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I have Windows Media Center 2005 from MS Univeral Subscription, and I do not see how to install it, there are just 3 CAB files with it

Posted on 2005-04-10
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I got 2 CDs frm MS, and CD1 is just WinXP with   SP2.

The second CD has 3 CAB files in a MEDIACTR folder named  MEDIACTR.CAB,   PLUS.CAB, AND SONIC.CAB

It sounds like you almost have to buy  a new System with Windows Media Center 2005  already installed.

Please help on this
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Question by:Mike Treat
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sciwriter earned 672 total points
ID: 13750154
The >CAB files are viewable and extractable with a program like WINRAR -- a very good archiver, like PKZip.  However, you should not need to do this.  The idea is, if you install XP anew from these CDs, then the setup.exe program automatically looks in the CABs for the MEDIACTR setup and install files.

If you have already got XP installed, and don't want to change, go to these links and install WINRAR --

http://www.rarlab.com/
http://www.rarlab.com/download.htm
http://www.download.com/3000-2250-10007677.html

That program can show you the contents of any MS CAB file, and extract it for you, and if you find a separate SETUP.EXE utiliity, jut run that, and you have the Media center.

I recently got an HP system with Media Center on it.  They wanted the computer for business use.  The only way to get it secure was to completely reformat, wipe out media center, and start with a clean and standard XP install.  Media Center installs all kinds of peer2peer file swapping, and internet links that constantly search the internet for stuff like MP3 and media and movie files.  For business use, we found it to be a total disaster, and could not get rid of it, without formattting the HDD and starting all over again with a clean XP PRO install.  Good Luck !!!
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by:Watzman
Watzman earned 664 total points
ID: 13750161

I've built several Media Center Edition (MCE) systems and I love it.

Media Center is not an add-on to Windows, it's a DIFFERENT operating system, although it's based on XP Pro and ***almost*** is XP Pro (in fact, if you use an XP Pro product key instead of an MCE system, disk 1 will install XP Pro).  While "disc 1" may look like standard Windows XP Pro, IT IS NOT, it's MCE disc one.  What's different is the Setup programs, more than the actual content (the cab files) of the disc itself.  They will do an XP Pro install OR an MCE install, depending on the product key that you use.

Disk 2 contains the things that make Media Center different from XP Pro, although it cannot be used with a standard XP Pro disc, but only with disc one of the MCE set.  Further, as a different OS, you cannot upgrade either XP Home or XP Pro to MCE, you have to do a "full install".  Like I said, it's a different OS.

During the installation, which must be done as a "full install", you will be asked for the 2nd Disc.  The message asking you for the 2nd disc is extremely unclear, in fact I think it actually asks for "SP2" (!!!).  Whatever, when it's installing and asks for another disc, give it the 2nd disc.  [By the way, there is actually a 3rd disc which not everyone gets (and I have not figured out what determines who does and who doesn't get it).  It contains a few add-ons, including a sonic package to enable MCE to burn video DVDs or recorded material, providing that the material is not "flagged" as DRM protected.  I can't tell you how to get the 3rd disc, I took a paid Microsoft class on MCE, and we got it in the class, and I know from MS newsgroups that some other people have received it when they bought an OEM pack of MCE OEM products.]

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by:Watzman
ID: 13750193

A few more comments:  To really use MCE, you need a tuner card and a remote control.  For the tuner, I STRONGLY recommend the Hauppauge PVR-150MCE (about $70; this is a different card than the standard "non-MCE" PVR-150).  For the remote control, you really must use the Microsoft remote control (about $35).  Newegg has the remote; newegg, buy.com and Amazon all have the 150MCE.

The list of peripherals that work with MCE is VERY limited.  You have to take the HCL (hardware compatability list) ***FAR*** more seriously than with any other Microsoft OS, you can run into a LOT of problems if you use unapproved hardware, although I can tell you that ATI Radeon 9600 series video cards do work and are not on the HCL.  Note that you CANNOT use ANY of the ATI "All-in-Wonder" cards, which blows a lot of people away; you also cannot use any of the ATI "TV Wonder" products for the tuner.

MCE is not intended for business use.  One of the few differences between MCE and XP Pro in a negative direction is that MCE cannot log onto an active directory domain .... networking is peer-to-peer only.  There are some unapproved hacks to alter this, but they sacrifice some MCE capability; there were inherint conflicts between some MCE capabilities and domain-based networking.  In almost all other regards, MCE is a superset of XP Pro.  People often ask if the normal desktop is still available, and the answer is that yes, it absolutely is (in fact, in the OEM software release, "Media Center" won't open automatically, but in some OEM hardware configurations, "Media Center" has been made the default user interface, and you have to explicitly exit it to get back to the desktop.  It's all fully user configurable, "Media Center" is just an item in the normal desktop's start menu unless you put it into the "startup" group).

