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Media Center - Remove and Go Back to Windows 8 Pro

How to Remove "Windows Media Center" and go Back to Windows 8 Pro

information   Information
For some reason or another you may decide to remove the Windows 8 Media Center Pack from your computer. However, since the Windows 8 Media Center Pack has changed your product key, the normal means of removing it is to do a full reinstall of Windows 8 Pro.

This tutorial will show you how to remove the added Windows 8 Media Center Pack to go back to just Windows 8 Pro without Media Center while not losing your settings, files, or apps.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.



Note   Note
You will need to have the Windows 8 Pro installation media (either a DVD or the .ISO) along with your old Windows 8 Pro product key to be able to do this tutorial.

The tutorial below can help show you how to download the Windows 8 .ISO file.

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 ISO - Download or Create



warning   Warning
This tutorial only works to remove the Windows 8 Media Center Pack from an install that has a valid Windows 8 Pro key.

This tutorial will not work if you upgraded from Windows 8 by purchasing a Windows 8 Pro Pack.





Here's How:

1. On the start screen, type "regedit" and hit enter.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes.

3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion. It should look somewhat like this:

registry.png


4. Double click/tap on EditionID and ProductName, change the values to the ones in the red boxes in the screenshot above, and click/tap OK.

5. Close Registry Editor, restart the computer, and sign in to Windows 8.

6. Insert your Windows 8 installation DVD/USB, and run Setup.exe. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes.

7. Select (dot) Go online to install updates now, and click/tap on Next.

Updates.jpg

8. Input your Windows 8 Pro product key when required. (see screenshot below)

Step-3A.jpg


9. Select the Keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps option, then click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Untitled.png


10. Click/tap on Install. (see screenshot below)

Install.jpg


11. Pick up at step 11 in OPTION FOUR of the tutorial below to continue and finish the upgrade process.

Upgrade Install to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1

12. When finished, your Windows 8 Pro should be completely identical to how it was before, except it will no longer have Windows Media Center. Your old installation will have moved to a folder called Windows.old, so follow the tutorial below to remove it if you want to free up that space.

Windows.old Folder - Delete in Windows 8


 

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Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
DK,

I'm glad to hear it went well. :)
 

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    Lumia 1520 phone

jmsnyc

New Member
I have a Surface Pro that came with Windows 8, which I then updated to 8.1.

I added WMC and the key is no good, so I tried to follow this. The only thing is that when I click on the iso link they are for retail versions. None recognize my original product key.

I tried a System Restore point but it goes back only to where I added WMC but before I restarted.

Can I use the "refresh" option rather than an ISO ? I also would be happy to buy a new WMC key for the $9.99 but I do not know how to do it because of the add features already thinks it worked. Is there a way to buy a key seperately, that would be easier for me then to try and get correct iso, burn to usb and reinstall.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
I have a Surface Pro that came with Windows 8, which I then updated to 8.1.

I added WMC and the key is no good, so I tried to follow this. The only thing is that when I click on the iso link they are for retail versions. None recognize my original product key.

I tried a System Restore point but it goes back only to where I added WMC but before I restarted.

Can I use the "refresh" option rather than an ISO ? I also would be happy to buy a new WMC key for the $9.99 but I do not know how to do it because of the add features already thinks it worked. Is there a way to buy a key seperately, that would be easier for me then to try and get correct iso, burn to usb and reinstall.

Hello jmsync,

I'm not sure how you added WMC to begin with since it requires a valid WMC key to be able to add it.

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/6559-windows-media-center-add-windows-8-a.html

How did you originally add WMC?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
In that case, you should be able to refresh or reset Windows to sort it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
Unless you have an image backup available, I'm not sure there's any other option available since you don't have a restore point available dated before this. :(
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

DK2014

New Member
I also would be happy to buy a new WMC key for the $9.99 but I do not know how to do it because of the add features already thinks it worked. Is there a way to buy a key seperately, that would be easier for me then to try and get correct iso, burn to usb and reinstall.

I spent the better part of an hour on the phone with most of MS's Indian employees trying to just buy the key. Cannot be done. If you don't get it from within windows via the upgrade process, you can't get it. At least not the $9.99 version. They'll happily sell you you the $100 key.. as I was asked if I wanted it a dozen times. I was flat out told you cannot buy the $9.99 key directly from them. I was in the same situation as you. Tried to use the 'freebie' key I snagged back a year or two ago. It expired apparently.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8.1 pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop

jmsnyc

New Member
I ended up refreshing after undoing the regedit mentioned earlier in this thread.

This sadly reverted me back to Windows 8 and now I am stuck on Windows Update issues, which I need to resolve before reinstalling W8.1

I though refresh was not suppose to remove programs but it seems like it did.

Anyway, as I mentioned the hassle was not worth the $10. I think Microsoft should have included WMC in 8 Pro especially since they are basically not even supporting it anymore.

