I ran into friend and subscriber Sam Boggs recently at a home & landscaping show. He followed up to tell me about this recent experience.
My first thought was "now, that’s weird, I haven’t heard of that problem before." Then, I realized I had experienced something very similar with Microsoft’s Virtual PC software…
When I saw you today, I mentioned an odd problem I had with my computer. After a successful installation of Windows 7, a few weeks later Windows Media Center (WMC) and Windows Media Player (WMP) had "disappeared." Couldn’t even find them in the add/remove programs list.
I then tried to download WMP from an on-line source, but couldn’t install, getting the message that it was already installed. A Google search found the solution to this dilemma and I thought I’d pass this along FYI.
I followed the attached instructions (from Microsoft), and it worked like a champ.
Typed "Turn Windows features On or Off" in the Search bar from the Start menu. WMC and WMP were already checked (though non-functional), so I unchecked them and rebooted.
The computer took about 3 – 5 minutes for this process. When it came back up, I saw "Media Center" and "Windows Media Player" in the Start menu list.
But I didn’t open them yet; I rebooted again after doing the same On/Off process described above to be sure the two boxes were checked.
Now it was properly called "Windows Media Center" rather than just "Media Center", if that matters. I now opened each of them, and they work fine.
My own experience was when I installed Microsoft Virtual PC, a free download, on my desktop computer, which is running 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate.
I downloaded a Windows XP image with IE7 directly into the directory that the Virtual PC installation set up for the image files. Unfortunately, the downloaded file was compressed on some form, not ready to run.
When I started Microsoft Virtual PC, it lost its mind — and vanished… As with Sam’s experience, it didn’t even show in the Uninstall a Program list.
However, that Uninstall a Program function is what enabled me to find it. When I opened Control Panel > Uninstall a Program, I found the usual "Turn Windows features on or off" function on the left. When I selected that, I found Microsoft Virtual PC — TURNED OFF! No notice, no nothing, just turned off.
About that time, I decided that the 700MB download of a Windows XP image was bad enough, but I had no desire to download a 3-file 2GB image of Vista with IE7 and another with IE8, as well as large images of XP with IE7 and IE8.
I also read the notes, which specifically said that these downloads did not include any necessary license to run those Windows versions. I had intended to use them to check my web site pages to make sure that they worked in IE6, IE7 and IE8.
I ended up uninstalling Microsoft Virtual PC, as worthless to me because of (1) the size of the image files necessary, (2) the short term life of the images (they expired within 2-3 months), (3) and the unfriendly license terms.
Why was I even trying to do this? Microsoft’s IE6 Countdown page has a link "Join Us" for web site owners. It offers an IE6 Countdown banner for web sites that is supposed to only show up when the web browser is IE6. The page says to make sure it only shows in IE6 and says "(Our free Virtual PC VHD’s can help you out here.) ". That "free" is an entirely different concept than the other document’s statement that the VHD’s don’t include the license necessary for you to use them.