check out our list of 15 essential tips and tweaks, including some superb plugins that make it a worthy rival to today's media streaming toolkits.
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