Lessons Learned:
* Create System Restore Point before trying anything like this
* Have a better recovery strategy which may lead me to starting a new thread - unless I find a good existing one
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1

fransisqo

New Member
Thanks OP. I signed up to this forum because this post helped me a lot. Since it's now 2014 and most people are on Win 8.1, I thought I'd share my problem and resolution.

Basically, I had Win 8 Pro upgrade key, updated to Win 8.1 (free from Windows Store), I then applied the free Win 8 Media Center key (from 2013) which invalidated my Win 8.1 Pro key. I was going to follow this guide to restore Windows using my Win 8 Pro install disk. However, since I already upgraded to Win 8.1, the installer did not give me the option to keep my settings, files and apps (as per step 9 of this guide). To overcome this, I had to:

1. Download Windows 8.1 Pro install files by following this guide. Note that step 2 of that guide is particularly important to allow 8.1 ISO to be downloaded using a Win 8 key.

2. After creating my new Win 8.1 Pro install disk, I followed the guide in this post.
Make sure that in Step 3, the ProductName is set "Windows 8.1 Pro". For step 8, use the generic Win 8.1 Pro key: XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB (or see this guide for other Win 8.1 versions).

3. It then gave me the option to keep settings, files and apps. Continue install as per this guide.

4. Once Win 8.1 Pro has been reinstalled, you can then activate your Windows 8.1 Pro with your Windows 8 key (again see this guide for info).

After doing the above, I was able to get back my Windows 8.1 Pro activated and without Media Center. My apps and settings were all there as well. Again, thanks to Original Poster for this handy guide.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop

sharif9991

Bread scientist
Can I directly Jump to Windows 8.1 Pro ?

(Seems like an old article)
 

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    w8.1 pro
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    custom
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    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO
    Memory
    kingston 8gb
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    GTX 970 STRIX
    Sound Card
    ASUS xonar DG
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    Dell U2412M,LG 24MP55HQ
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    1920x1200,1920x1080
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    1tb+500gb
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    Cooler master V6
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    Logitech MK260 Combo with the mouse but not using the mouse
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    Logitech G400s
    Internet Speed
    40mbps
    Browser
    chrome/firefox
    Antivirus
    -
    Other Info
    controller>xbox controller

sharif9991

Bread scientist
Thanks OP. I signed up to this forum because this post helped me a lot. Since it's now 2014 and most people are on Win 8.1, I thought I'd share my problem and resolution.

Basically, I had Win 8 Pro upgrade key, updated to Win 8.1 (free from Windows Store), I then applied the free Win 8 Media Center key (from 2013) which invalidated my Win 8.1 Pro key. I was going to follow this guide to restore Windows using my Win 8 Pro install disk. However, since I already upgraded to Win 8.1, the installer did not give me the option to keep my settings, files and apps (as per step 9 of this guide). To overcome this, I had to:

1. Download Windows 8.1 Pro install files by following this guide. Note that step 2 of that guide is particularly important to allow 8.1 ISO to be downloaded using a Win 8 key.

2. After creating my new Win 8.1 Pro install disk, I followed the guide in this post.
Make sure that in Step 3, the ProductName is set "Windows 8.1 Pro". For step 8, use the generic Win 8.1 Pro key: XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB (or see this guide for other Win 8.1 versions).

3. It then gave me the option to keep settings, files and apps. Continue install as per this guide.

4. Once Win 8.1 Pro has been reinstalled, you can then activate your Windows 8.1 Pro with your Windows 8 key (again see this guide for info).

After doing the above, I was able to get back my Windows 8.1 Pro activated and without Media Center. My apps and settings were all there as well. Again, thanks to Original Poster for this handy guide.
This is perfect!! Thank you for sharing this information
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    w8.1 pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    custom
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO
    Memory
    kingston 8gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    GTX 970 STRIX
    Sound Card
    ASUS xonar DG
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U2412M,LG 24MP55HQ
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200,1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1tb+500gb
    PSU
    Corsair CX 600 watts
    Case
    Thermaltake M5
    Cooling
    Cooler master V6
    Keyboard
    Logitech MK260 Combo with the mouse but not using the mouse
    Mouse
    Logitech G400s
    Internet Speed
    40mbps
    Browser
    chrome/firefox
    Antivirus
    -
    Other Info
    controller>xbox controller

sharif9991

Bread scientist
@Op I suggest adding these
  • Update post to direct W8.1 pro
  • Make sure to uninstall antivirus such as AVAST
  • Update Registry edit to
    After creating my new Win 8.1 Pro install disk, I followed the guide in this post. Make sure that in Step 3, the ProductName is set "Windows 8.1 Pro"
  • Use generic ID for people with windows 8 key and than add it later after installation
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    w8.1 pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    custom
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO
    Memory
    kingston 8gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    GTX 970 STRIX
    Sound Card
    ASUS xonar DG
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U2412M,LG 24MP55HQ
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200,1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1tb+500gb
    PSU
    Corsair CX 600 watts
    Case
    Thermaltake M5
    Cooling
    Cooler master V6
    Keyboard
    Logitech MK260 Combo with the mouse but not using the mouse
    Mouse
    Logitech G400s
    Internet Speed
    40mbps
    Browser
    chrome/firefox
    Antivirus
    -
    Other Info
    controller>xbox controller

Terrum

New Member
Thanks OP. I signed up to this forum because this post helped me a lot. Since it's now 2014 and most people are on Win 8.1, I thought I'd share my problem and resolution.

