Microsoft removed Windows Media Center from Windows 10, and there’s no official way to get it back. While there are great alternatives like Kodi, which can play and record live TV, the community has made Windows Media Center functional on Windows 10.

This isn’t an official trick. As far as Microsoft is concerned, you can just keep using Windows 7 or 8.1 if you want Windows Media Center, although that’s becoming more and more difficult. Microsoft isn’t interested in supporting Windows Media Center any longer.

Step One: Download the Unofficial Windows Media Center Installer

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We feel it’s important to reiterate this warning: this isn’t officially supported by Microsoft. This process involves downloading a modified Windows Media Center application from an unofficial source, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, this may not be for you. We tried it ourselves and ran into no problems, the file shows up as clean on multiple malware scanners, and other big sites have reported on this application. But that’s all we can say.

If you’re ready to give it a try, head to this thread on the My Digital Life forums. You normally need to register to see the latest download links, but here are the latest ones as of June 2016:

Download the appropriate installer, depending on whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 10. Just click the “Download through your browser” link on the download page.

Step Two: Install Windows Media Center

The downloaded archive is a .7z file, so you’ll also need to download and install 7-Zip to open it.

Once you have, you can right-click the downloaded .7z file in File Explorer and select 7-Zip > Extract Here.

You’ll get a WMC folder. The included readme file recommends copying this folder to a short path with no spaces to avoid problems. For example, you could place it directly inside your C:\ drive.

Open the folder, right-click the “_TestRights.cmd” file, and select “Run as Administrator”. A Command Prompt window will open, and you can close it.

You can then right-click the “Installer.cmd” file and select “Run as Administrator.”

You’ll see the progress of the installation in a Command Prompt window. Don’t close the window until you see the “Press any key to exit” message.

If there’s a problem, you may need to try running the _TestRights.cmd file again and rebooting before running the Installer.cmd file once again.

If you’ve previously installed this pack–or if you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1 and previously had Windows Media Center installed–you may need to right-click the “Uninstaller.cmd” file and select “Run as Administrator” to remove any leftover bits of Windows Media Center before it will install normally. This is also the file you need to run if you ever want to completely uninstall Windows Media Center.

Step Three: Run Windows Media Center

After you successfully install Windows Media Center, it will appear in your Start menu as a normal application you can launch. It should run normally, just as it did on Windows 7 and 8.1.

Help, I Have Another Problem!

If you encounter another problem, open the Workarounds.txt file for more information. This file contains a list of problems people have encountered and fixes known to work.

For example, it recommends installing the Shark007 codec pack if you encounter a “Decoder Error” while playing some types of media. It also provides instructions for issues with Windows Media Center finding TV tuner cards and setting up live TV.

While Windows Media Center currently works, it’s possible that future changes to Windows 10 might break it.

For example, we saw reports that Windows 10’s November update–build 1511–automatically uninstalled the Windows 7 version of Solitaire and other old Windows desktop games if people went out of their way to install them. We wouldn’t be surprised if a future Windows 10 update uninstalled Windows Media Center. If this happens, the community will hopefully find a workaround once again.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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