How to Play DVDs in Windows Media Center (Without Leaving the Couch)

This tutorial will guide you through adding your DVDs to Windows Media Center (part of Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate), so you don’t have to get up off the couch and switch discs each time you want to watch a movie.

Please note: This guide was published back in 2008 and is now considered out of date unless you’re still using Windows Vista. All of the software referenced in this guide still exists, although may have changed a bit (you should still be able to follow along with no problems).

Using a few free programs, you can add your entire DVD collection (or a portion of it) to your hard drive, and then access them via Windows Media Center. This isn’t a tutorial on how to encode/convert your DVDs to a different video format, rather, it explains how to watch them in full DVD quality, via Windows Media Center. Note: If you have hundreds of DVDs, you’ll need a pretty huge hard drive (or several very large hard drives) to store them on.

  1. The first step is to convert one of your DVDs into an .ISO file (step-by-step instructions can be found here).
  2. Now download and install Daemon Tools Lite. The installation is very straight forward, but you’ll need to reboot during the process. Make sure to install Daemon Tools to the default location.
  3. After you’ve created at least one .ISO file from a DVD (to test with), download and install mceDTools.

    There’s one step in the mceDTools installation you need to make sure you follow carefully. When you get to the Configure Daemon Tools Loader Settings screen, make sure you enter the full path to your .ISO files. I created a sub-folder in my Videos folder called dvd images – so the full path to my .ISO files/DVD library is: C:\Users\Ross\Videos\dvd images\


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  5. Now that Daemon Tools Lite and mceDTools are installed, and you’ve created at least one .ISO file to test with, there’s one more thing to configure. Open the Control Panel and navigate to Play CDs or other media automatically from the Hardware and Sound section.

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  7. Make sure that both DVD movie and Enhanced DVD movie are set to Play DVD movie using Windows Media Center, and then click Save.

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  9. Now launch Windows Media Center. In the TV + Movies category you’ll see that a Daemon Tools Loaded option has been added. Select it.
  10. A list of all the .ISO files (DVDs) that you’ve created and stored in your ISO folder (the one you specified back in step #3) will be listed. Select one…

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  12. and it will start playing! You can go back to the main menu and select another movie, and it will load. No more getting off the couch!

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1 thought on “How to Play DVDs in Windows Media Center (Without Leaving the Couch)”

  1. Worked perfectly for me; however watch out for the application permission dialog box that appears behind Windows Media Center the first time the daemon runs in Vista.

    thanks

    Bill

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