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How to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 for free

Did you buy Windows 8 Pro? If so, you're entitled to the Windows Media Center Pack for free - but only for a limited time

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Earlier this year I suggested that because Microsoft was unbundling Windows Media Center from Windows 8, fans of the former should avoid upgrading to the latter.

Thankfully, Microsoft plans to charge a reasonable (but still annoying) $9.99 for Windows Media Center. Given how few users actually use the product, I can live with that.

Of course, free is always better. And if you have Windows 8 Pro, you can get Windows Media Center free for a limited time. Here's how:

1. Head to Microsoft's Feature Packs page, scroll down a bit, and fill out the short form to request a free product key.

2. Once you've received the e-mail with the key, press Windows-W (i.e. hold down the Windows key and tap W) to bring up the Settings menu, then type add features.

3. Tap or click Add features to Windows 8, then tap/click I already have a product key.

4. Type or paste in your product key, click Next, read every last word of the licensing agreement (kidding!), and then click Add features.

Presto! You've got Windows Media Center - after a reboot, of course. Some things never change.

This offer is good through January 31, 2013, so you've got time. However, if you don't have the Pro version of Windows 8 and you want WMC, you'll need to pony up $69.99 to get the Windows 8 Pro Pack. Something to think about as you ponder your OS upgrade plans.


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