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DesktopWeb FormText   failed MediaCenter Edition upgrade installSun, 15 May 2005 17:26:08 GMT # 

my next development side project was supposed to be for MediaCenter (MCE). i dont like collecting stuff, including hardware, so the plan was to just do an upgrade install on my existing notebook. my only real worry was that my notebook does not have a TV tuner, but i didnt read anywhere where one was required for installation. i assume the OS will ultimately install, and i just wont be able to access the TV tuner functionality? kicked off the installation with media from the MSDN subscription and the correct product activation key ... and the install went mostly fine. it complained about the smnp??.dl_ file as well as one other in the \I386\ directory ... even though both files were there? since that same DVD had the TabletPC OS install, i pointed it to the corresponding files in that directory, and it worked. weird, but neither of those files looked MCE specific, but just looked like standard SP2 stuff. then when my computer was rebooting after the install, it hung at the WindowsXP screen with 'please wait'. so i left it there all night ... based on some VS.NET installs that seem to hang, but come back hours later. but this morning it was still stuck there. killed the power and brought it back up and it let me log on just fine. now my OS is mostly operational. there are some oddities like the WordPad file extension type is not registered, the IE shortcut is missing, and IIS is hosed. but MCE is nowhere to be found. checking google groups again turned up a post of somebody that had almost the idential experience to me. the install balked at some files, but installed, then MCE was nowhere to be found. and the responses to that post chime in that it has to be a clean install. ... wish i had seen that post earlier :( i was going off my previous experience where you can do an upgrade install to the Tablet OS, although its not recommended. now i'm looking at buying one of those Maxtor external network drives. then i can backup the files on my dev computer, do a clean install for MCE OS, then bring my files back over. plus i've wanted a stand alone network storage device for years. the other option is to just buy another machine with MCE pre-installed. i would do that ... if MCE had a better development story. right now the SDK primarily supports DHTML based UIs and hosted .NET assemblies that can popup MessageBoxes ... lame. er, um ... DHTML is not programming, and MessageBoxes are not UI. so my plan was to try some unsupported dev ideas to see if they were even possible. and i'm not interested in buying another box to workaround a weak SDK. i've got enough boxes as is : dev, external server, internal server, tablet. not to mention i dont watch much TV. if i do get it installed on my notebook, and get some dev stuff working, then i will make that investment ... but i definitely wouldnt buy a desktop. i would either go with an MCE notebook setup or one of those HP digital entertainment centers / Alienware Media Center Series that looks more like an AV component, as opposed to a computer. so my advice to the MCE team is make this a more accessible dev environment ... much like the Tablet team has done. for Tablet, you just install the SDK, the recognizer pack, and a $100 digitizer can get you off the ground running. then you can easily see if you want to invest in a real Tablet. having to buy another box or doing a clean install is not near as friendly. else increase the power of the API, and compel me to do a clean install