I have a Dell laptop that came with Windows 8.1. (I guess it's not an "update" since it came with 8.1 out of the box.)

I just purchase a legitimate version of Windows 8.1 Pro (student) edition from the Microsoft store. I downloaded the installer and created both an ISO file and media drive on a USB stick.

My question is, can I somehow install only Media Center onto my 8.1 laptop without installing the entire 8.1 Pro operating system?

I don't even know if the Pro comes with Media Center or if I have to buy it (I think I read somewhere that it's like $10 if you have 8.1 Pro).

So this might complicate my situation a little bit.. I might have to find a way to buy Media Center for $10 without having to install 8.1 Pro first. It's my understanding that the "standard" way to buy Media Center when you already have 8.1 Pro installed is to go "Add Features" and then select "Buy product key online" and I will then be given the option to buy Media Center.

Since I don't have 8.1 Pro installed I won't have the option to get Media Center using the "Add Features" method. Is there another way to get Media Center without going through the OS? (Like a page where I can buy it for $10 by just providing my 8.1 Pro license key?)



2 Answers 2


You should be able to just do an in-place upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro...

From MS: Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Upgrade Paths

You can upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro and keep Windows settings, personal files, and applications from the following Windows operating system editions:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Pro with Media Center
  • Windows 8.1

Then acquire and install the Media Center pack:

From MS's Add Windows 8.1 Pro Pack or Windows 8.1 Media Center Pack to your edition of Windows 8.1 :

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.

    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Settings.

  3. Tap or click Add features to Windows 8.1 and then do one of the following:

    • If you need to purchase a product key, tap or click I want to buy a product key online.

    Follow the steps to purchase and enter a product key.

    • If you already have a product key, tap or click I already have a product key.

  4. Enter your product key and click Next.

  5. Read the license terms, select the check box to accept the license terms, and then click Add features.

  • Actually I figured it out (I think)... I just went to "Add New Features" and selected "I have a product key" and then entered the product key for my Win 8.1 Pro. Windows accepted the key then I chose to buy Media Center, entered my visa, etc. Then it started to download/install. My computer rebooted and the next time I logged in my computer showed that it was now Windows 8.1 Pro and it had Media Center installed. I am a bit confused, however, because I thought that since this was a full Pro 8.1 purchase I could not use it to upgrade but apparently I was able to.
    – Jan Tacci
    Aug 7, 2014 at 22:00
  • I now wonder if I can do the same thing on my PC.. use the same key for 2 different computers, MS is probably too smart to let me do that. :)
    – Jan Tacci
    Aug 7, 2014 at 22:28

You have to go through the OS to buy a Media Center key. And, to complicate matters further for what you want to do, Media Center is an add-on, not a separate installation - so you need to reinstall Windows 8.1 Pro regardless... Sorry for the bad news!

  • See my comment above.
    – Jan Tacci
    Aug 7, 2014 at 22:03
  • @JanTacci Good to hear! I'm glad I was wrong and you didn't have to reinstall! Aug 7, 2014 at 22:16
  • Thanks, and you weren't wrong. Don't be so hard on yourself. :)
    – Jan Tacci
    Aug 7, 2014 at 22:29

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