Windows Media Center is Dead: Here Are Your Alternatives

To help you in playing DVDs and Watching TV in your HTPC we have found some Windows Media Center alternatives that you can use in your PC

Microsoft has confirmed that just like it did with Windows 8, Windows Media Center will not be shipping with any version of its latest operating system. However it is not too new as Windows Media Center already stopped to be shipped as standard Windows Program in Last version of Windows i.e. Windows 8.

However with Windows 8, users had the option to download Windows Media Center for free for a few days from Microsoft and later it could be purchased from Microsoft by paying almost $10. Microsoft has cleared that Windows 10 won’t be shipping with Windows Media Center and also it will not be available to download.

Although this is disappointing for some users, still it makes sense for Microsoft. Microsoft’s Windows Media Center is used most for playing DVDs and Blu-Ray Disks and Microsoft had to pay some licensing fee to play these media disks. Now lots of desktops and laptops are shipping with No DVD Drive and thus it was a waste of money for Microsoft. If you haven’t used Windows Media Center in years, this will have no effect for you. But if you have been using Windows Media Center for your HTPC, be ready to start using some alternatives and even other OS for your Home Theater PC.
To help you in playing DVDs and Watching TV in your HTPC we have found some Windows Media Center alternatives that you can use in your PC, all the programs we are listing here are free to use and some require access to internet to work.

Windows Media Center Alternatives

KODI

windows media center alternatives
Kodi UI with Custom Skin

Formally known as XBMC, Kodi is a perfect Windows Media Center alternative. It is open source, we have already discussed about Kodi in our Pick of Must have Free software list. The UI is slick, easy to use and you can customize almost every aspect of it. Kodi is capable of playing almost all popular media formats.

Download Kodi

MediaPortal 2

windows media center alternatives
MediaPortal 2

Media Portal is also a good alternative for Windows Media Center, it requires .NET framework 4.5 so folks using Windows 7 may have to download an additional update if they haven’t installed Service Pack 1 yet. After installing it you will found that UI is really simple to use and is no brainer. I still found it to be too much simple and it looks a bit old, still if you don’t like Kodi, you can give it a try.
Download MediaPortal 2

VLC Media Player

Okay, it is a bit of cheating, VLC is not exactly a Windows Media Center like program, it is a simple media player, however if you are looking just for an app that can play DVDs VLC can work for you. Plus it has good skinning support and an active user community.
Download VLC

Windows Media Center alternatives -VLC Skinned
VLC Media Player with ModernX skin

CyberLink PowerDVD

New CyberLink PowerDVD is an excellent Windows Media Center alternative if you are ready to pay for it. PowerDVD is, as the name says excellent for Playing Media Disks and other media files saved on local or network storage. PowerDVD supports a 10 foot UI that will work well if you are looking for something to install on your HTPC.

Download PowerDVD

Which Media Center program are you using? And do you find any of given programs to be good enough to replace Windows Media Center completely? Tell us in the comments below…

It Is Not Just a Start Menu: Windows 10 Has Much More

Windows 10 seems to be much more modern and pleasant to use than the Windows 8. In this article we will cover some new (and lesser known) features of Windows 10.

Redmond Street Giant Microsoft is doing hard work to make Windows 10 Perfect. After testing some technical previews of Windows 10 it seems to be much more modern and pleasant to use than the Windows 8. While people are taking most about the arrival of start menu back and Windowed metro apps there are a lot more new and changed features in it. We have already discussed many ways to get many new features of Windows 10 in Windows 7 or 8 in our blog post.

In this article we will cover some new (and lesser known) features of Windows 10.

Getting Windows 10 Features on Windows 8 and Windows 7

New SMOKING HOT DirectX:

DirectX has always been a part of Windows for while. It helped to get hope on PC gaming platform getting back on the right track. And gamers can now rejoice because you can expect drastic increase in gaming performance. DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 did a lot to increase gaming performance but it is being said that DirectX 12 is going to increase gaming performance way too better than the previous versions. May be more than 50%.

New Package Manager:

Those readers who have spent time installing and configuring Software using terminal in Linux know what we mean. It is being said that Windows 10 is coming with a package managing system. It can be comfortably used to install and configuring several new software. Although Package Managers are used by Power Users.