By the way, with XP (any version), you don't any program (such as WinRAR) to browse the contents of either CAB files or Zip files, Windows knows their structure and treats such files as a "folder", just double-click and it opens, and then you can, if you want to, drag-and-drop without using any type of archiving program.  Sometimes, you can even run an install that's in a Zip file without first extracting the Zip file at all.


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by:mysticaldan
mysticaldan earned 664 total points
ID: 13751696
Read here. MCE 2005 comes with its own hardware and cannot be installed on non properietary machines.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/upgrade/MCE2004.mspx

I dont think u can use this installation of MCE2005

MS very clearly states "The newest version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, is a Windows XP operating system available only on Media Center personal computers. Because of their special hardware feature requirements, Media Center PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are available only from Microsoft PC manufacturer partners. If you are interested in purchasing a Media Center PC, you can visit one of these retailers."



Dan
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by:Watzman
ID: 13752843

Mysticaldan, you are incorrect.  MCE 2005 was introduced as an "OEM" software product on October 12th of last year.  It is available to SYSTEM BUILDERS as software only, you can build your own system from scratch.  While technically available only to "System Builders" who are Microsoft partners in OEM 3-packs and 30-packs, in fact those packs are being broken up and sold separately (and legally, at least in some cases) -- on E-Bay, and from dealers such as Newegg, it goes for about $135 (very similar to the OEM price of Windows XP Pro).  Based on everything that he's saying, that's what the author of this question has.
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by:sciwriter
ID: 13754313
Myslicaldan is quite correct -- the Media Center edition is just that -- an EDITION of windows XP.  It is still the Windows XP operating system.  The statement above, that --

<<Media Center is not an add-on to Windows, it's a DIFFERENT operating system >>

Is simply WRONG.  It sould seem that this respondent doesn't know the difference between an operating system and an INTERFACE.  Media Center is merely XP with a different Interface.  MS has several of them that they are evolving, one their "web", another "media" -- just because this interface functionality is stamped over the OS, does not make it a different OS.

AVBMIKET, The disks you have are basically as you discerned them.  The CD 1 is windows XP, and disk two contains the main ADD-ONS  to make meadia center.  The way MS develops this kind of software follows a pattern.  They provide the core OS as a CD fairly much universal across the product line, and they add the additional functionality in the other CABs on the "PLUS" disk -- this is a technique that MS has followed for over 10 years, ever since windows 95.

The reason I suggested above, that you use WINRAR is for your own education -- you can infact look at all the software in these CABS and you *COULD* use it to extract and install those features, if you wanted to -- I emphasize COULD, because you really don't want to.  In all these CDS that are part of a suite, such as media center, MS also changes the install files -- so to get the "FULL" media center install, you have to START with the first CD, and go from there, because it is that CD which gives the SETUP instructions for the rest of the OS installation -- you can add the components of the "interface" in the PLUS.CAB, and you can add the components of the others from their CABS.

I do not recommend doing this, however, you will in all liklihood get a fragemented installation.  The big point I was making is that this product requires a NEW, FROM SCRATCH installation.  Any to a certain degree, you indeed MUST have a particular hardware platform for it to work correctly on.  Although, YES, you can approximate or duplicate the right hardware platform, as MysticalDan said, it is generally not something an end user can do -- MS intended system builders to do that part of it.

Key Point --
-----------
The primary point I made, which is still an indisputable fact, is that Media Center puts all kinds of services and applets in to the OS which constantly scan the internet sites for downloads, MP3s other music sites, video, and other "content" that MS and others partnering on this "venture" want to "Push" to you -- and you pay subscriptions for all this stuff.  And what you get is a version of XP that runs SO SLOW because of all this internet content checking -- some of which you can undo -- and a interface that is so different from XP, it seems to be "dysfunctional" to a normal XP user, that this is why we simply WIPE IT OFF.  The user thinks there is something wrong with their system.  IN addition to this, you have all your personal information delivered to these sites on subscription basis, and because you are on music sites, checking all the time for content, you are paying and risking review by the RIAA.

