Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

Windows XP Media Center vs. XP Pro

by jsp / March 14, 2005 10:19 AM PST

Hi - I am considering purchasing an HP Pavillion zd8000. The main question/concern I have is this:
Is XP Media Center based on XP Pro with all the media bells and whistles added, or as I read in a CNET article from Dec 2004, is it based on XP Home. I called HP and their frienly phone rep said XP Media Center is "Definitely" based on XP Pro....but well, never trust a salesperson?!?
I need the XP Pro for my day to day use - the media center stuff just makes this a better purchase due to the added features.

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Windows XP Media Center vs. XP Pro
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Windows XP Media Center vs. XP Pro
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Tough one.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2005 10:26 AM PST

Since XP Pro and Home are at the core the same, it's much like asking to compare the tootsie roll core of the tootsie pop flavors.

In short, same OS, different features...


Collapse -
XP Pro vs XP Media Center
by jsp / March 14, 2005 10:54 AM PST
In reply to: Tough one.

Bob -
Thanks for the info. I understand your perspective, but there are differences between XP Pro and XP Home. My question really surrounds the networking and security features that are in XP Pro. Additionally,I will be running SPSS, SAS and a host of other business apps. I just don't want to shell out the bucks only to find out that the platform is not what I thought it was....and can't meet my computing requirements.

Collapse -
For those apps.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2005 11:01 AM PST

You have to ask each vendor if such will run on Media Center. I can only tell you I've seen such on Pro.

Media Center is not your business facade on the OS. The file sharing is curtailed to simplicity since... it's not the Professional version.

Also, I never duplicate the Microsoft content page where they list what's different on Home vs. Pro and MC since... that would be duplicating effort.

Again, at the core, same OS.


Collapse -
xp pro
by brendon / March 14, 2005 11:21 AM PST
In reply to: For those apps.

i have install media centre before, it came with two cds, one was xp pro and the other was the media centre addons. i stopped the installation and did not put in the 2nd cd and i had a fully opperation xp pro installation.

i dont know if the pc you are buying will be the same however.

Collapse -
MCE and XP pro
by glennlee / March 15, 2005 2:56 AM PST
In reply to: xp pro

Windows MCE is XP pro with a set of extensions which handle the multimedia interfaces. The system provides all the extra securities of adminstrator, user privileges, network securities the the full XP pro provides. At present Microsoft only officially distributes MCE to OEM manufaturers for installation on fully configured multimedia systems. The manufacturer is expected to provide the multimedia support. That makes an MCE computer a bargain way to get XP pro as well as multimedia functionality.

Collapse -
MSDN and Partners
by brendon / March 15, 2005 5:30 AM PST
In reply to: MCE and XP pro

"At present Microsoft only officially distributes MCE to OEM manufaturers for installation on fully configured multimedia systems. "

Unless you are a partner or subscribe to MSDN or Technet, then you get most Microsoft software to test Happy

Collapse -
XP Pro vs. Media Center
by jsp / March 15, 2005 7:06 AM PST
In reply to: MCE and XP pro

Ok - I am confused which is not anything new. On Microsoft's web site, check out this link:
There it says:
"All the Benefits of Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP SP2
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is the first consumer OS built on top of the Windows XP Home and Service Pack 2 (SP2) foundation with Advanced Security Technologies including Windows Firewall, Pop-up Blocker for Internet Explorer, and the new Windows Security Center, all while offering all of the features available today in Windows XP Home Edition."


Collapse -
xp and mce 2005
by glennlee / March 15, 2005 11:39 AM PST

Sorry, I was not aware that Microsoft had changed the underlying OS they supply with MCE. Got mine before they made the change. Glad to have XP pro.

Collapse -
XP Pro vs. Media Center
by alexsts333 / June 9, 2010 6:59 AM PDT

Basically Media center installation downgraded XP PRO to Home edition.
I can not say what would happens if you setup all networking on XP PRO before you install media center.
Try and let us know.

Collapse -
Media centere is not PRO
by bambamrck / March 17, 2005 9:55 PM PST
In reply to: For those apps.

Media centere is not an ntsc operating system. It is basically a home edition OS with the extra features. To get the securtiy features you are looking for you really need PRO or 2000.

Collapse -
I'm not sure what is meant by a ntsc OS, but...
by kepela / February 15, 2006 12:51 PM PST

I have three media center computer and all three ARE NTSC formated, so I'm not sure what you mean by them not being an NTSC OS. I do believe MCE is more like home than pro, for the litter differences between them, as it does not connect to a domain as I understand. Mine has only simple file sharing and not the advanced sharing my pro version has. Otherwise my media center computers are just like my other computers, outside the mce features.

