Monthly Archives: November 2012

How to get your free Windows Media Center key for Windows 8 Pro

Users of the Windows 8 Pro edition can receive a free product key for Windows Media Center for a limited time. Media Center is Microsoft’s software for watching DVD’s, streaming movies and TV shows. If you don’t have Media Center installed, you will have to choose a third party application such as VLC Player or Real Player for watching DVD movies. Some PC OEMs will include a built in DVD player such as Power DVD. Users of Windows 8 must upgrade to Windows 8 Pro in order to receive the free Media Center. Lets take a look at how to do it.

First, make sure you have Windows 8 Pro installed, to find out if you have it installed:

Press Windows key + X

Click System and look under Windows edition

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So we have confirmed we have Windows 8 Pro is installed. Next step is to go to the following link:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs

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Scroll down and fill in the required information to receive a product key install Windows Media Center.

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Click Send my product key

NOTE: The product key can take between 48 to 72 hours to arrive, mine took about 5 days, so be patient. If you don’t see it, check your Junk Mail folder or contact support at:

http://support.microsoft.com/gp/esd-support-phone-numbers

MCE Key

Once you have received your product key, follow the instructions to install it. Lets take a quick look at how to do it:

Press Windows key + X

Click System

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Under Windows edition, click the link Get more features with a new edition of Windows

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Click the link I already have a product key

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Enter your product key and click Next.

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Accept the license agreement and click Add features to begin the installation.

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Wait while Windows Media Center is installed. Your system will automatically restart.

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Media Center is now installed. You can launch it from the Start Screen.

mce install 4

Thats it!

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Part 2 How to upgrade using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant

In part 1, we looked acquiring and downloading Windows 8 using the Windows Upgrade Assistant, a digital method of installing the latest version of Windows. If you purchased Windows 8 on DVD, take a look at the following articles:

Install, Upgrade and Activate

To day, we picked from where we left off, which is the installation of the software. Part 1 dealt with the acquisition process.

Setup 1

After Windows Upgrade Assistant completes the download, it will verify the integrity of the download. Checking for corruption or missing files.

Setup 2

Wait while Windows 8 prepares to start the installation.

Setup 3

Here we arrive at a very important part of the Windows 8 setup experience. You can choose to Install Now or create a backup disc (which I recommend you do) or postpone the installation by selecting ‘Install later from your desktop’.

If you choose the last option, even when you restart your system, you can simply double click the Install Windows icon located on your desktop to resume the installation.

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If you remember from Part 1, if the download was interrupted or paused, the icon on your desktop was labeled Download Windows. This indicated the Download was not completed.

Install by creating media

This I think is one of the most important steps, a lot of persons do not have fast Internet Connections, or they are using metered Internet Connections which prohibits them from downloading large files using their ISP over a period of time. Windows 8 is a 2 GB download which is still significantly large for some Internet Connections.

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Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant presents a couple options for backup media.

USB flash drive

If you have a thumb drive with 3 GBs of available space, you can use that to create a bootable copy. Thumb drives are very cheap these days, so pick up a couple and create one as your first backup option. This is especially recommended for persons using Ultrabooks which do not include optical drives (DVD) or Netbooks. There are some desktop systems that do not include one.

ISO file

An ISO file is a digital or virtual replica of a physical disc. In order to use an ISO you must burn it to a optical disc. In the case of Windows 8, a blank DVD. If you are using Windows 7, you can create the .ISO and burn it using the built in Disc Image utility. If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you can using a third party burning tool such as ImgBurn or Roxio/Nero.

Learn more about burning .ISO files in Windows 7

Instructions for burning .ISOs using ImgBurn:

ImgBurn – In addtion to supporting the creation of CD’s from .ISO files,
it supports a wide range of other image file formats, and it’s free.
(BIN, CUE, DI, DVD, GI, IMG, MDS, NRG, PDI and ISO)
http://www.imgburn.com/
http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/G/Burning+ISO+Images+with+ImgBurn

Note: Always use the slowest burn speed (4x or 2x) if offered a choice.

