I was browsing through some of the online Windows Media Center documentation we have on MSDN and I found some links that I thought were useful and I wanted to publish them as a blog post to try to enhance the discoverability. There is a set of presentations and design documents that can be found from a link titled Media Center PC Design - Overview on the main MSDN Media Center developer page (it is the 3rd link under Additional Resources in the bottom right-hand corner).
On that Media Center PC Design page, I found a link at the bottom of the Developer Resources section that you can use to download the Windows XP Media Center Edition Test Kit. Until I found this test kit download site, I hadn't realized there was a publicly available version of this tool. The product team uses this tool (called MCDiag for short) all the time during day-to-day development and debugging. It can be used for the following tasks:
- It provides a nice interface to quickly assess whether or not your machine will run Media Center by looking at the hardware, software and drivers installed on your machine and comparing against officially supported Media Center configuration information.
- It lets you gather detailed system snapshot information - we use this most commonly to diagnose Media Center functional problems on machines that we do not have physical access to connect to via Remote Desktop.
- There are a set of tests that can be run via MCDiag to make sure that your Media Center is working correctly and also to stress test your Media Center.
I thought some of you might find this test kit useful, so I'd encourage you to install it and try it out. After installation, you'll find all of the test kit tools and documents installed to C:\Program Files\Media Center Test Kit 2.0 RTM R1\ on your computer.
<update 10/10/2005> When I originally posted this link to the test kit I did not realize there were issues with the test kit deleting recorded TV shows and scheduled recordings. Please read the comments posted along with this blog post very carefully before using this test kit. I strongly advise that you use it only on new Media Center computers prior to deploying them (or use the diagnostic part of the tool but stay away from the Tests tab.