When it comes to audio, video, and still-image file handling, Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) offers a lot in terms of convenience and overall organization. The problem is that Microsoft has always intended MCE to be installed by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who sell PCs, and not by the end users who spend their hard earned money on them. As a result, those who want to upgrade a system to MCE (or put it on a fresh system) will encounter a few more roadblocks than with the usual Windows install.
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If you're new to OS installs, this will give you the guidelines you'll need to get through the process with a minimum of angst. If you're an installation guru, then you might find a couple of tips to help you avoid any unnecessary time-wasters.
To begin at the beginning: For this exercise in taking control of your computer you'll only need a few items: A copy of MCE, a TV tuner (keep in mind that many systems that come pre-installed with MCE don't come with tuner), DVD player software, and, of course, a PC that you're willing to upgrade. Your computer should also have an available PCI slot or USB connector for the tuner.
1. Check Your Computer
Make sure your system is up to multimedia before you start investing in MCE. More times than not, MCE will work just fine with the hardware you already own. However, if you're looking to upgrade, the best way to go would be a dual core processor in the mid-2GHz range or a single core closer to 3GHz.