 

Creating a .ISO file

For the purposes of this exercise, we are gonna use the .ISO option, 1 because its more flexible and 2 I don’t have an available thumb drive.

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Select ISO file, then click Save

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Select your location and click Save.

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Wait while the .ISO image is created.

Setup 4

When complete, you can view the location or open your DVD burning software to burn right away. Your Product key should also be revealed. Write it down and store it somewhere safe.

Install Now

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If you just want to go right ahead and install Windows 8, select Install Now.

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Accept the Windows 8 License Terms.

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Select the option appropriate for your configuration and click Next to start the upgrade process to Windows 8.

That’s it!

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Part 1 How to upgrade using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant

Windows 8 has been available for almost two weeks now and users are beginning to find their way around the new version. One new element to upgrading to Windows 8 is the Windows Upgrade Assistant. Known as Electronic Software Delivery (ESD), the Upgrade Assistant eliminates the chore of purchasing a physical package, opening a box, inserting a disc and beginning the upgrade. In fact, compared to Windows 7, upgrading to Windows 8 digitally is even a lot easier. In this article, we take a look at the process and answer some of the unknowns such as how to reinstall and redownload Windows 8 if you need to.

Over the past 10 years ago, the only way you could acquire Windows XP was on a CD which you ordered at an online merchant or bought at a brick and mortar store. With the release of Windows 7, Microsoft provided an online element to purchasing and installing Windows, although cumbersome, the Box setup files was Microsoft’s first real effort at distributing Windows digitally on a wide scale. Windows 8 simplifies the acquisition process with a Web Installer called the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which makes it easy to both download and create a local backup copy for future use. The digital distribution works this way, you download the installer, launch it and it will download Windows 8, the time it takes is ultimately dependent on the speed of your Internet connection. Microsoft has noted that the Web Installer includes some sophisticated compression technology which downloads bits in 10 MB chunks to ensure it is delivered safely.

To download Windows 8, go to http://www.windows.com/buy

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Click Download Pro for $39.99

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When the download is complete, launch the Windows8-UpgradeAssistant file.

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The start of Windows 8 Setup.

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Wait while Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant checks your devices and apps for compatibility issues.

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According to the Upgrade Assistant, I have 3 items I need to review. To review them, click the See compatibility details link at the bottom.

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According to the Compatibility details, I will need an app to play DVDs, the computer I am using does not support Secure Boot and I will need to update an Intel Network Management technology.

Although the computer does not support Secure Boot, I can still upgrade to Windows 8 because Windows 8 supports Legacy BIOS which is in most PC’s over the past 10 years that can run it. So, we can print or save this report and click Next to continue.

What is Secure Boot?

Secure Boot – a prominent new security feature built into Windows 8 supported on hardware that only supports the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). What it does is capture a signature of the operating system so if a malicious piece of code tries to infiltrate the system at boot time, Windows will check against the signature the last time it booted up, if they don’t match up, the bad code is stopped from executing and system rolls back to a known state where there exist no modifications.

Setup 1

When you arrive at the Choose what to keep screen, select the option appropriate for your configuration. Here I have chosen to keep ‘Windows settings, persons files and apps. Click Next

Setup 2

Click the Order button to make your purchase of the software.

setup 3

Choose the option whether you want a backup DVD or you can skip that option and create your own.

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Wait while Windows Upgrade Assistant prepares its merchant options.

SETUP 5

Fill out the billing information, click Next.

SETUP 6

Select the method you want to use to pay and agree to the terms and condition, click Buy. If you received Windows 7 on a new PC between June 2nd 2012 and January 31, 2013, you can enter a promo code which will allow you to purchase Windows 8 at a significantly cheaper rate of $14.99. When you are ready, click Buy.

Downloading Windows

After completing the transaction, wait while Windows setup downloads.

Downloading Windows 2

The time setup takes to complete will depend on the speed of your Internet Connection. You can always Pause the download and resume it at a later time.

How to resume the download:

Resume

Simply double click the Download Windows icon on your desktop.

If something happens and you are unable to resume, simply go to the Install Windows site and start downloading again.

 

Click Install Windows to start the download again.

Resources:

Install, Upgrade and Activate

 

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