A bit enhanced Command Prompt:

No, CMD is not going to be totally revamped. It is just getting some nifty new tweaks, in Command Prompt of Windows 10 you will be able to use shortcuts to cut copy and paste text. As we all know that CTRL+C is used to copy and CTRL+V is used to paste text but in earlier command Prompt when you will try to do that in CMD in copy command ^C and in paste command will be ^V will be the result. That directly means you could not do that in Command Prompt. Thankfully this irritation is going to be removed.

Xbox Streaming is on the go with a Windows 10 PC

Windows 10 users who also own a Xbox One (not Xbox 360) you can now enjoy streaming Xbox games on your windows 10 computers. To make it more enjoyable you won’t just be able to use it to show off your gaming session but also you can use to play games on the Windows 10 PC once it is connected to Xbox One.

Although that doesn’t mean that you can install Xbox game on your desktop. You need to install it on the Xbox itself and then you can connect your PC to your home network and enjoy streaming.

Microsoft HoloLens

HoloLens (Picture below) is more than a virtual reality and it is a lot different that Google Glass. Unlike Google Glass Microsoft made HoloLens works on augmented reality. Which means you will be able to see a Mixture of both real and virtual objects in a merged environment. It is made clear that Windows 10 is going to support Microsoft HoloLens.

It Is Not Just a Start Menu: Windows 10 Has Much More

Continuum mode in Windows 10

Do you hate Charms in Windows 8? (I swear I do) despite being annoying these are pretty important for those who are using a Touch Screen. Especially on a tablet. In Windows 10 Microsoft has done some tweaks about that.

When you will be using your Windows 10 on a tablet without a mouse or keyboard you will see charms, a full screen start menu and full screen modern apps. If you plug your keyboard or mouse to the tablet you will be asked if you want to switch to desktop mode. If you agree to switch Windows 10 will automatically hide all the charms. Also apps will be running in desktop mode and start menu will no longer be maximized.

Spartan and Cortana will work together

As it is already been cleared that Microsoft is ditching its Internet Explorer and including a new web browser (code named project Spartan) and it will be fully backed by Microsoft virtual assistant Cortana. You will be able to perform searches and other stuff without touching your keyboard.

Microsoft is doing hard to make Windows 10 a worthy upgrade and after testing a few builds it seems that it is working. Windows 10 will be released in Q2 of 2015.

Windows 7 is no longer in mainstream support : Should you worry ?

Windows 7, one of the best OS made by Microsoft has recently gone out of mainstream support, and a lot of people may be worried about it. Should you be? Let’s find out.

Windows 7, one of the best OS made by Microsoft has recently gone out of mainstream support, and a lot of people may be worried about it. Should you be? Let’s find out.

THE SUPPORT SYSTEM

Microsoft has a 10 year software support system for its Operating System. For the first 5 years it is called mainstream support and after that period Windows undergoes to Extended period of support which is also is of 5 years.
In 2014 the extended support for Windows XP was finished. Windows 7 was released in 2009 and now it is the time for Windows 7 is to go to extended support.

SHOULD YOU WORRY?

Absolutely not. Windows 7 will keep running but you will not get the Phone Assistance and Non-Security updates. In mainstream support system Microsoft provides Fixes for Bugs and adds performance enhancements if possible. You are not going to get Non-Security updates anymore. Microsoft will continue to provide Security updates and protection against zero day threats.
Keep running Windows 7 and you will only need to care on January of 2020 when Microsoft will discontinue providing security updates for windows 7

Image Credit : audio90

How To Record your Steps using PSR.EXE

Whenever your PC is  in trouble or you just need to record your clicks and keystrokes, or you have to help anyone about his PC by phone or social media you would have noticed that it is very cumbersome. especially helping someone just by listening on phone or over Facebook. Of course remote desktop is a solution but you need a professional version of windows or any other remote desktop software to do that, luckily every version of windows includes a utility to record your clicks with detailed screenshots. But due to unknown reason Microsoft didn’t publicized this utility, In this article we will guide you through the “Steps Recorder” commonly known as “PSR.exe“. It is an inbuilt application so you don’t have to download anything from internet.

Lets begin: –

  1. On your keyboard press “WINDOWS+R” key or open the run command from start screen.psr.exe
  2. On the dialog box, you need to type “psr.exe” without quotes and hit enter.

You will see the following window pop out-

psr.exe

From here you can simply create new record, during your recording you can add a comment with a screenshot of an area specified by you.

And after stopping the recording you will be asked to name the recording, it is good that the utility saves the recording in a zip archive in a MHTML document, you will need Opera or  internet explorer to open these documents.

It can be very handy to send these records by e-mail.