October 27, 2004

Still going on the HP Media Center

All of the additional crap that Hewlett-Packard installs with their Media Center PC's is really getting to me. So, I've decided that as soon as possible, I'm going to wipe the computer clean and install a fresh copy of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.

I realize that I'm going to need some stuff from the recovery partition on this HP. However, I can't find some of the advertised software.

Here's what I've been able to find so far...

41NA1CHE WinModem
41WW1ASN Q828028
41WW1MON Monitor information
41WW1RPC Q828741
41WW1WSS Q828035
41WW2BOO HP's Full-screen setup stuff
41WW2BRD Conexant MPEG-2 Encoding Stuff
41XR1TVT TV Tuner Stuff

APP00041 .NET Framework Installer
APP01869 VALUEADD folder from Windows XP MCE Install CD
APP06334 Windows Movie Maker 2.0
APP18467 Windows Media Player 9.0
APP19912 Windows XP Support Tools
APP26500 Java 1.4.2

APP00153 Realtek Audio Drivers
APP00292 Realtek Networking Drivers
APP03902 7-in-1 Card Reader Drivers
APP04827 Monitor information
APP11538 HP Easy Internet Install Wizard
APP14604 ATI Video Card Drivers
APP14771 Microsoft Broadband Networking Drivers
APP16827 Intel Chipset Drivers
APP19718 Agere Cheetah Winmodem Drivers
APP19895 ASUS TV Tuner Drivers

Why can't I find the WinDVD SE that's installed? Why do companies do this overly complex recovery stuff when all I need is a set of install CD's or a secure download point where I can get installers or ISO's? It seems like companies can't make up their minds as to which market they want to cater to (geek or regular user), so they go half-assed towards both.

A regular user for MCE is going to want the antivirus preinstalled, the Easy Internet Access stuff, etc., etc., but isn't going to want a difficult setup process on a TV. A geek is going to want the bare minimum installed (Windows XP MCE, drivers, necessary support software like WinDVD SE), and have the ability to select which extra features should be installed. HP gave us neither. The setup process is atrocious on a TV, we have no choice what should be installed, and evidently, the recovery partition doesn't even include half of what comes installed, so if we do have to recover, we still don't get everything.

This is the first prebuilt computer I have purchased in nearly a decade, but my experiences with it so far are coming very close to ensuring that it will be my last.

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