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Windows XP "Reduced Media Edition" Revealed

This week at Neowin we've had the chance to take a look at Microsoft's answer to the controversial EU decision.

Microsoft have been forced to remove their Windows Media Player from Windows XP. The product which was originally named "Reduced Media Edition" is rumoured to be renamed after the EU complained to Microsoft officials about their naming strategy.

During the setup it's clear that Microsoft have changed the EULA of Windows XP adding in the following:


Certain portions of Windows XP Professional associated with Windows Media are not included in the Software ("Removed Code"). The absence of the Removed Code renders inoperable certain Windows XP Professional features related to playback of media, transfer of media to devices, creation and editing of personal video, content protection of media, and playback of Windows Media audio and video by third-party software and websites unless additional software is installed. A partial list of currently known issues is available at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=30822."

Once setup is finished users are presented with the standard configuration of Windows XP. However as part of the very limited changes in this edition users are first informed that this version of XP "includes standard Windows functionality, with the exception of certain Windows multimedia technologies". Once XP is finished installing the system properties show that the operating system recognises itself as "Reduced Media Edition", however, no other UI differences can be noted. Interestingly Microsoft left the "Play All" option in the Music Tasks pane within explorer. Using this link just causes the system to throw up an error sound but no onscreen message.

When a user wants to play a .wma file they're presented with the default option of going onto the internet to find what WMA is associated with. On the Windows File Association site users are given the two options of installing Windows Media Player or Winamp. Once WMP10 is installed on the system the user cannot remove it and cannot revert back to an edition of Windows XP without Windows Media Player. If WMP10 is installed users can use the "Play All" option in explorer.

All in all, there haven't been many major changes to this edition and it's expected to be released in the coming weeks under a different name. With OEM PC makers rejecting the OS and little interest from consumers, one can't but wonder just how happy the EU is going to be with the outcome of this judgement. In other news, Open Source developers have complained that Microsoft's proposed resolution regarding inter-operability licenses shuts out developers working under the GPL. Open Source groups hope to lobby the EU not to accept Microsoft's proposals.

Screenshot: Setup | System Properties | Play All Option | Play WMA? | File Associations

View: Microsoft To Rename Media Free XP

View: Microsoft Accepts EU Decision

View: Microsoft Loses EU Appeal

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