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New guide for installing WMP 11 on Windows MCE 2004

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 16 Jan 2008 3:38 User comments (6)

New guide for installing WMP 11 on Windows MCE 2004 As we reported on Monday, in addition to removing limits on the use of their Watch Instantly Streaming video service, Netflix has also "upgraded" their system to require Windows Media Player 11 on subscribers' computers. This unfortunately leaves people with Windows XP Media Center Edition computers with a version from 2004 or earlier out in the cold as WMP 11 can't normally be installed on this operating system.
Being a Windows MCE user myself, I don't have any interest in paying a minimum of $150 essentially for an update to the Media Center application, which is the component that Microsoft hasn't updated for MCE 2004. This left me with two options, either stop streaming video from Netflix or find an alternative to a new version of Windows.

As it turns out there is an alternative, and although it's not free, you shouldn't have to buy any new hardware, including the remote control. A product called SageTV provides all the functionality of Media Center, and in fact appears to have many more features than were available in the older Windows XP MCE versions. By using it, or another Media Center alternative like BeyondTV, you can also safely install Windows Media Player 11 using a new guide.

The guide, titled Installing Windows Media Player 11 on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004, will take you step by step through the relatively simple process of installing Windows Media Player 11 on a computer running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004. Do not use this guide if you intend to continue to use the Media Center application. It will not function properly after this, and Windows Media Player has no uninstaller.

The guide is based on my own experience installing WMP 11, and after following these steps I was able to stream movies from Netflix again. I can also personally verify that you'll need to replace Media Center with another program as it won't work any longer. If you have any questions or problems please post anything you find here so I can update the guide if necessary.

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6 user comments

116.1.2008 8:20

This is strange, because I have an HP Z555 MCE PC with all current updates. I had to upgrade to MP11 because I could no longer play my Yahoo Music WMA files unless I upgraded to MP11. I went to the Windows web site and it said (wish I saved the link, sorry) that I had to install a special version of WMP11 for MCE 2005. I installed it and it works fine, no problems. You will have to allow MS to test your machine to see if it's a legal copy (no problem here, HP installed MCE in the PC) of Windows (and it will instal WGA - ugh - but I block it with my firewall). But bottom line is I have MCE 2005 with Windows Media Player 11 on it and everything works fine. You will have to go to the death star and ask lord Vader Gates for the software, and I know that bothers some people, but if you are willing to form a temporary alliace with the Federation, you too can have your MCE PC join in on the fun.
Anyway, I hope this helps! JPC

216.1.2008 10:21

Originally posted by jpc1958:
But bottom line is I have MCE 2005 with Windows Media Player 11 on it and everything works fine.
The problem is with 2004 or earlier versions.

316.1.2008 11:28

Wanpa-Kun is exactly right. If you have any version prior to 2004 it gets updated automatically (and for free) to MCE 2004 with the installation of Service Pack 2. However, if you have MCE 2004 and wish to upgrade to MCE 2005 (required for official WMP 11 support) you have to buy the OS all over again and probably install from scratch as well since there likely isn't any way to install it as an upgrade (with both being Windows XP).

416.1.2008 21:03

Well thats good that included MCE in Vita because all the computers are all pre-installed with vista now I mean store bought machine with os loaded.

I actually use the xp and I am trying a vista I just got and I installed in easy on one of my second HDD partitions.

Works great.

I hope When they finally release the SP1 for it it does some good.

The thing I hate are those damn mac commercials that poke fun at vista although they are funny it don't make since since 80% of the people have a windows machine, 18% with mac and 2% with other linux style OS's.

If I am wrong please tell me the correct figures before you start screaming at me.

Just one thing I didnt get are you saying you can't get wmp 11 on xp because I believe you can because I have wmp 11 right now on my win xp home.

516.1.2008 21:30

Originally posted by wolf123:
Just one thing I didnt get are you saying you can't get wmp 11 on xp because I believe you can because I have wmp 11 right now on my win xp home.

No. MCE 2002 - 2004 are the only versions of Windows XP that WMP 11 normally won't install on. As soon as the installer sees that your computer has one of these versions of Windows on it you'll get a message telling you that it's not a supported OS. The problem isn't Windows, but rather the Media Center program. It relies heavily on WMP for most of its functionality.

The bottom line is that Microsoft came to the conclusion that MCE was populare enough to justify charging for further updates. Unfortunately since both MCE 2004 and MCE 2005 are Windows XP under the hood, all you're really paying for is an upgrade to the front end for a free media player.

615.2.2008 18:23

This is great Vurbal on your part i am sure u have saved many users the heart ache from now on. I still feel the Microsoft or Netflix should give users an update or something like a fix of some sort so they do not have to deal with this issue.

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