Collapse -
Here's your answer....
by colin--- / May 23, 2006 1:45 PM PDT

While you can access network resources on a work network or a domain, you cannot join a Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 PC to the domain. PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are designed specifically for home use. Windows XP Professional features, specifically Domain Join and Cached Credentials (Credentials Manager for logons) are not included. As a result, you will be prompted for your logon user name and password to access network resources after you reboot or log back on to the PC. In addition, file shares or network resources that are set to require a domain-joined PC for access will not be available. Remote Desktop and Encrypting File System support are still

Collapse -
XP Home = No Domain Support; XP Pro = NT Domains Supported
by xenotar / March 18, 2005 7:52 PM PST
In reply to: For those apps.

If you are required to log in to your office NT Domain tree from home you must have XP Pro to do the job. This can be used to give you authentication, DHCP, MS Mail Server to use with full Outlook, and the entire Back Office suite. Lots of capabilities both on site and at home, especially when using a secure tunneling scheme such as VPN. Those at the office are using NAT IP addresses starting with 192 or 10 as a further protection; and to get into your corporate network you will need to get a phony IP too assigned by DHCP. But, the main thing is Pro supports Domains, so if you need to connect to your domain from home you need Pro. Ask your IT shop.

As for XP Media Center edition, who knows? You might want to couch your question as to whether Media Center supports NT Domains and see what answer you get. If your IT folks are experienced they may have had a difficult support case in the past where the employee purchased Media Center edition thinking it was an extension of XP Pro and caused a lot of trouble for themselves due to the lack of domains. In this case, you can deduce that it is an extension of XP Home (and that the employee had to purchase Pro and reload his computer from scratch.)

I hope this helps. I may be out of date as I have been retired as IT director for a year and a half and haven't kept up because I didn't have to :-). If so, I apologize in advance and am counting on folks who know better to add their knowledge here, correct me, and send me on my way!

Collapse -
Closer to XP Home
by rmattke / March 16, 2005 1:52 AM PST

Windows XP Media Center is like home in that is stripped of many administrative functions. The most prevalent, at meast IMO, is that it can not be joined to a domain the traditional way.

Collapse -
by brendon / March 16, 2005 4:08 AM PST
In reply to: Closer to XP Home

That is real weird, the copy I have (from msdn sub) is built on XP PRO, it is labelled as Windows media centre 2005.

Collapse -
XP Pro vs. Media Center
by jsp / March 17, 2005 5:18 AM PST
In reply to: XP PRO

Thanks for all your help and input. I will see what else I can dig up!

Collapse -
So how can I tell which OS my Media Center is built on?
by Wiccan / March 18, 2005 12:26 AM PST

So how can I tell which OS my Media Center is built on? XP Home or Pro?

Thanks in advance.

Collapse -
One quick way to tell the difference
by Alicyn Shaynes / August 18, 2006 12:58 AM PDT

Home has a lime green scrolling progress bar on the black XP screen when the OS is loading, Professional has a blue scrolling progress bar. Not sure if that carries over to MCE but that is one way to tell at a glance which version of XP is loading.

Collapse -
not anymore with sp2
by Nasty4 / October 30, 2006 9:02 AM PST

if you have sp2 that eliminates the easy way to tell since the update makes both startups equivalent in appearence

Collapse -
Media center is NOT Pro
by phulbelly / March 18, 2005 3:30 AM PST

Go PRO. College my nephew attends will not issue network config scripts, mail accts. and passwords to anyone with laptop or PC without xp pro

Collapse -
Direct from Microsoft
by John.Wilkinson / March 18, 2005 5:45 AM PST

Unfortunately, Microsoft's website does not answer this question directly, but hopefully you'll find the following excerpt helpful:

"While you can access network resources on a work network or a domain, you cannot join a Windows XP Media Center 2005 PC to the domain. PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are designed specifically for home use. Professional features, specifically Domain Join and Cached Credentials (Credentials Manager for logins) are not included. As a result, you will be prompted for your login username/password to access network resources after a reboot or logging back into the PC. In addition, file shares or network resources set to require a domain-joined PC for access will not be available. Remote Desktop and Encrypting File System support are still included."


