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Installing the Operating System

Figure 5 gives a bird's-eye view of the semi-completed system. Now it's time to install the OS. MCE is actually installed as what appears to be a normal Windows XP platform. It's not until you've installed it and booted into MCE from the XP Start menu (or via the OEM remote control Start button) that you'll notice the dramatic change. During install, I set up the entire hard drive as one partition. Software installation after that was straightforward, including the drivers that came with the motherboard, PCI cards, etc.

As soon as the OS was up, I clicked Start, Media Center and booted into MCE. It was breathtaking. I popped in a classical music CD and hit Play from the remote. The result was beautiful surround sound. Then I took my CF memory card out of my digital camera and inserted it into the card reader. Presto! In a moment, I had a commercial-grade slide show, with music, running on my TV. It's now the central conversation piece whenever guests are over.

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