Microsoft Giving Away Free Media Center Keys For Windows 8

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2012 - 04:55 AM |
Tagged: wmc, windows media center, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, microsoft, free

Microsoft has decided to separate Windows Media Center from its latest operating system, making it a paid add-on to Windows 8 Pro. This has the consequence of making users wanting to upgrade their home theater PCs to Windows 8 have to pay not only for the more expensive Pro version but the add-on pack with WMC as well. Needless to say, I was less than pleased to hear that news. Especially, since CableCard users are stuck with WMC if they want to watch or record any shows flagged with anything more restrictive than copy freely (copy once, copy never).

Fortunately, Microsoft has backed away ever so slightly from that position by giving away free WMC keys to users until January 31, 2013. You will still need to pony up for the Pro version of Windows 8, but at least you will not have to pay for the add-on pack to get what is essentially the same media center that is available in Windows 7.

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You can obtain a key by heading over to this Microsoft web page and entering your email address. The company is offering up a single key per email address. Even if you do not currently have Windows 8, it might be prudent to grab a key just in case. Note that you will need to activate the key by January 2013 or it will expire, however.

Once you have Windows 8 Pro installed, to add Windows Media Center, open up the Start Screen and search for “add features.” Click on “Settings” and then “Add features to Windows 8.” You will then be prompted for a product key, and once you input the key Microsoft emailed to you, follow the remaining prompts to install it. A restart will be required (and is automatic, so save any open documents!), and then you can get your WMC fix.

The promotion will end on January 2013 so grab the free keys while they last!

Read more about Windows 8 at PC Perspective.

Source: Microsoft
October 28, 2012 | 06:55 AM - Posted by ET3D (not verified)

Thanks! Microsoft said when the $39 deal was announced that Media Center will also be free during that promotion, but I had no idea how it would be tied to Windows 8. I'm happy it's a key and not something tied to a specific installation, because my plan is to buy Win 8 and then keep using 7 for a while.

October 28, 2012 | 04:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Long live media center!!!

October 28, 2012 | 08:14 PM - Posted by JSL

Just a heads up to everyone who hasnt read the fine print...

* Offer valid from October 26, 2012, until January 31, 2013, and is limited to five licenses per customer per promotion. To install Windows 8 Pro Pack, you must be running Windows 8. Internet access fees may apply. Prices shown are estimated retail prices; actual price may vary by retailer. If you purchase a new PC with Windows 8 preinstalled and you later upgrade that PC withWindows 8 Pro Pack, Windows 8 Media Center Pack, a volume license edition, or a retail edition, you will no longer be able to install apps that are provided exclusively from your PC manufacturer through the Windows Store. Get the full details on our special offers.** Windows 8 Media Center Pack is available at no charge for a limited time only through this promotional page on Windows.com. If you obtain Windows 8 Media Center Pack through any other location fees might apply. Offer valid from October 26, 2012, until January 31, 2013, and is limited to one product key per email address. You qualify for this promotion if your PC is runningWindows 8 Pro. Additional hardware may be required to watch and record live TV. You must provide a valid email address to receive your Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key. Your product key must be activated no later than January 31, 2013. Microsoft will only contact you at the email address you provide to send you your product key and to remind you when the activation period for your product key is ending. Catalysis Corporation is a third-party company we use to collect subscription information and process the delivery of these emails. If you purchase a new PC withWindows 8 preinstalled and you later upgrade that PC with Windows 8 Pro Pack, Windows 8 Media Center Pack, a volume license edition, or a retail edition, you will no longer be able to install apps that are provided exclusively from your PC manufacturer through the Windows Store. Get the full details on our special offers.

Essentially, offer ends January 31, and keys will EXPIRE after said date as well. I've bolded the relevant exerpt. You might want to add that tidbit of info for those thinking of keeping the key for use after said date.

Those of you who activate via a KMS host for 180 day periods, entering the new key for the addon will convert said install into one that is perminately activated no longer requireing kms activation (for those of you who have already deployed windows 8 clients or are working for a company that has said implementation in use)

October 30, 2012 | 12:26 PM - Posted by Mr. Old School (not verified)

FTL, the same day I get Media Center installed on my HTPC the local cable company went and encrypted all the basic channels! GaaAAAAHHHH!!!!

So, I went and checked the possibility of OTA where I live and i'm 41 miles away from the broadcast antennas which means I would need a "Violet" level antenna mounted outdoors facing SouthEast, but I live in an apartment that fast NW and the renters agreement prohibits antennas on the roof. I'm going to try an antenna indoors just for the hell of it, but I have no expectation that it will work.

October 30, 2012 | 01:12 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Ouch, that really sucks :( You could go with a CableCard and tuner setup with WMC and get everything but On Demand.

November 27, 2012 | 03:36 AM - Posted by Two B (not verified)

That is okey.l will accept your policy.

January 25, 2013 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

OK, if I activate this key, and have to reinstall later due to an OS reinstall, will this key still work, or is it a one shot deal?

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