Collapse -
Media vs. XP Pro
by rkelly72 / March 18, 2005 5:30 PM PST

Well, i've been waiting for this discussion. I have HP 5 products, two printers, one ADF Scanner, iPAQ 5555, ZD7000 wide screen Media Center.
I'd say buy it. But, be aware, be very awary, the machine or the software is 'berry unstrawble' I constantly have to shut down, every other week, unhook everything, even the cable from the wall socket to get the remote to working again. Today, it is locked again. Office 2003 is extremely unstable. It freezes a dozen times a day with no more one other program running, if you count forwarding as a program running, which i don't. I will try to talk with HP again, again, again, again, again--get the picture: I'm disappointed. And the warranty for nearly 300 dollars: well, guess who HP favors with that? HP. I had to sent the machine in twice: the same day i got it returned for the first repair, it went out again. Sadly, until i got blunt and talk bluntly did i finally get customer service. i'm trapped now with HP. i feel as though i have to buy tablet 4200 so that i can be capatible with the other stuff; but, god, i'm scared sh------ to do!

Collapse -
XP Pro-Media Center
by LPC / March 18, 2005 10:16 PM PST

XP Media Center is "Definitely" based on XP Pro like the sales guy said. If you were to buy the full version of XP Media Center 2005 then you would get 2 CD's. One XP Pro and one with the media center enhancements. It is great!

Collapse -
Nope, Media Center is a HOME version...
by Edward ODaniel / March 19, 2005 12:14 AM PST
In reply to: XP Pro-Media Center

and although you are correct when you say that media center is "based on XP Pro" because it is a correct statement that gives the wrong impression (that it includes XP Pro capabilities).

Windows XP Home is ALSO based on Windows XP Pro--it just doesn't have some of the components and capabilities. The same is true of Windows Media Center--it lacks some of XP Pro's capabilities (Media Center will not join to a Domain, nor can it cache credentials, nor will it make use of multiple processors) but it adds some of its own that XP Pro lacks. As Microsoft states, Windows Media Center is a HOME OS rather than a functional BUSINESS OS -- "PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are designed specifically for home use."

In short, if one needs everything that XP Pro provides in an OS avoid Media Center as it does not have it all--many capabilities are removed. On the other hand if one needs more than XP Home offers but no need for multiple processors or joining domains or certain other features of Pro one should get Media Center as it does offer Remote Desktop and encrypted file system

Here is a link that might be helpful:

This thread is reminiscent of the discussions involving the differences between NT Workstation and NT Server when NT 3.0 was initially released and it took a long time for people to accept that "BASED ON" is a relative statement that is considerably different than "Same features and capabilities as".

Collapse -
xp media center
by achan / March 21, 2005 5:48 AM PST

the reviews i've read on line from various ziff davis publications (can't remember which one) clearly said that mc2005 is based on home as a cost cutting measure, while the older ones are pro based.

Collapse -
Combining XP Pro & XP Home Media Center
by cadman / March 21, 2005 10:05 AM PST

OK..I've read everything above and one thought occurs to me:

If new releases of XP HMC are based on XP Home and the package comes with an install cd for XP Home and an install cd for the XP HMC upgrade, does that mean that if I purchase a Dell PC with the XP HMC OS option and I already have a clean install cd for XP Pro, can I then just install XP Pro and then upgrade it with the extra XP HMC cd and bypass XP Home and all its Dell-tweaked options altogether?

Does that make sense?

Collapse -
by rdnetto / April 1, 2005 9:15 AM PST

I don't have it, but from what I gather, XP MCE is half-way between Home and Pro. It's based on Home, since it was designed for home-use only, but also supports Remote Desktop Connecton and Encryption. If possible, check if your software works on another MC PC, just to be sure.

Collapse -
Ooh, Confoozling... Seriously!
by anime4christ / May 17, 2005 10:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Half-way

Is 2004 based on Pro? This is very confusing. Would MC go good for a person who does stuff like: web design, programming, 3D modeling, music, graphic design? And I'm talking hard-core, where every detail counts. Is there any advantage in MC? I use the network a lot but I don't connect to a domain or anything.

Collapse -
I'm asking the same thing
by wyldndn / June 10, 2005 8:35 AM PDT

My question is If i have XP pro running on my laptop and my home system is XP MCE will i run into issues with file transfers or back up issues if i'm using their personal media storage. Cause if my HD crashes on either machine how diffucult will it be to pick up the pieces and reinstall. Cause XP Pro has a restore option but this dosen't always work and will XP MCE be able to do the same thing? People will get crazy if they lose pics and video so storage file structure is going to be tanamount to the home user.

Which brings me to my conundrum - sp? If they want us to use this system XP MCE like a power user (video, photo manipulation) shouldn't we get all the admin network features that XP PRO users do too?

Collapse -
by dagger906 / June 10, 2005 9:14 AM PDT

Jeez! It's bascially the same thing anyway. Microsoft is just trying to milk Windows out of as much money as it can...

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.