Dead Windows Media Center returns? Ex-Microsoft employee posts SDK on GitHub

A former Microsoft employee has published the SDK for Windows Media Center.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

A former Microsoft staffer has posted bits of the old and long-dead Windows Media Center on code repository GitHub. It could help developers improve their own apps but won't do anything to revive the unpopular media player.  

Windows Media Center, Microsoft's effort to bring Windows into living rooms, was pronounced dead years ago, but still lives on in Windows 7 machines. The software made it to the Windows 8 Pro edition in 2012, but by 2015 Microsoft firmly said it would have no place in Windows 10

At the time, Microsoft found it was mainly being used to play DVDs, but in the early days of Netflix's streaming service – when PCs still had a chance of coming with built-in DVD drives – the Windows maker did supply an SDK, or software development kit, that let apps like Netflix play content through Windows Media Center.  

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)    

Windows 7 users, of course, can still use the pre-installed Windows Media Center, but as The Register reports, a former Microsoft staffer decided to put the SDK on GitHub for the sake of "preserving a bit of history for the diaspora that created Windows Media Center" because Microsoft had removed the original link to the installer.  

The SDK doesn't actually help anyone do much. However, it is a relic of some importance, albeit of an unpopular product, that could inspire someone to build something from it. 

Media Center arrived in 2002 with Windows XP and proposed the notion of PC-based TV tuners and a better way of media playback with the aid of a remote device. The SDK meanwhile never attracted many useful add-ons for Microsoft's media player.

According to the ex-Microsoft employee, the Windows Media Center SDK does have a few useful tools for developers, which could help them create a testing-and-automaton framework for their own apps, and a preview tool to help them use their own authoring tools. 

The SDK doesn't mean Microsoft has open-sourced its old media player software, but the company has done so for other dead products via GitHub, which it bought for $7.5bn last year

Examples of old apps it has open-sourced and published on GitHub recently include the 1990 Windows File Manager, MS-DOS, and most recently the Windows Calculator

More on Microsoft, Windows, and open source

Editorial standards