Can one replace MCE with XP Pro?

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
I've recently ordered a PC from Dell Outlet. It's quite a good match for what I want, except for one thing: it has Windows MCE installed on it, and I really have no use for that. I've got an unused Windows XP Pro disc available. Obviously I could, if I wanted, simply reformat the drive and start over from scratch, but that would be a bit tedious. Do you think it would work if I did an XP installation over the top of the existing MCE install, thus (hopefully) retaining existing drivers and any installed software? Or is that just asking for trouble?
 

deksawyer

Active Member
MCE is just a very small part of the underlying XP OS. You can treat it like a standard XP install and leave the MCE side dormant if you're not going to be using it.

Leave it as is would be my recommendation.

D.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
Stick a telly tuner in it - you'll soon be hooked.

MCE is XP, with the MCE app added. If you never run MCE then it's XP. The only difference I've seen is that the windows theme is a darker blue.
 

deksawyer

Active Member
The only difference I've seen is that the windows theme is a darker blue.
oh yeah, I forgot about that.........it's much nicer than XP!
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
MCE is just a very small part of the underlying XP OS. You can treat it like a standard XP install and leave the MCE side dormant if you're not going to be using it.

Leave it as is would be my recommendation.
Okay, well, this begs the question: how completely can you disable the MCE features, and how is this achieved? Is it really just a single application/service, or several?

Also, MCE is presumably built on top of Windows XP Home rather than Windows XP Professional...? Or is that not right? There's some stuff I may need to do in the future which would be a little easier with XP Pro installed rather than the Home version.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
WheresMyArtisan said:
Stick a telly tuner in it - you'll soon be hooked.
I doubt that very much. TV reception in Walthamstow is dismal, and in the ground floor of my house in particular it's even worse. :mad: One or two locals claim that it's the result of Canary Wharf going up - on analogue channels you get an almost perfect double image, one from the transmitter, and one reflected off something (perhaps Canary Wharf tower).
 
D

doink

Guest
WheresMyArtisan said:
Stick a telly tuner in it - you'll soon be hooked.

MCE is XP, with the MCE app added. If you never run MCE then it's XP. The only difference I've seen is that the windows theme is a darker blue.
Actually it isn't, lots has been stripped out of the core.
Ever tried adding to the path string within MCE?
 
D

doink

Guest
NicolasB said:
I doubt that very much. TV reception in Walthamstow is dismal, and in the ground floor of my house in particular it's even worse. :mad: One or two locals claim that it's the result of Canary Wharf going up - on analogue channels you get an almost perfect double image, one from the transmitter, and one reflected off something (perhaps Canary Wharf tower).
I used to live in Leyton some moons ago... has Canary Wharf tower slap bang in line of sight with Crystal Palace too.

If you use a decent internal aerial and a black Gold tuner card you will get reception.

I added a small amount of gain to the signal and it worked perfect.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
My understanding is that it's XP Professional with the MCE app and a few other bits.

The only bit of XP Pro that's missing is the ability to log onto a domain.

I'm no expert though - anything else missing? Is there anything that you can do under XP that MCE won't?
 

ccparkhill

Novice Member
WheresMyArtisan said:
My understanding is that it's XP Professional with the MCE app and a few other bits.

The only bit of XP Pro that's missing is the ability to log onto a domain.

I'm no expert though - anything else missing? Is there anything that you can do under XP that MCE won't?
That's my understanding also, there are ways round the domain limitation, I had MCE running on a domain for a while.
 

stuartmc

Standard Member
It is XP Pro with domain joining disabled. This is required as in order to use an Extender you must have Fast User Switching enabled which is incompatible with the Ctrl-Alt-Del logon of domains. It is possible to have it join a domain as part of the install procedure but you must have an ethernet adapter that has the driver built-in to the install CD or you can slipstream it in. I seem to recall some threads here last year with more details.
 

sanderton

Novice Member
doink said:
Actually it isn't, lots has been stripped out of the core.
Ever tried adding to the path string within MCE?

I just did, worked exactly the same way as normal XP?:confused:
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
WheresMyArtisan said:
My understanding is that it's XP Professional with the MCE app and a few other bits.

The only bit of XP Pro that's missing is the ability to log onto a domain.
Well, that's promising.

So, if I wanted to disable all of the MCE-specific stuff and reduce it to something indistinguishable from XP Pro, how complicated is that?
 

mark.carline

Novice Member
NicolasB said:
So, if I wanted to disable all of the MCE-specific stuff and reduce it to something indistinguishable from XP Pro, how complicated is that?
Why - Whats the point?

XP Pro + MCE bits = MCE 2005

**NOTHING** has been removed from XP Pro in MCE 2005

Apart from a few icons and bitmaps that now display "Media Centre" rather than "XP Professional".

Hmm - Let me guess - You work in an IT dept and you've just put MCE on your laptop and you dont want you boss to find out !?!?
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Actually, maybe he's thinking that there are services running gobbling up memory that are MCE specific and he won't use?

Would seem a sensible thing to me to disable services never gonna be used.


Just my guess though, maybe your right! :D In which case :lesson: should be coming from your boss soon :)
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
mark.carline said:
Hmm - Let me guess - You work in an IT dept and you've just put MCE on your laptop and you dont want you boss to find out !?!?
No. As I said at the beginning of the thread, I've ordered a PC from Dell Outlet which has MCE on it. Dell Outlet machines are substantially cheaper than their standard retail PCs, but you don't get any say in the configuration. I needed something stable, not too slow, and from a single vendor so that if it doesn't work I don't have to faff about trying to figure out which component is defective I can just say to the manufacturer "bloody well sort it out"; and I needed it very cheaply and in a hurry. Of the machines available on Dell outlet at the time with hardware that is adequate for my current needs, this one was the cheapest by a considerable margin; but the fact that it has MCE on it is a nuisance.

