How to join Media Center 2005 to a domain

Media Center, as implied by it's name is designed for use by domestic users in their homes, as such Microsoft have disabled the ability to join Media Center 2005 to a domain.

If however, you've been lucky enough to purchase an upgrade, then you can still join a domain. The process below outlines how to make Media Center "believe" it's been upgraded, even if it hasn't. You'll need the recovery console installed (see below) for this process and will need to make a few restarts, so unless you have a photographic memory, or more likely, a second PC, I suggest you print this tutorial.

Stage 1:

  1. Reboot the computer and choose 'Microsoft Windows Recovery Console'.
  2. Select the appropriate installation and logon to it.
  3. Type 'cd system32\config' and press enter.
  4. Type 'copy SYSTEM C:\' and press enter.
  5. Type 'exit' and, you guessed it, press enter.

Stage 2:

  1. Once back in Windows, load the Registry Editor (Start, Run, type 'regedit.exe' and click Open).
  2. Select the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  3. From the File menu, choose 'Load Hive...' and type in 'C:\SYSTEM' followed by enter.
  4. Specify the key name as MOOCOW and click OK.
  5. Browse to HKLM\MOOCOW\WPA\MedCtrUpg.
  6. Change the value of IsLegacyMCE to 1 and click OK.
  7. Click back on the MOOCOW subkey.
  8. Choose File > Unload Hive and confirm.

Stage 3:

  1. Reboot the computer once more and return to the Recovery Console.
  2. Once logged in, type 'CD \' and press enter.
  3. Then type 'copy SYSTEM C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM' and press enter.
  4. Type 'del SYSTEM' and press enter, and finally, type 'exit' and enter again.

The 'Network ID' button and domain radio box should now be enabled on the Computer Name tab of system properties.

Setup the Recovery Console

Personally I think this should be available in the F8 boot options menu, but hey who cares what I think. If you want an option for the recovery console, it's fairly simple:

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD
  2. Click 'Start' and 'Run'
  3. Type in 'x:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons' and click Open/press enter.
    x represents whatever drive letter your CD drive is using.

It's entirely up to you whether you skip the update process or not, I do.