Free Windows 8 Pro to Windows Media Center Pack upgrades until January 31, 2013

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 25, 2012
Updated • Oct 25, 2012
Windows, Windows 8

All versions of the Windows 8 operating system ship with Windows Media Player but not with Windows Media Center. That's relevant because Media Player in Windows 8 can't play DVD movies anymore. While you have a lot of free third party alternatives for that, like VLC Media Player or SMPlayer, you may want to know about the only official solution to add DVD playback to Windows 8. While Media Center is not included in the operating system by default, it is available as an add-on for a price.

As part of the promotions to get Windows 8 going, Microsoft is giving away free Media Center product keys that you can use to add Media Center to your version of windows 8. Here are the important facts about the offer:

  • Every customer is eligible for up to five licenses, provided you have access to that many versions of Windows 8.
  • To get a product key, simply enter an email address you want the product key to be sent to. Microsoft won't ask for a valid Windows 8 product key on the form or any other identifiable information about you.
  • The update turns Windows 8 Pro into Windows 8 Media Center Pack
  • The product key will be emailed to you. It currently seems to take a couple of hours tops before you get the key.
  • The offer is valid until January 31, 2013 at which point it expires.

To add the Windows Media Center Pack product key to your copy of Windows 8 do the following:

  • If you are not on the start screen press the Windows key to go there.
  • Enter features on the screen and switch to Settings on the right.
  • Select Add features to Windows 8 here and accept the UAC prompt that pops up.
  • Select I already have a product key

windows 8 media center pack

  • The PC will restart after the installation.

Microsoft is basically giving away a free copy of the Windows 8 Media Center Pack to all customers who buy a PC with Windows 8 Pro or purchase Windows 8 Pro separately until January 31, 2013. If that is not a great deal, what is?

Update: It appears that only Windows 8 Pro owners get a free upgrade to Windows Media Center Media Pack. Windows 8 owners need to purchase an upgrade to the Windows 8 Pro Pack which is available for $69.99 during the promotional period. The upgrade includes Windows 8 Pro and Media Center.


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  1. John C said on October 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    2 days and still waiting for my key.

  2. Leslie said on October 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I also received the free key so the update needs updating cause the original article was correct.

  3. Hollister said on October 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Yesterday I receive the Windows Media Center keys :)

  4. Topi said on October 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Tried to get the free upgrade in the Netherlands… 2 different mail addresses and guess what… no product key on either. So far I’ve only waited 6 hours or so. Luckily I haven’t been holding my breath.

    Not a good show!

  5. damian said on October 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    gah, so it’s not just me. You’d think they’d send them out as soon as possible and not have to flood the net with keys all at once, or maybe this is why they say it’s free till feb.. it will take that damn long to send.

    not only that, but I’m sure they’re working 10 times as much with people sending multiple requests thinking it was a fubbed address for some reason. so each email gets 1 key.

    this is as well planned as windows 8 is it seems.

  6. medric said on October 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I am still waiting on my key too? whats up M$

  7. grissino said on October 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    me too still waiting… but I received the key for the upgrade from 7 to 8… :)

  8. Ruben said on October 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I am also still waiting for the product key…
    Thanks for the info

  9. Adamnld said on October 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    party down = partly down ;-)

  10. Adamnld said on October 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Same here. Called W8 upgrade helpdesk this morning after waiting for 10 hrs. They didn’t know anything about the free WMC activationcode option. Told me to call MS Store helpdesk. Their story was that there was a delay due to the fact that “the site was down”. Eh…the administrative system was down. Eh…the system was party down. Should receive the code this afternoon. Still waiting after 16 hrs. Still no warning or message on Windows 8 website.

  11. Hollister said on October 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Same here. 24 hours later and no mail response from MS

  12. seenoland said on October 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Tried the promo but not getting a response from Microsoft. Any ideas what is going on?

  13. Marksman said on October 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Same here, done lots of address`s / domains and nothing on any of them! :(

  14. David said on October 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    18 hours and still waiting for mail back from Microsoft. I have tried several email domains that I have with no luck.

  15. medric said on October 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    download media player classic or media player classic home and you will be able to play dvd’s for free

  16. Tommy said on October 26, 2012 at 8:17 am

    So even after updating to the latest and greatest operating system that planet Earth as ever seen (According to MS) I still can’t play a DVD?

    Steve Ballmer strikes again!

  17. ilev said on October 26, 2012 at 7:57 am

    What the use if you can’t upgrade your new Windows 7 PC/ Tablet to Windows 8 (or even
    a PC running Windows 8 preview tp Windows 8 RTM) ?

    Some Intel-Based Tablets Flunk Windows 8 Upgrade

    Numerous models of Windows 7 tablets and netbooks, some less than a year old, that should be upgradeable to Windows 8 won’t be able to handle Microsoft’s new operating system due to problems with the Intel chips that power them, according to computer manufacturers and frustrated users….

  18. Hugh said on October 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Several hours later… still no e-mail. Microsoft can give me a key to lots of stuff instantaneously via my TechNet subscription, but they can’t e-mail me a key for Media Center after several hours????? Great job.

    1. medric said on October 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      I have yet to get my e-mail as of yet… whats going on. it should be automated

  19. Chris said on October 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks for the hint!

  20. grissino said on October 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Sigh, Sob, it was too nice to be true :(

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Indeed ;)

  21. grissino said on October 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Did you try? Because it looks that you should pay “For a limited time, get Windows 8 Pro Pack for $69.99 *” and THEN you get the media pack for free “Add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro” (so you should have already the Pro version…)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      You are right, I’ll change the article.

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