Installing Media Center (Windows Version) on Linux

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Installing Media Center (Windows Version) on Linux

What you will need:

A 30 day free trial copy of Codeweaver's Crossover Linux which can be downloaded here:[1]

A 30 day free trial copy of JRiver Media Center which can be downloaded here: [2]

A computer with a current distribution of Linux installed (for example, Canonical's Ubuntu 6.10).[3]

A connection to the Internet, preferably DSL or Cable, as you will be downloading additional Windows Programs (IE6 and WMP9)

Crossover Linux, allows you to install and use an impressively large number of Windows apps and games. Crossover Linux software provides a complete Windows environment in a package called a "bottle". Each "bottle" consists of a Windows c-drive, a \program files folder and a \Windows folder complete with all required open source windows APIs. Each "bottle" creates a unique Windows environment into which the user installs one Windows program for operation in the Linux environment. The Windows program can be either one of the tested Windows Programs in Codeweaver's database of compatible programs (i.e., Internet Explorer 6, Windows Media Player 9), or any unsupported Windows program that a user is willing to experiment with. In our scenario, Codeweaver's Crossover Linux, considers MEDIA CENTER 12 to be an unsupported program.

The idea is that you install each specific Windows program into a "bottle" which can be Win98, Win2000 or WinXP based. Each installed windows application runs in its own "bottle " thereby protecting any other "bottles" containing other windows apps from interacting negatively with each other, avoiding system crashes. Crossover Linux is based on the open source WINE project, but is more robust and easier to use and setup.

Before proceeding further, I strongly recommend you read the On-line User's Guide for Crossover Linux. [4]

This page explains two ways to install MEDIA CENTER. The first is in a Windows 98 "bottle", the second (depicted graphically) is in a Windows 2000 "bottle. Neither one will give you 100% MEDIA CENTER functionality under Linux. You will have to judge whether the functionality you get is "good enough" for your purposes.

Installation With Default WIN98 Bottle

Once you have downloaded a copy of Crossover Linux and MEDIA CENTER 12 to your Linux desktop you must first install Crossover Linux. This is done by entering Terminal mode in Linux. In Ubuntu Linux click on Applications > Accessories > Terminal to open the Terminal. This is the equivalent of opening a DOS/Command window in Windows 2000 or XP. In the Terminal window you will need to type the following command [bold part only]:

 username@computername~$ sh press the "Enter" key to execute.

Note: the syntax of the command assumes that you have opened the Terminal window in the same location where the software is located. If not, just like Windows, you will need to enter the path to the software location on your Linux machine], for example:

  username@computername~$ sh /download/

Once the Crossover Linux install completes, Crossover Linux will present you with a Window in which you can begin to install your Windows programs. Note - attempting to install MEDIA CENTER 12 alone into a "bottle" will not work! MEDIA CENTER 12 needs additional supporting Windows software to work (Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Media Player 9).

At this point in the Crossover Linux installation, you want to check the box that allows you to install supported Windows software. You want to scroll down the list of supported software and install Internet Explorer 6. By default, Crossover Linux will create a Win 98 Bottle for the installation of IE6, however, do not chose a "default" installation of IE 6, instead select a custom install of IE 6. Then from within the custom selections add Windows Media Player to the same "bottle" as IE6. Then click on NEXT and let Crossover Linux proceed to download and install IE 6 and WMP 9 to the new Win 98 bottle. When done you will find an IE6 icon on your Linux desktop. You are almost done, but don't quit Crossover Linux just yet. You now need to install MEDIA CENTER 12 into the same Win98 bottle containing IE6 and WMP9. Crossover Linux will warn against installing unsupported software (like MEDIA CENTER 12) into a "bottle" containing supported apps like IE6 and WMP9. Ignore the warning!

Now click on the Install unsupported software button and browse to the MEDIA CENTER 12 exe file and select it. Then, in the next window where you are asked to select where to install the program (Install Into) click on Other bottle - LIKELY TO PRODUCE ERRORS - WIN 98. Then click on NEXT. Now MEDIA CENTER 12 will begin to install.

The only thing you should notice wrong during the MEDIA CENTER 12 install is that you will be unable to read the MEDIA CENTER license agreement, but you will be able to click on the accept button and the installation should continue to a successful conclusion. When done, along with your IE6 desktop icon, you should have a MEDIA CENTER 12 icon (albeit without an MC image for the icon face).

You should now have a functioning version of all three installed programs (Internet Explorer 6, Window Media Player 9 and MEDIA CENTER 12).

Things MEDIA CENTER Can't Do In Linux - Yet

  • "Theater View" does not work at all. Executing "Ctl + 4" or selecting "View > Theater View" immediately crashes and closes the program.
  • Downloading plugins may be a problem because the install file for plugins was written to find the MEDIA CENTER program files on a Windows computer as opposed to where the files are located on a Linux computer running Crossover Linux. However, if your music is mostly mp3, ogg vorbis, mpc or ape you should be fine.
  FLAC Update: According to an MC12 forum post by "GHAMMER", FLAC audio files can be played in linux if you:
       1. obtain a copy of the GDIPLUS.DLL from your existing Windows XP c:\windows\system32 directory
          and copy it into the CrossOver Bottle's "windows/system32" directory.
       2. Download and unzip the MC12 version of the FLAC codec from the J.River's plugin downloads page,
          and manually copy the FLAC plugin DLLs into the MC12 plugin directory.

