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Paul D. Murphy

Better Lemonade Mousetraps

How to join Windows Media Center 2005 to a domain

 From Microsoft



Can I connect a new PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 to a work network or domain?


While you can access network resources on a work network or a domain, you cannot join a Windows XP Media Center 2005 PC to the domain. PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are designed specifically for home use. Professional features, specifically Domain Join and Cached Credentials (Credentials Manager for logins) are not included. As a result, you will be prompted for your login username/password to access network resources after a reboot or logging back into the PC. In addition, file shares or network resources set to require a domain-joined PC for access will not be available. Remote Desktop and Encrypting File System support are still included.


From Chris123nt

1.       Insert Windows XP CD.

2.       Start > Run > X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons
(replace X: with the appropiate drive letter)

3.       Acknowledge prompt by clicking 'Yes'.

4.       Skip updating process by clicking 'Cancel' or by pressing 'Esc'

5.       After installation, acknowledge success msg. by clicking 'Ok'

6.       Start > Shutdown > Restart

7.       At boot menu, select 'Microsoft Windows Recovery Console'

8.       Select proper installation to log onto (default: 1) and press 'Enter'
(If prompted, enter Administrator password and press 'Enter')

9.       Type (without quotes) and press enter: 'cd system32\config'

10.    Type (without quotes) and press enter: 'copy SYSTEM C:\'

11.    Type (without quotes) and press enter: exit

12.    At boot menu, select 'Windows XP Media Center Edition'

13.    Log into Windows and play a game of minesweeper (very important)

14.    Start > Run > Type: 'regedit' and press enter

15.    Click on 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE'.

16.    File > Load Hive...

17.    Browse and select C:\SYSTEM

18.    Specify key name 'BANANA' and click OK

19.    Expand: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > BANANA > WPA > MedCtrUpg

20.    On the right-hand side, double-click IsLegacyMCE value

21.    Change selected value to 1 and click Ok. (THAT IS NOT AN L!)

22.    Click on BANANA subkey (under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE).

23.    File > Unload Hive. Confirm.

24.    Start > Shutdown > Restart

25.    At boot menu, select 'Microsoft Windows Recovery Console'

26.    Take sip of Dr. Pepper (very important)

27.    Select proper installation to log onto (default: 1) and press 'Enter'
(If prompted, enter Administrator password and press 'Enter')

28.    Type (without quotes) and press enter: 'cd \'

29.    Type (without quotes) and press enter: 'copy SYSTEM C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM'
(Yes, you want to overwrite - Go ahead and do it)

30.    Type (without quotes) and press enter: 'del SYSTEM'

31.    Type (without quotes) and press enter: 'exit'

32.    At boot menu, select 'Windows XP Media Center Edition'

33.    Take a piss while you wait.

34.    Join domain. What, you were expecting instructions on this too?

 Update: 6/17/2006 Just to be clear. I didn't discover this. Legendary Windows hacker Chris123NT did. I just republished it because it seemed like the world needed to know about it.


Published Wednesday, February 9, 2005 11:04 PM by pmurphy



Jason N. Gaylord said:

Apparently, Paul Murphy has found a solution to networking a Windows Media Center 2005 PC to a network.
January 25, 2006 11:16 AM

Kevin said:

Must be a joke. I tried it and when I follow the instructions to join a domain (right click on my computer > properties > computer name tab > change ) the "domain" button is it greyed out. It still doesn't work.
March 4, 2006 4:15 PM

JoVaughn said:

This solution has worked for me. it's the real deal contrary to what kevin said, he may have performed one of the step incorrectly or skipped one because if you follows the steps exactly as they're layed out it works. thanks a million
March 14, 2006 7:38 AM

David said: this serious? A "bannana" registry key? playing minesweeper, drinking Dr. Pepper, and going to the toilet are 'important' steps? And what XP CD do you insert? the OEM-provided XPMCE or an XP-Pro CD?
March 31, 2006 4:00 PM

Brian said:

That was awesome! Although I must admin I drank Coca Cola classic instead of Dr. Pepper.
April 6, 2006 11:06 AM

Rick said:

This procedure worked flawlessly on a pair of Dell E510's with XP-MCE 2005. I used a Dell copy of XP-Pro which came with one of my XPS 400's. Your experience *may* vary, but mine was perfect. Thanks to all those who worked out the solution.
April 8, 2006 11:29 PM

Mike Giangrasso said:

Seamless integration on a Dell Inspiron e1505 with XP Pro Install CD - just had to remove the MS Recovery Console from BOOT.INI afterwards.

Nice job!

April 26, 2006 8:49 PM

Craig said:

Works a treat - just follow the instructions!
May 2, 2006 4:06 AM

Jim said:

Worked great - thanks - Mine was a cup of Tea!
May 2, 2006 4:13 AM

Chuck G said:

Mine didn't work great, got my XP pro CD out and tried to " Start > Run > X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons " the cmd window just flashed, so I tried to run it from a command line, got no responce  argh,   I don't really need domain, but cached credentials would be nice.
May 3, 2006 11:16 AM

Dominic said:

Hi Chuck,
Think X should be your Cd drive ie 'D' or 'E' or what ever, and Banana is so it is guaranteed to be a key that microsoft would never use. (unless Vista beta was called banana)
May 4, 2006 1:37 PM

Chris said:

\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons
Gives me the error that my installed OS is more current, and will not let me do this.

