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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Media Center on Vista

I'm almost "finished" configuring my shiny new Windows 7 install for HTPC use & this will feature Windows 7's Media Center product. In a fit of enthusiasm I thought I would have a look at MCE on my Vista laptop to see if I could make use of it & hence remove MediaPortal to reduce the amount of installed software.

All started well, the interface, although largely the same is subtly different & I'm left wondering why my videos are hiding under the pictures section rather than TV & Movies. Unfortunately what I've now discovered is the Vista's MCE is pants. For starters the codecs installed on my laptop are solidly ignored so none of my home videos open (not the .avi ones, not the .mov ones & not the .mp4 ones) and what is worse is when I point the library at my movies it causes MCE to crash. Of course, Microsoft have been helpful in that it tries to restart but unsurprisingly, having crashed one, it crashes again, and restarts, and crashes again. No, that is not fair, it crashes just the once and gives up, sometimes I get taken to a Microshaft page which says I should check for updates (done & there aren't any - surely the software could check before offering the option?) and asks me if the information was helpful.

My conclusion on Windows Media Center on Vista? Well, can you imagine how much fun I had repeatedly explaining why the information offered was not helpful, oh yes and then some but I bet no one reads it as the online answers to "I have a Vista problem" now seem to be "why are you still using Vista?".