Monty Burns said:
Actually, maybe he's thinking that there are services running gobbling up memory that are MCE specific and he won't use?

Would seem a sensible thing to me to disable services never gonna be used.
Yes, precisely: MCE benchmarks significantly slower than XP Pro because of all the extra stuff running in the background. My initial thinking was that I would have to actually replace MCE with XP Pro, but if I can achieve the same effect simply by not launching applications and not running services, that would be better. I'm quite familiar with XP Pro, but not with MCE, so I'm hoping someone can give me a list of the things that need disabling. If not, I guess I can just reformat the hard drive and install XP Pro, but that will be a lot more tedious.
 

avanzato

Active Member
NicolasB said:
I've got an unused Windows XP Pro disc available. Obviously I could, if I wanted, simply reformat the drive and start over from scratch, but that would be a bit tedious.
You want XP Pro and you have XP Pro so why don't you install XP Pro? How is that going to be any more tedious that faffing around trying to get MCE to your preferred state. Alternatively keep MCE, have you got the PC yet and tried it?
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
avanzato said:
You want XP Pro and you have XP Pro so why don't you install XP Pro? How is that going to be any more tedious that faffing around trying to get MCE to your preferred state.
There is some installed software, but it's more to do with device drivers, etc. Doing a full Windows install (including locating and downloading all the latest drivers, at least some of which will probably be Dell-specific) takes quite a long time. I'm also a bit concerned about Warranty implications - if using (say) a more up-to-date driver than the one the machine initially ships with creates some sort of odd instability that the older driver happens to compensate for, it may take me quite some time to pin down, and Dell may not be interested in helping me.

By contrast, if you update a single driver on a previously-working machine, and things go wrong, at least you know what caused it.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
I've recently bought two bargain new Dells that came with completely blank hard disks.

Installing Windows was a doddle. Just go to the dell support site and type in the serial number on the back of the PC. It then gives you the latest drivers for everything in your PC, for free. Works great, and you get rid of any old drivers that were there.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
WheresMyArtisan said:
Just go to the dell support site and type in the serial number on the back of the PC. It then gives you the latest drivers for everything in your PC, for free. Works great, and you get rid of any old drivers that were there.
Well, that would help, certainly. I've done plenty of Windows installations in the past, so it's not that it's scary, it's just rather tedious - not just all the drivers, but installing SP2, and then all the updates from Microsoft Update, etc. :) But perhaps I'll do that rather than messing about with MCE.
 

sanderton

Novice Member
I see four MCE services, all clearly labelled. Pretty sure that's all you'd need to disable.

Come Vista, MCE is built in to all versions of the OS anyway.
 
J

Jay.Dub

Guest
Respectfully I have to disagree with you all... There is a difference, I'm not sure what it is, and yes, it's SUPPOSED to be XP Pro, but all I know is when I installed it on my Dell Dimension some of the Kids' CD-ROMs (which used to work on XP Pro) stopped working... So I reformatted and restored the original XP Pro disks which came with the PC and bought an Elonex Artisan as well!
 
M

martynh

Guest
NicolasB said:
Well, that would help, certainly. I've done plenty of Windows installations in the past, so it's not that it's scary, it's just rather tedious - not just all the drivers, but installing SP2, and then all the updates from Microsoft Update, etc. :) But perhaps I'll do that rather than messing about with MCE.
I would highly recommend re-installing, I did it with my Dell XPS laptop and all the drivers were easily available on the Dell website. The bloatware that comes with Dell machines is appaling :mad: . Also I got my Dell Outlet machine with XP home and wanted MCE, but that's a move I've regretted as I've found MCE to be far less stable than XP home, averaging about one blue screen a week compared to none previously :thumbsdow
 

mark.carline

Novice Member
Jay.Dub said:
Respectfully I have to disagree with you all... There is a difference, I'm not sure what it is, and yes, it's SUPPOSED to be XP Pro, but all I know is when I installed it on my Dell Dimension some of the Kids' CD-ROMs (which used to work on XP Pro) stopped working... So I reformatted and restored the original XP Pro disks which came with the PC and bought an Elonex Artisan as well!
Not my opinion but a fact:

XP PRO + MCE Bits = MCE 2005

The issues you are having maybe due to driver, service pack or security updates.

I still dont understand why people have dual boot XP Pro/Home and MCE setups - Complete waste of time and disk space.

EDIT:

See this link:

http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windowsxp/mediacenter/default.mspx

Quote:

And because Media Center Edition PCs use the reliable, powerful Windows XP Professional operating system, you can also do everything you'd normally do on a PC. You'll enjoy exactly the same power and flexibility you'd get with a Windows XP PC, but when you need a break, you can simply reach for the remote control and relax. You can watch TV, listen to music, browse your digital photos and experience all the entertainment you'd usually get in the living room with the added benefit of having all your digital entertainment in one place ready to enjoy, and a great user-friendly interface and remote control to make it easier than ever to enjoy.
I also found this link in which a large number of people are saying that MCE seems faster than XP Pro:

http://www.neowin.net/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t427283.html

It does mention that the domain joining bit seems to have been switched off (maybe due to licensing) but there are a large number of people that have managed to do it anyway:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/887212/EN-US/?

Roll on vista anyway...
 

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