Windows XP Pro can't play DVDs out of the box

I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, so? Well, it was a news flash to me.

I spent the day in Washington, DC yesterday. My new Honda Odyssey (more on that in another entry) came with a DVD outlining its features and I thought it would be a good time killer for the train to watch it. I’m sitting on the Amtrak, I pull out my Dell Inspiron 9300, pop in the DVD and nothing. Doesn’t auto play as I had expected it to do and it did many times before…and then it dawns on me…many times **before I installed Windows XP to a [brand new clean hard drive.](http://www.momathome.com/viewfromhome/2005/08/clicking_is_nev.php)**

Reinstall Mac OS X and you can play a DVD five minutes later. Reinstall Windows XP and you can play a DVD only after you’ve installed whatever DVD-playing software you’ve either purchased or that came with the system. When I got the new hard drive, I reinstalled the drivers but I skipped the “Applications” CD they sent. I didn’t want or need or all the demos of Earthlink, AOL, Jukebox, etc. I wonder if the Media Center edition of Windows XP comes with a DVD player? I imagine it must.

So no movies on the train on this trip. This morning I pull out that Applications CD and while I can install “Dell Media Experience” there is no DVD/CD burning software.

I just got off the phone with Dell support. Went around with them a bit as they kept insisting that the PowerDVD CD came with my system when I originally purchased it, I kept insisting it didn’t. “You sent me the additional software I ordered, MS Office Small Business and Norton Internet Security and an AOL 9.0 CD. No other CDs. The manual says it’s all in a restore partition which is warm and toasty on a dead hard drive.” Finally he agreed to send me the CD. Sheesh.

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