Perhaps most of us are already familiar with Windows XP either the Home or Professional Edition but what makes the Media Center Edition 2005 different from these other Windows XP variants? Well we were lucky enough to have a chance to try this operating system ourselves and here’s what I found out.
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (for the sake of convenience will be called WinXP MCE) is basically a Windows XP Professional (WinXP Pro) under the hood with enhancements for multimedia and entertainment hardware. The basic setup already contains DVD burning support from Sonic in which the default WinXP Pro does not. It has software called Media Center which is the one that allows it to be controlled via a remote control and be viewed and manipulated on a typical television without needing a mouse. Using the right combination of hardware the experience is quite nice and smooth but unfortunately I wasn’t able to test its video recording capability. I also had problems playing DVD movies on the Media Center software. The DVD movie played on the bundled Windows Media Player 10 but the Media Center did not, weird! For an operating system I’d say it’s a good OS for home computers since it has the “familiar” feel to it but you should stay away from it if you’re trying to use it for your work computer (even if you have the hardware to go with it). I was frustrated to find out that WinXP MCE lacks support for Domain Controllers so if your corporate LAN uses a Domain (which most likely do), you’ll have lots of problems accessing your network resources. I, for one, find it troublesome to always enter a username and password to every network resource I access and sometimes I get denied of these accesses because of this. It doesn’t provide you the ability to save your network passwords nor allow you to join a domain.
To summarize, this OS has its pros and cons depending on what use your computer will have. If it comes bundled with your computer or if you’re going to use it oftentimes for entertainment then by all means use it, but if you’re the serious user and you use your computer for no non-sense stuff then I’d say stay away from this OS. It’s WinXP Pro but not quite.