• Patch Lady – what about media center?

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    #2040205

    For those of you that still rely on Windows media center, I see some folks saying that they are buying extended support updates for Windows 7 because
    [See the full post at: Patch Lady – what about media center?]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2040209

      I plan on using Windows Media Center for the foreseeable future. I’ve been using EPG123 and Schedules Direct for the past several years now for guide information so there shouldn’t be any interruption in service when Windows 7 support ends. In fact (others may disagree), I feel that the whole end of Windows 7 support is grossly over blown as is the new hardware argument since I’ve been running Windows 7 x64 on my main Ryzen 3900x MSI X570 machine without any problems for the past 4 months.

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      • #2040248

        Security vulnerabilities are still a big deal.

      • #2040301

        It’s not “grossly overblown”.  As it goes with many things in life, people always believe they are safe until they become a victim.

        There have been tons of ransomware attacks against government orgs and companies in the last year, and most of them exploit vulnerabilities in Windows that have already been patched.  There was a story in the news just this week about a company in Alabama that laid off hundreds of people over the Christmas season because their computers were all hosed after a ransomware attack.

        Most modern botnets are built with unpatched machines, too.

        The vulnerabilities that attackers exploit (e.g. Wannacry) existed in Windows 7 for 8+ years before they were fixed, so don’t think for a second that can’t be another flaw lurking in there somewhere.  Chances are in fact excellent that someone does know a major vulnerability and is just sitting on it.

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by warrenrumak.
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        • #2040393

          You could be right.  Mark Twain said “Education is the path from c**** ignorance to miserable uncertainty”, however I have off-line images of all of my drives, all remote file sharing, printer sharing, desktop, registry etc. disabled, as well as robust antivirus/ anti-malware solutions. In addition when the security vulnerabilities can be  ameliorated in a different way such as disabling SMBv1 via the registry, I have done so. Since my computers are for private use only and the information on them is of no use to anyone else, I feel the risk is low and one I’m willing to take.

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    • #2040224

      VLC plays everything on most platforms.  My daily driver for many years.

       

      Also, agoldhammer, there might be a way to get untied from Windows Media Center.
      Give these a read.
      https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/win7-media-center-replacement/
      https://www.askwoody.com/forums/search/videolan/

      Win 8.1 (home & pro) Group B, W10/11 Avoider, Linux Dabbler

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    • #2040264

      I use VLC for stand-alone files and Plex for collections. Very easy to set up and use.

      • #2040469

        Things may have changed with Plex, but when I tried it last it didn’t handle OTA recordings well with my tuner card nor did any of the other 3rd party Windows/Linux solutions which is why I still prefer Media Center. In addition I have yet to find any other media players (suggestions are welcome) which actually fast forward/rewind video as opposed to small user settable time skips.

    • #2040290

      (We have a series of posts from a persistent Lounger who isn’t posting about the topic at hand. If you’re getting your posts zapped, and take umbrage at the culling, please send me a direct message, or email CustomerSupport@AskWoody.com)

    • #2040318

      So question ? , Is Windows Media Player on Windows 7 also getting the ax after January 14?

      • #2040362

        If the answer this question is yes, then it’s Group W effective today. I will not be bullied by MS any longer. I will continue to run programs like Norton, Spyware Blaster, Malwarebytes, SuperAntispyware and make images on a regular schedule. No nag screens no messing around with my PC. They don’t own it, I DO. MS keep your hands off.

        • #2040370

          Media Center will continue to work on Win7. There just won’t be any security updates for Win7 after Jan 14th.

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        • #2040372

          You’ll be running a machine that will not be isolated from the internet and it will not be getting security patches.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

          • #2040392

            I have nothing on my PC that is important. All of my important stuff is on external drives and they are not powered on until I need them. If some hacker feels the need to intrude, I can plug that hole with a backup image and hope that my security software will prevent any intrusion.

          • #2040418

            You’ll be running a machine that will not be isolated from the internet and it will not be getting security patches.

            Those of us running Win7 WMC recognize this.  The PC hooked up to the television is dedicated only for that use and does nothing else.  It goes out once daily to Schedules Direct to download the updated channel guide.  The only other Internet use is for streaming and I’ve isolated the URLs for the streaming services that I use.

            I recognize that there “may” be some vulnerabilities but most problems are user inflicted by either dodgy emails or websites.  No email on this PC addresses the first and the second is dealt with by only going to websites I trust.  As I have already noted, if Netflix starts delivering malware there are much bigger problems.

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      • #2040379

        Please refer to the related Blog Post clearly linked from the abbreviated OP above:

        [See the full post at: Patch Lady – what about media center?]

