If you’re a fan of Zune Desktop Player, whether you own the Zune device or not, you might want the ability to launch it from Windows 7 Media Center. With the help of a freeware application, we can make it happen and we’ll show you how to set it up.
1. If you don’t have it already, download and install the latest version of Zune Desktop Player – which at the time of this writing is 4.7. Keep in mind that you don’t need to own the Zune device to download the player. I have it on my system, and actually like it better for managing and listening to podcasts while working at my computer.
2. To complete the installation a reboot is required.
3. After you have Zune Desktop Player installed and configured, download and install Media Center Studio Beta. Before installing Media Center Studio, make sure you’re closed out of Windows Media Center.
Media Center Studio is a free program that lets you personalize and add extra functionality to Windows Media Center, we’ll be taking a closer look at what it has to offer in future articles.
4. Media Center Studio will launch and you’ll need to click on the Start Menu tab next to Themes.
5. Then click Start Menu on the ribbon interface, then Application in the Insert group.
6. In the Title field, clear out New Entry Point and give it a new title…Zune Desktop Player or something similar. Then enter the following into the path field:
Then the Zune icon will show under Active Image. If you want to change it for any reason, just click on Browse and find the image you want.
7. There are a couple other settings to tweak in the section. Under When launched, do the following select Stop the currently playing media or select to pause or mute it. Otherwise when you open Zune Player from Windows Media Center while something else is playing, it will continue to play in the background.
8. You can also click the “+” button under Close the program when these buttons are pressed.
9. A message will pop up, then you can press the key or keyboard combination you want to use to close the application. Like in this example I selected the Tab key.
10. Then at the top click the Home tab then Save.
11. After saving, click the Start Menu tab, then click the arrow button next to Entry points.
12. Now you’ll see the available programs, including the Zune Player.
13. Click on the Zune icon and drag it up to one of the menu strips on the Start Menu where you want it to appear. Here we’re moving it to the Music label…but you can place it anywhere on in the Start Menu.
14. Once you drop it there, notice you can edit the name or click the X icon to remove it later if you want to.
15. Make sure to save the changes again and close out of Media Center Studio.
16. Now open Windows Media Center and scroll to the location where you placed Zune Player on the Start Menu.
17. Then click on the Zune Player icon (or select it if you’re using a remote) in the Start Menu to launch it. It doesn’t actually launch inside Windows Media Center, but it’s cool to be able to launch it from the WMC interface.
18. Then if you want to close out of Zune Player and go back to Media Center, use the keyboard shortcut you set up earlier.
If you like the Zune Desktop Player, and want to access it easily from Windows Media Center, using Media Center Studio and this guide, you can get it done. Have fun!