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Dell MediaDirect is a preboot environment based on Windows XP created by Cyberlink to provide access for multimedia playback and since version 3.0 it also offers basic office functionalities to the user without having to load the whole operating system. Oposite to previous 2.x series, MediaDirect 3.x offers a mediacenter experience within and outside Windows, being able to open the program using the MediaDirect button while system is off or hibernating or within windows using the programs menu.
5 add supports for Dell Inspiron 1420/1520/1525, XPS 1330/1530 only, therefore it cant be installed on previous portable series. Dell added also surround audio, true theater, bluray profile 1.1 and some minor user interface tweaks.
Application boottime was about the half of Windows XP, my portable have Windows Vista, so it looks even faster, however its not an Instand ON OS, since it still boot from a patition on your hard drive.
Using the program preboot environment was very nice, however first time users will need to wait a few minutes while it scan your hard drive for multimedia files. I didnt had the chance to test bluray but DVD and avi playback were smooth, unfortunately it doesnt support divx or xvid.
Within Windows there is no difference but obviously the program isnt a competitor of most advanced players like Windows Media Center, but a good offer for those that have Windows Vista basic.