        See also the Rules and FAQs

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    • #2040342

      The key issue is protected content and the need for a cable card if one is using Windows Media Center as a replacement for TIVO or a telecom cable box.  I’m tied to Win7 and WMC for the foreseeable future as this is my cable box solution (there have been attempts to port the program over to Win10 but it seems that every Win10 update causes problems).  I cannot move to Plex or some other solutions as they don’t support cable cards.  As noted by @ryegrass, I’ve updated to EPG123 for schedule information 18 months ago and that untied me from MSFT schedule updates.  The PC is protected by a firewall and the only thing I need to do is move potentially move to a new antivirus solution form MSFT Security Essentials.

      I don’t use this PC for email or random web browsing.  The only Internet stuff this PC does is video streaming from about five websites (Amazon Prime, Netflix, ESPN+ and a couple of more).  If any of those sites are compromised there are much bigger problems with the Internet than my little PC.  I have a system image and some redundant hardware in case there is a failure of some kind.

      IMO, Windows Media Center was a very nice piece of software and it is really too bad that MSFT decided to discontinue support.

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    • #2040344

      VLC for music and video playback.
      Audacity for voice recording / editing.

      Windows 10 Pro x64 v1909 Desktop PC

    • #2040366

      My ThinkCentre M710e was preinstalled with v1809 and Windows Media Center.

    • #2040384

      I’m on Windows 10 but I’m still using Windows Media Center.  It won’t play DVD’s or BluRay Discs, but I always rip them to my NAS first, anyway; the disc is then just a backup.  Media Player works just fine for mp4 files, which I can play directly over my network from the NAS.

      I’ve tried VLC, but don’t really care for it.  Media Player organizes all my music files and still rips CD’s and gathers artist/album/art from the internet, so I’ve got no kicks with it.

      I have PLEX installed on the Fire Stick plugged into my TV, and PLEX server installed on my NAS, so I can watch on the big screen, as well.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #2040416

      The Windows (7) Media Center PCs in our household will be unaffected by the events of January 14.

      Our first HTPC (home-theater PC) would routinely get clobbered by the monthly Windows Updates to the point where we could no longer watch live TV or record new programming. I would have to laboriously uninstall and reinstall updates until I hit on the problem patch, or else tediously install each patch, then reboot and launch WMC to see if still worked after that one, rinse and repeat. Tiring of this time-consuming, white-knuckle ritual, about six years ago I simply set the first PC to update Never, and it’s been running like a champ ever since.

      The second HTPC was set up a few months ago. I updated it all the way to that month and then set it to Never check for updates.

      So the impending end of updating will have no implications for these computers. More significant was the early end of program-guide information by Rovi, the company that Microsoft had used to provide that data. This ended on December 31 and not January 14.

      The first TV computer had already been set up with EPG123 to download program data from Schedules Direct, and the other one just made the switch this week. Both can get the data off the same $25/year subscription to SD.

      Neither computer gets e-mail (a major vector for malware infection) or surfs the Web (another major vector), and both are protected in real time by Norton Internet Security and Hitman.Pro Alert. The browsers on those machines are kept up to date (except for Internet Explorer, which is no longer used), and for good measure have add-ons to block Web ads for those rare occasions when they do go on the Web to look up an actor or a fact in a movie.

      Further, like all the computers in our home, they are invisible to intruders behind the router (to use Steve Gibson’s terminology, the ports on our computers are not merely “closed,” they are “stealthed”), such that port scanners would remain unaware of their existence.

      Because we watch live sports and news, streaming options are inadequate to our preferences, so our systems are fitted with CableCARDs from the cable company.

       

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    • #2040425

      I too use WMC, for one reason, the DVR capabilities to record OTA. Like others have mentioned, I had to switch to EPG123 last week. It works as advertised.

      As far as being unsupported, blah blah blah. If something happens I do a reinstall. With proper precautions and some common sense, the odds are slim. An acceptable risk. It’s a dedicated HTPC, nothing critical on it, just music files. Which I have backed up.

      If WMC truly becomes unusable, JRiver looks promising and is OS agnostic.

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    • #2040545

      I’ll continue to run all 6 of my machines on win7 until pc hardware dies and can no longer be found to run it. All have WMC set for FTA and library access to media on the primary machine.

      Considering the patch quality from MS, there is not much incentive to pay for a threat perceived to be greater than malware.

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    • #2040721

      Just switched over to EPG123 on my HTPC running Win 7 Ulti.  My cable provider is switching over to streaming service.  Not looking forward to being forced to that after all the bad reviews their service has be getting.

