Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adding Windows XP Media Center to a Domain

During another domain migration yesterday, I came across a Windows XP Media Center PC in the workplace. This is certainly common with small companies, especially when they're bootstrapping. You buy what you can afford and that usually means Home and Media editions of Windows. Those work great for a small network, but of course can't be added to a domain, at least Home can't. Luckily Windows XP Media Center can be hacked into joining a domain, because unlike XP Home Edition, it won't upgrade to XP Professional.

So here's the hack:

  1. If you haven't already, install the Windows Recovery Console (you'll need your Windows XP disk for this)

  2. Boot into the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console when prompted

    1. Select the proper OS (usually 1) and enter the Administrator password (if prompted)

  3. Copy the SYSTEM registry hive to C:\ copy c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM c:\

  4. Type exit and boot into your Windows XP Media Center system as an administrator

  5. Open Registry Editor (Start > Run... type regedit, click OK

    1. Highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

    2. Click File > Load Hive...

    3. Browse and select C:\SYSTEM

    4. Enter your PC-name or anything really

    5. Drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\PC-name\WPA\MedCtrUpg

    6. Change the IsLegacyMCE key in the right pane to the number 1 (default is 0)

    7. Highlight the PC-name under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and click File > Unload Hive..., click Yes

  6. Reboot into the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console as in step 2

    1. Copy the SYSTEM registry hive back copy c:\SYSTEM c:\winsows\system32\config\system enter Y to overwrite

    2. Rename the old SYSTEM hive on C:\ ren c:\SYSTEM SYSTEM_old

    3. Type exit and reboot back into your Windows XP Media Center system as an administrator

  7. Now you should be able to add the system to the domain

  8. Optional: delete c:\SYSTEM_old and change the boot selection time from 30 seconds to 2 or 3 (now that the Recovery Console has been added)

Thanks to Aaron Tiensivu, who's article helped me yesterday. I decided to make an abridged post here since I'm getting annoyed at having to find this hack every time.

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