Windows Media Center lives on with unofficial Windows 10 version

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It turns out that Windows Media Center can run on Windows 10 after all.

Although Microsoft has officially discontinued its old living room PC software, some users on the My Digital Life forums have apparently patched Windows Media Center to run on Microsoft’s latest operating system.

The workaround was first spotted by WindowsBlogItalia (Google Translate link), which provides a link and installation instructions.

Why this matters: While Microsoft has claimed that hardly anyone uses Windows Media Center anymore, it remains a popular program among hardcore home theater PC users, many of whom are avoiding Windows 10 so they can keep using the living room software. This workaround could let users enjoy the benefits of Windows 10 without giving up Windows Media Center, but we’d still advise against it.

Words of warning for HTPC diehards

Before you get too excited about this bootleg Windows Media Center version, it’d be wise to keep a few things in mind: There’s no guarantee this program is safe, especially given that the installation involves running a process to automatically modify your system registry. Unauthorized distribution of Microsoft programs could wade into legally murky territory as well.

Even the Mega-hosted download itself is somewhat sketchy, as you must make sure to select “Download through your browser” option instead of installing Mega’s sync tool.

Instead of installing this version of Windows Media Center, you might first consider some alternatives. If you use WMC for watching and recording live over-the-air TV, the free NextPVR can be just as good when you follow our setup instructions. (On the downside, NextPVR can’t handle copy-once protected cable content.)

For local media playback, free programs such as Kodi and MediaPortal provide a TV-friendly interface, and the former can even hook into NextPVR to integrate your broadcast TV recordings. There are also free alternatives for DVD playback, which according to Microsoft was the most popular use for Windows Media Center.

And if all else fails, you can just roll back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

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