Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

There is much to admire about the march of technology, but it has its dark side as well – a rate of obsolescence that takes my breath away.

A case in point.

I thought that I would upgrade our Home Theatre PC, which has been running Windows 7 and Windows Media Center quite happily for a couple of years, to Windows 8 Pro and the castrated Windows Media Center that comes with it.  This was done just to see:

  1. whether the latest and greatest software actually gave any improvement over what I had, and partly,
  2. to position myself to take advantage of the possibility that new Windows 8 applications might prove worthy replacements for the venerable Windows Media Center.

Well, I tried. I have given the new setup a month or two, but today I went back to my trusted Windows 7 + Windows Media Center combination.

What transpired was the fact that Microsoft really, really want to kill Windows Media Center stone dead, and Intel really, really, are just not interested in supporting older hardware with Windows 8 drivers.

I battled with the fact that Microsoft had taken functionality out of Windows Media Center for Windows 8 Pro, and wrote scripts to boot directly into Windows Media Center when the HTPC was turned on. That sort of worked, not always, mind. I had the feeling that it was a string and sealing wax sort of solution. But I could more or less live with it.

However, today I finally discovered something that had been lurking in the undergrowth all along. Our HTPC uses a motherboard that has the Intel 1156 socket and the H57 chipset. I was concerned that the software drivers for Windows 8 were not of the best, and today I discovered why. Intel don’t make Windows 8 drivers for the CPUs and chipsets for the products that use the 1156 socket. They date from 2010.

Er, hello, this is not yet three years old, and it is obsolete?

A plague on both your houses.

I’ve restored the system images of our Windows 7 + WMC software onto our HTPC (thank heavens at least for Windows Home Server 2011). We’ll struggle on somehow without the dubious benefits of Microsoft’s and Intel’s efforts to sell us newer technology.

Fuck ‘em.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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6 Responses to Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

  1. Mark says:

    With the demise of AMD, Intel is definitely deciding they are in the drivers seat (and not the customer) for just about everything. Look at Intels decision to stop making removable processors ( http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/11/like-it-or-not-nonreplaceable-cpus-may-be-the-future-of-desktops ) – I’ve heard they backed away from this temporarily due to the outcry but Intel says its only a temporary stay.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      It seems that we are moving inexorably towards a world where major software will be only available on a subscription basis, and hardware will be deliberately obsoleted after a year or two…

  2. Hi Geoff. If you’ve never played with it, I suggest a peek at http://xbmc.org/ – XBox Media Centre is by far the best media centre I’ve used, with great community support (I’ve used it on PC and Xbox). I actually found a key on a MS site to upgrade and “release” the Win8 to Media Centre component the other week… and was sorely disappointed to find it identical to on 7. Rubbish.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Dominic, thanks for the suggestion. I actually quite like Media Center, so even though I’m aware of alternatives, such as XBMC, I’m not in a hurry to change. The thing is, Microsoft actually removed a couple of features from the version that is available for Windows 8 Pro, which is why I, and others, get so frustrated…

      • John Newby says:

        I have the same chipset (Intel 1156). I have been trying to figure out why since upgrading to Windows 8 I could no longer stream .wtv files to my Xbox through media center. Do you know if the lack of a new driver is responsible? I get an error message on the 360 that says files needed to play this video are not installed. Restart the computer or media center. Nothing seems to fix the problem.

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