Note to others comenting here -- << Mysticaldan, you are incorrect. >>  As I said before, this type of comment is inappropriate for EE.  Dan is quoting Microsoft, and indeed, from the end user's perspective, what he quoted is exactly correct.  As said before, this is not a forum to point out where people are wrong, it decreases the value of their individual contributions.  This is a forum to add your own perspective to the issue.  We all hope you can continue to do that without feeling the need to try to point out that others, like Dan and I, are incorrect, when in fact, we are exactly right.  And you don't need to take issue with this comment either, what is contained here is also correct.
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by:sciwriter
ID: 13754366
correction -- "in would seem" -- and
<<Although, YES, you can approximate or duplicate the right hardware platform, as MysticalDan said, it is generally not something an end user can do -- MS intended system builders to do that part of it.>>
should have read "as watzman said"  -- apologize for those errors, long day....
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by:Watzman
ID: 13754459

Microsoft considers MCE to be a different OS than XP Pro.  There is more to MCE than just an interface.  I'm a Microsoft partner, and a registered member of their "System Builder" program, and I took paid Microsoft classe in MCE, and I'm a frequent contributor to microsoft.public.windows.mediacenter.  You can't convert XP Pro to XP MCE -- the differences are much deeper than adding the "media center" interface, for example, as I noted, there is no domain networking in XP MCE.  At some level, I guess that this could be a matter of definition as to whether or not it's really a "different" operating system, but I prefer to take the view that I'll accept Microsoft's own definition, and they consider both MCE and the Tablet version of XP to be different operating systems.

CD1 is not EXACTLY the XP Pro CD; it's setup program is quite different, and it installs XP Pro or XP MCE depending on the product key, but the differences are not simply "adding" the contents of the 2nd disc, some things are omitted as well.

It's certainly true that XP does a lot of network access -- it has a program guide (TV program guide) that it keeps updated, and it seeks out and downloads information about media on the PC, such as album information about music on the computer (including JPEG images of the album cover artwork).  However, all of this is free, there will be no unsolicited attempts to "sell" you anything, or even any unsolicited "popups", although as with Media player, there are links present to paid music download sites if you want to use them.

As for "Dan is quoting Microsoft" when he says "The newest version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, is a Windows XP operating system available only on Media Center personal computers. Because of their special hardware feature requirements, Media Center PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are available only from Microsoft PC manufacturer partners. If you are interested in purchasing a Media Center PC, you can visit one of these retailers." ...

That's a question of perspective.  MCE is sold as stand-alone software to be installed on a system built by a system builder.  But in Microsoft's view, the "system builder" is not the "end user", but an intermediate party which Microsoft classifies as an "OEM".  Prior to last October 12th, you had to be a "BIG" OEM (Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.) to get MCE.  However, since last October 12th, it's been available as software-only in 3-packs to Microsoft's OEMs and, in fact, legally, in quanty one units (broken down 3-packs and 30-packs) not only on E-Bay but even from outlets such as Newegg and Buy.com, with Microsofts full knowledge and consent (you may, however, have to buy it with hardware, although "hardware" can mean as little as an IDE cable).  Technically, from MS' perspective it's still an OEM product, so the comment that it's not available to end user's without hardware is correct.  However, it's most certainly no longer correct that you still have to buy a whole computer to get it.  This was literally true prior to last October 12th, but has not been true since release of the software-only as an OEM system builder product.
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by:sciwriter
ID: 13755065
<< CD1 is not EXACTLY the XP Pro CD; it's setup program is quite different,>>
That is exactly what I said.
<<It's certainly true that XP does a lot of network access>>
Correction, you mean media center, which according to you is not XP
<<At some level, I guess that this could be a matter of definition as to whether or not it's really a "different" operating system>>
The definition of an operating system is very clear from an historical perspective, as that series or assemlage of low level functions, system services, and hardware hooks which allow other programs to draw on the resources of the operating system to function.  XP is this core functionality in media center, that is why they call it Media Center "edition" of XP.  Adding and subtracting some interface components doesn't make it a different operating system.  In fact, here is the stated definition, not the hype you picked up on in class --
"The newest version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, is a Windows XP operating system available only on Media Center personal computers"
That's a clear admission of the fact that it is the XP operating system with various features added or subtracted, and as I said above, those are decided in the setup files on CD1, which is why a person can ADD the features from CD2, but they won't get a duplicate of the MC without a new install from CD1.

