How to Upgrade to Windows Media Center on Your Surface

By Andy Rathbone

The Windows Desktop app doesn’t offer much to owners of the Surface RT and Surface 2. But on the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, the desktop is a fully functioning version of Windows 8.1 Pro. That’s right: Those models are powerful desktop PCs that are flattened into a tablet.

Like all versions of Windows 8.1 Pro, you can upgrade your Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 to Windows Media Center for only $10. Designed to run on a television set screen, Windows Media Center never really took off on desktop PCs. But tablets give this powerful piece of software new life.

If you’re already recording TV shows with Windows Media Center on your desktop PC, by all means, upgrade your Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 to Windows Media Center so you can watch your recorded shows on your Surface. To upgrade to Windows Media Center, follow these steps:

  1. From any screen, fetch the Charms bar by sliding your finger inward from the screen’s right edge. Then tap the Search icon.

  2. Type the words add features into the Search box and press Enter.

  3. Tap the Add Features to Windows 8.1 link when it appears below the Search box.

  4. The Add Features to Windows 8.1 window appears.

  5. Tap the words I Want to Buy a Product Key Online.

  6. The window lists Windows 8.1 Media Center Pack.

  7. Tap the Choose button, fill out your billing information if necessary, and tap the Next button.

  8. Follow the steps to purchase and enter a product key.

When you finish, your Surface Pro or Pro 2 restarts. When it returns to the screen, Windows Media Center appears as a tile on the Start screen’s All Apps area. By adding a USB TV Tuner connected to a TV signal, you can even record TV shows for later viewing on the road.