June 09, 2012, 7:35 AM — As we discussed last month, and much to the chagrin of users everywhere, Windows Media Center won't be included in Windows 8.
And, sure enough, if you've installed the new Windows 8 Release Preview, you've no doubt discovered that Microsoft's awesome, endlessly underrated media-center software is nowhere to be found.
Fortunately, there is a way to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8, and for now it won't cost you anything. Here's how:
1. Assuming you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, then click Search. (If you're using a PC that has swipe capabilities, via either touchscreen or touchpad, you can swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.)
2. Type add features in the search box, and then tap or click Add features to Windows 8.
3. Tap or click I already have a product key.
4. Enter product key MBFBV-W3DP2-2MVKN-PJCQD-KKTF7, then click Next. (Make sure you don't include that comma with the key.)
5. Click the checkbox to accept Microsoft's license terms, then click Add features.
After that you'll need to reboot (way to make progress, there, Microsoft). But you should then see Windows Media Center pinned to the Start screen.
As you'll quickly discover, not much has changed in WMC for Windows 8. The only remaining question is how much Microsoft plans to charge for what will eventually become a paid add-on. Of course, the company still has the option of making it free, which would be the classy thing to do. What do you say, Microsoft? Gonna be classy?
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at email@example.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.