I have the rollup2 installed. Any workaround for this?
June 20, 2006 1:28 AM

pmurphy said:

I'm not sure Chris. You can also get to the command console by booting from the CD and launching the recovery mode.
June 26, 2006 1:28 PM

Paul said:

Worked great for me on a Dell E1405 MSE 2005 Update 2~
June 27, 2006 4:18 PM

j-fac said:

Worked well for me, and I skipped the game of Minesweeper and the Dr. Pepper... however, and this I think was the trick. I did it naked!

Oh and I used the i386 directory off the MCE 2005 install CD  to install the recovery console (actually MSDN but hey, same code)

Nice job on the registry key find.

July 14, 2006 3:06 PM

turnertodd said:

you are the man!!!!!  thanks a million.
July 17, 2006 7:58 PM

Xsoftie said:

I bought a new HP notebook for work and was I pissed off to find out it was not able to join a domain!!!!   I spent an hour with the sales guy looking at machines and it was never discussed.   Any way I called HP support and they gave me this same procedure as a workaround.  Of course they neglected to mention Dr Pepper take a piss or being naked>   Will give it a shot and see what happens using Tequila.
August 2, 2006 3:57 PM

Xsoftie said:

I must amend my last post to point out that not only did HP leave out some of the colorful steps,  they also left out the steps involving copying SYSTEM to the root.   I considered letting them know of their error but then why would I want to do that.  

BTW it worked fine from an the HP OEM XP CD but would not work from the OEM Media Center CD.
August 2, 2006 5:07 PM

TATA said:

Works like a charm. Saved my ass. Thank you buckets.
August 8, 2006 1:44 PM

Luke said:

Wow, that was awesome.
August 10, 2006 2:52 PM

Eddy said:

Chris123NT is a legend. The hack works a treat. The domain button becomes active. Up yours mickeysoft and your sodding crippleware!
August 14, 2006 9:39 AM

Captain J said:

I just tackled this issue on an HP laptop where I ran into a huge catch 22. The hard drive was not visible at all except in Windows. Recovery console would just blue-screen, windows setup wouldnt see the drive to load XP Pro, nothing was working. Finally used the Hiren's cd to boot into NTFS 4 Dos so that I could have full access to the partition and was able to copy the system file to another location so that I could edit it in Windows. Wow. It DID work just fine afterwards and joined the domain.
August 15, 2006 7:02 PM

Workindad said:

Me too on a new HP laptop.  Note that with HP preinstalled MCE notebooks there is an i386 direcory on the C: drive.  I made a CD copy of it and ran winnt32 from the CD but you might be able to run it from the C:\i386 dir directly.

Also I had to Disable SATA Native Support in the BIOS setup in order to get the recovery console to boot.  Otherwise I would get a blue screen with a 7B stop code.  Reenable after completing the hack for improved HDD performance.

Other than that, the process worked like a dream.
August 20, 2006 7:24 PM

Zandebar said:

This Work Bril I loved the game of minesweeper.

Now how do I get rid of the boot menu with Recovery

August 26, 2006 7:17 AM

Wanderer said:

You can get rid of the boot menu by removing the line for Windows Recovery Console from C:\boot.ini. If you can't see it, open Windows Explorer, go to Tools -> Folder Options -> View, and check "Show hidden files and folders" and uncheck "Hide protected operating system files". Now right click on C:\boot.ini and uncheck the "Read Only" box temporarily. Open boot.ini and get rid of the line that mentions Windows Recovery Console and save the file.

August 26, 2006 3:50 PM

Chars said:

To try that which cd. The OEM-provided XPMCE or an XP-Pro CD?

August 27, 2006 12:29 PM

JRiddle said:

This solution worked perfectly for me. I'm using a Dell Inspirion 9300. I installed my own Media Center 2005. I had all the rollups and when I tried the first few steps, it did tell me that the version on my machine was newer and it could not continue. So I just booted from the cd and selected "Repair Using Recovery Console" when prompted. From there it went fine. I had to do the same thing at the next reboot after the registry modifications.

Using this method, you will not need to modify the boot.ini file after completing the procedure in order to get rid of the boot option.

August 27, 2006 5:24 PM

MLH said:

Aww, crap, I don't have any Dr. Pepper! -I'm doomed!

August 31, 2006 3:25 PM - Real Fowl » Joining Windows Media Center Edition 2005 to Domain said:

September 22, 2006 3:44 PM

waynejci said:

Thanks for the HP workaround workindad. I was getting the bsod and was going nuts until I read your post about disabling SATA native support in the bios. After that it worked flawlessly. Very nice!

October 4, 2006 11:22 AM

Tuan Anh said:

I use a Toshiba laptop A105-S4014 with OS MCE 2005, I tried to do as the instruction but failed cause I install the winnt32.exe, it asks me to enter the key of windows XP CD key, i enter but nothing works, I press the ECS and received notice meaning like cannot.

How can I do now? anyone can help me please

October 19, 2006 2:41 AM

Ram said:

I bought 8 copies MCE 2005 ,OEM to set up to 8 PCs to be used in a

small business with a server.Reason was MCE is cheaper than XP Pro,

and much nicer interface.

When i could not connect to the domain,i panicked as,it would be loss

of over $ 1200,and re installinmg the XP Pro.

Chris 123nt saved my day and money.

Great job,thanks million times.

November 6, 2006 10:56 PM
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