    • #2040741

      First, don’t get Windows Media Player confused with Windows Media Center. They are two different animals.
      I have a home network with six linked computers, each with a different purpose (three are in my home office/studio). All are Win-10 except the one in my home theater which is Win-7. I keep it Win-7 specifically for the Media Center.
      I travel and I use it to record specific shows or movies I won’t get the chance to watch when I’m away. I’m a fan of NOVA, Frontline, Blacklist, Seal Team, and others. For me having that recording ability is worth continuing that one computer on Win-7. I don’t use Media Center for cataloging, or even music, viewing photos or other playback material – just recording OTA programs I like.
      I’ve tried Plex and Kodi and while they serve a similar purpose, they just don’t have the clean and easy to use interface that Media Center has.
      And since that one computer is not tied to the open Internet, I’m really not concerned.
      One day if I find a recording software that I like then maybe I’ll jump to Win-10 there. But for now it stays Win-7.
      On a side note, I have seen multiple articles on how to get Media Center to work on Win-10. I haven’t tried a side-door install to see if it works, perhaps someone here has tried it and can give light on the effectiveness of those efforts.

    • #2040806

      I use VLC and MPC occasionally to play single files, but have moved to JRiver Media Center for our dedicated HTPC. I used to use Kodi, but got tired of having to play around to keep it working and having to explain to my wife how/why to get it to play stuff. You do have to pay for JRiver, but I found it worth it.

    • #2040808

      I have a dedicated HTPC using Windows Media Center which has Binnerup’s My Movies integrated into WMC.  I use it only as an HTPC networked to my LAN, including a WS2012R2 Essentials where I store the media files.  Although I dreaded leaving the comfort of Windows 7 and WMC (and I keep a disk image to get back to it if I ever want), Windows 8.1 (also with an image backup) is the actual last Win version which continued to officially include WMC, and I used that for a few years before moving on to Windows 10 Pro.

      The WMC developed and maintained on the MDL Forums thread works well in Windows 10.  (Depending on which MDL WMC version used, you may have to do a repair reinstall of WMC after feature updates of Win 10, because various key Windows core files are changed. But I’ve found WMC continues to work.)  I suspend Windows 10 updates with Sledgehammer to update what and when I want to. Whether Windows 7, 8.1, or older 10 versions, I don’t believe my HTPC is exposed enough to be concerned about MS orphaning the OS, and I use Comcast’s Norton Security Suite for malware protection. (Also, I’ve got daily backups on WS2012R2E.)

      Long ago under Win 7, WMC’s cable recording capability stopped working for me, both because MS’s programming guide became problematic and Comcast went all digital.  (I used a Hauppauge HDPVR to record through the analog hole from the cable box component video outputs – newer cable boxes have HDMI output only – and DVBLink for HDPVR, no longer supported.)  I also settled a long time ago on 720p over 1080p as my routine video collection resolution standard to save HDD space. It still looked great on my HDTV, especially with the super Dolby surround sound from my AV receiver.

      I also found that JRiver Media Center has a better video player than most alternatives, including WMC which uses Windows Media Player to actually play videos. (BTW, Shark 007 installs all the CODECs for free for WMC to play everything.)  But I’ve always enjoyed the WMC interface, and I couldn’t get WMC to use JRiver MC as an external player, even with My Movies tools.  Lately, I’ve decided to try Chameleon Media Center which integrates with My Movies and will utilize JRiver MC as a video player.  I downloaded it but haven’t had time to test it out.

      With that all said, I find I don’t use the HTPC nearly as much since the 4K Ultra HD smart TV we have now streams so much media content on demand in such high quality.  Yeah, the streaming services are fragmented and still dividing and multiplying, and you still have to pay for a good broadband ISP service, but a combination of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Disney + will spoil you on a modern TV.

    • #2040819

      I use Media Center and TV capture card as a recorder.  Occasionally.  I am unable to find another program that can equal it for ease of configuration or feature appeal (which may be different for everyone else)

      I had been dithering about what to do beyond January but the path now seems clear.

      • Keep running 7 on the desktop machine (about 8-10 years old i7 SSD).
      • Move everything important of that machine, including links to cloud services.
      • Isolate it from the network
      • Make a full image backup
      • Use the W10 laptop for important things.
      • Revise laptop backup requirements (now using Windows backup onto USB drive and full image to external drive before backup)

      Group A (but Telemetry disabled Tasks and Registry)
      1) Dell Inspiron with Win 11 64 Home permanently in dock due to "sorry spares no longer made".
      2) Dell Inspiron with Win 11 64 Home (substantial discount with Pro version available only at full price)

    • #2040827

      I’ve just converted over all my machines to EPG123 so have current schedules for a longer period of time than MSFT supplied.

      As for updates, a friend was unable to update her HP machine for the last year..I guess your vulnerability depends on usage.  Eventually I’ll have to get a Win10 machine for general use but as long as the Mcdia Center machines and my Cable Cards are working I can still record HBO and other premium channels and here in Spectrum (nee TWC). Everything other than OTA channels is protected here as copy once and won’t work with Plex or any of the other choices. VLC won’t play protected content and Silicon Dust now was DRM but play only for iOS and Android as long as the Android has the proper version and Play Protect is enabled.  Maybe they’ll get their DVR to handle DRM from Cable Card in the future or maybe all the cable companies will give up and all we’ll have is streaming.

       

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