Vista Home Premium Downgrades MCE

As much as I like Microsoft products I have to say I really hate some of their business decisions when it comes to Vista. My biggest beef is the fact that Home Premium doesn’t include Remote Desktop.

A common setup of Media Center is to run a headless (without monitor, keyboard or mouse) Media Center machine that records while an extender, in my case an XBox 360, is used to watch the recorded content. The only thing that makes this possible is the fact that Media Center Edition (the pre-Vista version) includes Remote Desktop. Whenever I need to check disk space, make sure updates are installed, install new tuners, install new drives, etc. I just remote into my MCE machine and manage it that way.

Along comes Vista and I find that Remote Desktop is considered some kind of ultra-premium feature and now you have to go all the way to Ultimate to both Remote Desktop and Media Center. So now a machine that sits in a corner, that doesn’t even need the Aero interface, much less Ultimate Extras, is going to need Vista Ultimate in order to function like it used to.

What really brought all of this home was the fact that I recently picked up a new HP dv9000 laptop, thinking that when the laptop out-lived it’s usefulness I could turn it into a Media Center to replace the pre-Vista MCE tower I have in my office. Planning for this I paid for the small upgrade to MCE with the coupon for Vista Home Premium when it finally came out. Well, I get Vista Home Premium, install it, and discover that suddenly what I could do in MCE I can no longer do in Vista Home Premium. So in essence what I got was a coupon for a downgraded OS.

Microsoft has done some wonderful technological advances with Vista but has failed horribly when it comes to to their tiering structure. It’s no secret that while they have some top-notch engineers their business and marketing leaders leave a lot to be desired.

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