Adding Your Music Files

If your new installation of MEDIA CENTER is on a dual boot Windows/Linux computer with your music files located on a Windows NTFS drive partition, you will need to set up Linux to see the Windows NTFS drive and to be able to read and write to the Windows NTFS drive so that you can manipulate your music files. The default drivers that come with Ubuntu Linux only permit "reading" ntfs data partitions. Therefore, in order to permit Linux to read and write to your Windows ntfs drive you must install a special driver package in Linux called ntfs-3g A point to remember: Linux sees everything as a "file" including hard discs, CDroms, DVDroms, printers, monitor, etc.

It will be necessary to edit your Linux fstab [file system table] file located in the folder /etc, to properly identify your Windows ntfs drive(s) in Linux.

For example, if your Windows E: drive holds all your music, in Linux, that E: drive might be identified as "/dev/sdb1" [indicating it is the first partition on your second SATA drive] with a mount point, for example, of /media/WindowsMusic ntfs-3g defaults, locale=en_US.utf8 0 0. Huh! What's this? Ok, here's a good HOWTO on what you will need to do: [5] For a good explanation of how Linux sees hard disc partitions read this:[6]

Once you have Linux set to see and read/write to the Windows ntfs drive holding your music files, open MEDIA CENTER 12, go to the Options menu and point it, for example, to "/media/WindowsMusic" as the location where all your music tracks are located. If your cover art is not located in the same folder as your music files, then remember to set the path to the cover art location, as well.

Now tell MEDIA CENTER to import all the files and sit back and wait for MEDIA CENTER to recreate your library database of music. Note: you are not copying the music files from the Windows drive to your Linux drive in this process. You are only recreating your music library database on the Linux installation of MEDIA CENTER.

The music will remain on the Windows drive and be played from the Windows drive, however, any changes you make to the Linux MEDIA CENTER library database will cause the music files on the Windows ntfs drive to be altered. Therefore, your Windows MEDIA CENTER library database will be out of sync with your Linux MEDIA CENTER library database.

Installation With WIN2000 Bottle

As you will gather from reading the Crossover Linux User/Installation Guide (see link above), you can install software into various "bottles" utilizing default and custom install routines. What follows below is a pictoral installation of a default installation of Internet Explorer 6 and MEDIA CENTER 12 into a Crossover Linux WIN2000 Bottle.

Close out of the Crossover Linux installation and re-open Crossover Linux in Configuration mode. If you are using Ubuntu, go to Applications > CrossOver > Configuration. The dialog window below will open:


Click on the tab Manage Bottles. In the next window:


Click on Create New Bottle, and in the next window:


In the field Bottle name enter Media Center (or any name that you wish to give this new bottle). In Create from template make sure you have win2000. Click on OK to continue.


In Available bottles you will see your new Media Center. Click on Configure and a window will open as shown below:


You will now be in the Add/Remove tab and in the Installed software section you will see All core fonts. At this point, click on Install Software. The next window will open showing you a list of available software to select for installation.


Scroll down the list and select Internet Explorer 6.0. Then click on Next.


In dialog above, click on Other existing bottle --LIKELY TO PRODUCE ERRORS -- Media Center. If, Media Center is not in the field, click the down arrow to select Media Center. Click Next to continue. The install of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Center will begin.


Click OK to proceed.


Accept the Microsoft Agreement and click Next.


Click next and the 11.3MB download and install of Internet Explorer will begin.


At the conclusion of the installation, you will see the above window. Click on Finish and CrossOver Linux will perform a software Windows restart which will return you to the next window:


In the window above, click on Install more Windows software, and proceed to the next window below:


Read the text and ignore it. Click on Next.


In the window above, click on Install unsupported software and then click Next.


In the window above, under Select product location click on Other *.exe file and browse to the location on your hard disc where you have Media Center.exe saved. Once selected the window should look like this:


Click Next.


In the window above, in the Install to section, click Other existing bottle --LIKELY TO PRODUCE ERRORS -- Media Center. Click Next,and the Media Center installation will begin:


Accept the J.River, Inc. Agreement to proceed with the installation.


Select the Express install and click Next. MEDIA CENTER will now install. You will see one error about Windows Media codecs. Ignore it. You will also see another error when MEDIA CENTER opens to the Start page - ignore it.

--Rizlaw 20:49, 25 February 2007 (CST)

Using FLAC or Wavpack

To use the FLAC or Wavpack plugins just get a copy of GDIPLUS.DLL and copy it into the bottle's windows/system32 directory. Put the plugin DLL in the Media Center plugin directory. Add the plugin manually.

Presto! FLAC and Wavpack in MC in linux. Sound so far has been smooth, no hiccups or distortion.

I'd imagine that this would work for WINE as well, but since I have CrossOver Office installed I can't test WINE.