And once you have actually used this Media Center "Edition" of XP (MS's own labelling), you realize that there is none of those extra programs that are worth putting on the computer, unless you want the computer to spend over 50% of CPU resources scanning the internet for marketing media, music that you have to pay for each access, and that kind of stuff.  Anyone who wants that is jumping for the microsoft marketing hype, supported by all their "partners" who usually get kickbacks from it in one form or another.
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by:sciwriter
ID: 13755081
Anyway, AVBMIKET, give MC a try if you are game.  I'd bet you will wipe it off a week later, unless you want to spend all time on the computer immersed in media, marketing, and "push" concepts.  The people we removed it fo,r considered their computers "defective", until we removed MC, and then they were as happy as can be -- "thank you for giving me a new computer back."  Nope, all we did was get them back to a clean, super-efficient, install of XP, unfettered by this extraneous media center baggage.
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by:Watzman
ID: 13755099

You miss the point.  MCE is not for a computer in an office, it's for a "TiVo-like" device on steroids in a an entertainment system.  It's for replacing a VCR, DVD-Player and CD player.  You have to understand that point, and use it that way, to appreciate it.  It's a fantastic system -- or should I say device -- but it's not, and was not intended by Microsoft to be -- a desktop computer (or desktop computer operating system).
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by:sciwriter
ID: 13755453
<< You miss the point >>
No, I understand MS marketing perfectly -- have for decades.  But people who buy the computers think it is equivalent to a normal desktop PC with added media capabilities -- I think the questioner got that idea, certainly the people whom we helped had that same idea, and I think partly because MS likes to promote the idea of universal appeal to all.

<<it's not, and was not intended by Microsoft to be -- a desktop computer operating system) >>

That is the clearest statement you've made to help this questioner focus on the bottom line, as I see it.

As a final comment, and I think this discussion has cleared a lot of the air about this media center marketng that MS has been promoting recently --

1. the systems like HP that are sold configured for media center make overpriced, rather inefficient replacements for a "home entertainment center", but

2. when you remove MC and put on a normal installation of XP, that same computer works GREAT !!!!
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by:mysticaldan
ID: 13759376
I would like to add a little something. We all know how MS monopolises the market with its products. If it was IE and Media Player integration that forced a legal battle now its MCE.

Agreed that if u can assemble the hardware which is very little compatible as MS itself says then u can ideally installl MCE2005  on it. Would someone want to do that?? Firstly that involves buying the same parts that MS uses maybe a little different but all in all have to be in the same sphere that MS uses.

Can a normal user do that? I suppose NO! A power user maybe YES but a normal average user who is used to putting in a CD of XP or 2000 and running setup and just going abt installing drivers and programs, can he? I dont suppose so which is why MS has specifically used the retaliers for this thing.

When u say its available as OEM with hardware. WHo is it for? FOr u and me? Who already wud be able to figure out the related hardware part rather than the IDE cable or for the average Joe who has a TV tuner card in his system and wud like to install Windows MCE2005 cause its the latest thing around?

avbmiket i would suggest that u start with MCE 2004 before you decide to jump for 2005 if u want too. As for installing it since u have a legal copy of MCE2005 and the activation. The moment u get in touch with MS Univerdal Subscribtion they will guide you what u have to do to proceed ahead. If howevere its a borrowed copy u wont be able to make much use of it since MS wud know its already been activated once or twice as the case may be. On activation at the site a program shud download on to ur computer to complete the installtion of MCE2005 from the cab files. Thoise cab files are not meant to be used alone or extracted by u and used. They are for the setup program to use once u have activated ur subscribtion on the MS site.

Dan

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by:Watzman
ID: 13762439

I don't agree that there is a relationship between IE and Media player on a normal desktop, and MCE.  If you actually have an MCE system and use it -- in your living room, connected to a projection TV and a multi-channel high-end sound system -- you know it's just a very different product than a desktop computer.  It's targeted at an entirely different market, it's targeted at the "TiVo" market, although I won't deny that MS would like to dominate that market also.

Can the average user build an MCE system?  No way -- it was difficult even for me.  The integration, which requires software that does not come with Windows XP MCE, is "challenging".  Which is why MCE is not a retail product.  You can't go into CompUSA or Best Buy and pickup a copy of MCE by itself (software only), although you can do this with a copy of Windows XP Pro.  Until last October, you could not buy the software alone from any source at all (unless you were a big OEM .... Dell, HP, Gateway, Sony, etc.).  Now you can, but from Microsoft's perspective, it's an OEM product, not a retail product.  In their view, it's not available to "end users".

