Q: Make no mistake, this really is the end of Windows. As I understand, you buy all your applications from the Windows Store. Also, there’s no more .NET, which is needed for Media Player and Media Center, so no Windows Media Center and no Outlook.
Windows 10 will take everything away from me!
A. I think you might have gotten some bad information.
First, you don’t have to buy all your applications from the Windows Store. Win10 runs third-party apps just fine. In fact, I have never purchased any apps — not a single one — from the Windows store for any of my Win8 or Win10 PCs.
As for third-party add-ons, there are tons of options available, many free or ad-supported. For example, if Win10’s native support for media playback isn’t sufficient for you, a quick peek at Download.com shows there are currently 565 third-party media players available for Windows — and that’s just one software library! Surely one of the many hundreds of available apps will meet your needs.
You are right about Media Center: it’s being phased out. It’s also going through some changes in the short term, as noted in "Microsoft Acknowledges New Issues with Windows Media Center Switchover."
There’s a good reason for Microsoft to drop Media Center. It was innovative in its day, but that day was 13 years ago.
Today, almost all cable/satellite boxes come with their own DVRs. Almost all TVs allow live streaming audio/video via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. With options such as these, there’s really no need to use a PC as the hub of a media center anymore. In fact, it’s kind of clumsy to do so.
But if you really want to, there are plenty of third-party media-center replacements available. Here’s more information:
- "5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center on Windows 8 or 10" – How-To Geek article
- "Alternatives to Windows Media Center (Make your own home theater PC)" – Liliputing article
- "Windows Media Center is dead — here are the best alternatives" – ExtremeTech article
As for .Net, Microsoft is killing the 13-year-old technology for good reasons. It's clunky, hard-to-maintain, and made of patches upon updates upon still more patches.
It’s just not reasonable to expect that old technology will be supported forever, especially when so many more-current and equally capable (or even superior) alternatives exist.
But maybe your interests and needs lie elsewhere. In which case, Win10 might well not be suitable for you. That’s perfectly fine; for now, you can stick with Win7 — a truly great OS — and Win8.1, which is modern and capable. No one is forcing you to change.
Both operating systems have years of life left; Win7 will continue to be supported until 2020 and Win8.1 until 2023.
(Originally published on Windows Secrets on Thursday, August 5, 2015.)
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