Basically, I had Win 8 Pro upgrade key, updated to Win 8.1 (free from Windows Store), I then applied the free Win 8 Media Center key (from 2013) which invalidated my Win 8.1 Pro key. I was going to follow this guide to restore Windows using my Win 8 Pro install disk. However, since I already upgraded to Win 8.1, the installer did not give me the option to keep my settings, files and apps (as per step 9 of this guide). To overcome this, I had to:

1. Download Windows 8.1 Pro install files by following this guide. Note that step 2 of that guide is particularly important to allow 8.1 ISO to be downloaded using a Win 8 key.

2. After creating my new Win 8.1 Pro install disk, I followed the guide in this post.
Make sure that in Step 3, the ProductName is set "Windows 8.1 Pro". For step 8, use the generic Win 8.1 Pro key: XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB (or see this guide for other Win 8.1 versions).

3. It then gave me the option to keep settings, files and apps. Continue install as per this guide.

4. Once Win 8.1 Pro has been reinstalled, you can then activate your Windows 8.1 Pro with your Windows 8 key (again see this guide for info).

After doing the above, I was able to get back my Windows 8.1 Pro activated and without Media Center. My apps and settings were all there as well. Again, thanks to Original Poster for this handy guide.
This is a brilliant fix. Really appreciated!

But unfortunately since performing this downgrade from Windows 8 Media Center to Windows 8 Pro, I've experienced a few issues:
- IE11 will only access msn.com (Chrome will access any site, I can only presume this issue is related to the Windows Update issue explained below)
- Start screen will freeze up sometimes (May be completely irrelevant)
- Windows Updates will not check for updates with the following error code: 80072F8F (My computer and BIOS time, date and timezone are all correct)

Any suggestions?

EDIT: Actually it seems to be that I can't access any secure site (any site with HTTPS). Even though it works fine in Chrome. I can't access the IP directly either (if I were to ping google.com and try type the IP into IE).
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1

DaedalusWren

New Member
It is unfortunate, but I have tried 4 times to downgrade from Windows 8.1Pro/wmc to standard 8,1 Pro, and have failed every time. The install seems to work, then upon the first startup afterwards, the windows starts to load and then the system resets. When windows loads again it shows a screen stating that "We couldn't install windows 8.1. We've set your PC back to the way it was before you started installing..."with the code 0x101-0x20017. I have looked around and tried disabling startup programs and anything else I have found. it is quite perplexing. Has anyone else run into this and if so, what may have gotten them over this issue? Thanks.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 wmc

NoInkling

New Member
It is unfortunate, but I have tried 4 times to downgrade from Windows 8.1Pro/wmc to standard 8,1 Pro, and have failed every time. The install seems to work, then upon the first startup afterwards, the windows starts to load and then the system resets. When windows loads again it shows a screen stating that "We couldn't install windows 8.1. We've set your PC back to the way it was before you started installing..."with the code 0x101-0x20017. I have looked around and tried disabling startup programs and anything else I have found. it is quite perplexing. Has anyone else run into this and if so, what may have gotten them over this issue? Thanks.
This happened to me, over and over. Basically I just kept uninstalling programs/drivers between attempts until it eventually worked. MS Office was one of the last programs I tried uninstalling (among a few others) before it worked, so that may have been the culprit.

Additionally you might want to try a clean boot, and some others have reported success removing unnecessary hardware (e.g. disconnecting secondary hard drives, etc.)

Good luck, I basically wasted a whole day on it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1

kurkosdr

New Member
Ouch! I still can't believe a silly Media Center app forced me to do an in-place upgrade of the entire OS! At what planet does a Media Center app is so interwoven with the OS that it requires forklifting the OS to remove?

And how about checking if the Media Pack key I was sold was blacklisted BEFORE making the so-called "OS upgrade" from an otherwise legit and activated installation? (I have the envelope with the COA sticker and everything)

Definitely a black spot from a software vendor otherwise known for an effortless software activation experience.

And as a nerd who views "upgraded" Windows installations as slower and buggier than clean installed ones (before that, all my Windows installations were clean installed) I am still worked up over this.

Seriously, whoever at Microsoft is responsible for making "Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center" its own OS version can drop dead.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell/Alienware
    CPU
    I7-4800MQ
    Motherboard
    Alienware
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GTX770M
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

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