However, as to the suggestion to " start with MCE 2004 before you decide to jump for 2005", that's not only not a good idea, it's impossible; MCE 2004 did not exist as a software-only product, so he doesn't have it, and since it didn't exist in that form, he can't get it.  Second, MCE is, still, a work in progress.  From the experiences of the people who have 2004 on large OEM systems (Dell, HP, Gateway, Sony, etc.), 2005 is a much better system.  And the next version will be better still, although thee's a lot of discussion as to whether it will be MCE 2005 SP1 or MCE 2006 or MCE longhorn.
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by:mysticaldan
ID: 13769742
Well reading ur review doesnt make me very comfortable abt MCE at all. Not to mention MCE 2005. So how do you expect our friend here to install MCE2005 on his system? In your own words its not meant for us. More like a TiVo competitor and best left to be for people best suited for him otherwise you are left hanging with the same question that what do i do with the 3 .cab files on the CD?

Being challenging to an experienced person like urself itself makes it difficult for the average user. I am not exactly suggesting that the user jump for MCE 2004 I am asking him to give it a try even as an addon. Off course he wud have to pay money for it so might as well go in for MCE 2005 which is almost impossible to setup and install along withj the hardware by experienced people.

Right now the primary concern is how does the asker get to use the MCE 2005 CD's he has. We can debate day and night abt other stuff i guess *smile*

IMHO its not possible as told my MS itself and i stick by that. Not unless the asker has all the ready compatible hardware to go with this 2 CD pack he has. If he does then he needs to activate it via the MS site where he will be guided by applets to activate and install/setup his MCE2005. Prior to this he needs to setup the XP SP2 he has gotten alongside. I am sure the asker wants to install MCE 2005 but it doesnt seem possible for me to assume he can go abt it with the complications involved. I suggest he get in touch with an OEM retailer of MS to get this done. We are not talkking just instaling a windows by running setup. Its a hi tech machine he is buildinbg and is not meant for a normal user.

Dan
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by:Watzman
ID: 13771586

Dan, the issues here are a bit different than you suspect.

The 3 cab files on the 2nd CD are installed automatically by the setup program, although the message asking you to insert the 2nd CD is mis-worded (I think it asks for SP2 instead of the 2nd CD, that's my recollection).

And, to repeat, MCE 2004 was not, was never and is not available as software only (even at the OEM level), so all discussion of MCE 2004 is kind of pointless.  It's a discussion of a product that, as software only, simply doesn't exist.  When discussing MCE, you really have to discuss MCE 2005.

But the real issues with using WinXP MCE are that:

- MCE is compatabile with a relatively narrow selection of hardware
- successful installation requires 3rd party software that does not come with the OS (specifically a DVD decoder)
- Unconventional hardware is required in the system (e.g. TV tuner and remote control)
- Proper integration of everything is more challenging than a typical desktop system build
- Many people who buy these understand neither the benefits nor the limitations of the end product

However, a working MCE system is a truly wonderful entertainment device which I believe is without equal as an entertainment system component.

MCE is meant for OEMs building MCE systems that they are selling and installing, often these are high-end audio/video stores selling $5,000 to $20,000 HDTV-based home entertainment systems.  The build and integration is more difficult than for a normal desktop, even for the guy who builds his own desktop systems but has no training or experience with MCE (as I mentioned, I took a paid Microsoft class in MCE).

Of course you can buy a ready-built system from HP, Sony, Dell, etc., but they are, in my experience, far inferior to what you can custom build, and many of the people buying them don't realize what they are buying (for example, Sciwriter's customer).

The key here is that MCE is not sold by Microsoft as a retail product.  It's intended that the software-only packages are going to be bought by an OEM with training and experince in MCE, just as the POS (point of sale -- cash register) system that Microsoft sells is also not offered for retail sale and is intended for OEMs who specialize in such systems.

I built early "media center systems" in 1997, based on standard windows (98, at the time), ATI "All-in-Wonder" cards and software and Winamp and Musicmatch music software.  I was upset, when MCE first came out (2001?) that you could not buy just the OS (and I continued using ATI / Winamp / Musicmatch).  Now that MCE is available as OEM software and I've built a few of them, I understand why things are the way that they are.  But that does not diminish how great I think that this product is, when properly built, for it's intended application.  Although MCE is still a "work in progress" with a few obvious major improvements needed, it's still a fantastic product, one which in my view is without equal for it's intended application.  But if it's intended application is not what you are planning to buy, then clearly it's a very inappropriate operating system.
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by:mysticaldan
ID: 13967178
The question has been answered. If the asker has any more doubts he is welcome to clear them up. The answer can be PAQ'ed with a points awarded.

Dan
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