[German]Just a brief note: For Windows 10 users using a Windows 10 N variant, Microsoft has released the Media Feature Pack for Windows 10 N version 1809. This is required for certain features in Windows 10. Addendum: The Media Feature Pack for V1809 has been re-released on Nov. 13, 2018.
This time it went quite fast – Microsoft has already made the Media Feature Pack for Windows 10 N 1809 available for download on its servers before the broader rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
Note: Due to the data fiasko with Windows 10 V1809 Microsoft halted the rollout and pulled also the Media Feature Pack for V1809. We have to wait, untill it’s re-released – sorry.
What is Windows 10 N?
Windows N is the version of the operating system without media player and media functions. It has been offered by Microsoft (under pressure from the EU competition authorities) for years. N stands for no media features. Also for Windows 10 there is a so-called N-variant – Windows 10 KN is a reduced version developed for Korea without media features. In practice, I think that OEM manufacturers do not offer Windows 10 N installations. Usually, it is students or other users who at some point will be able to purchase a Windows 10 N installation at a reasonable price.
Who needs the Media Feature Pack and why?
If someone uses a Windows 10 N, the media functions are missing. In addition to the missing Windows Media Player, which could be substituted by VLC player, there are other problems. Without the media features that are missing in Windows 10 N, there are more limitations.
- Apps with media play back features (Groove Music, Video app etc.) won’t work
- Connecting smartphones, cameras and mobile devices via USB cable fails, because there is no support for media transfer using Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP).
- New features like Windows Mixed Reality, Cortana, Windows Hello, and the PDF display in the new Edge browser based on Windows Media files are not included in Windows 10 N.
This Microsoft site lists further functional limitations of the Windows 10 N version. Only by installing the Media Feature Pack are the missing functions retrofitted and it is, for example, possible to import photos or display PDF documents again.
Note that the Media Feature Pack for N versions of Windows 10 is not compatible with Windows Mixed Reality. Users who want to use Windows Mixed Reality must install a non-N version of Windows 10.
Where can I get the Media Feature Pack?
Microsoft provides the Media Feature Pack for the Windows N variants for free download. The problem is that after each feature upgrade you need the appropriate version of the Media Feature Pack for the build. For Windows 10 N Version 1809 (October update) you need the Media Feature Pack for Version 1809 (older versions will be removed with function updates).
The updated Media Feature Pack for Windows 10 N Version 1809 isn’t already linked on the Media Feature Pack list for Windows N editions site. Details about the Media Feature Pack for Windows 10 N Version 1809 including a download link may be found at this Microsoft page.
When selecting the download, please make sure that (if offered, the language “German” and then) the 32- or 64-bit package that matches the installed Windows 10 N is downloaded. Currently only the English version is offered to me. Then select the downloaded file with a double click and install it. At the latest after a restart of the system the media functions should be available.