The app runs on XP or Vista, but there are a couple hardware and software prerequisites. Your computer’s video card needs to support Pixel Shader 2.0 technology… if not, you’re out of luck using this Encoder 2. If you have a fast internet connection and the big download isn’t a problem, do the installation and let it tell you if there’s an issue with your video card. Then save the installation package for your other computers.
You’ll also need to be using XP or Vista with Microsoft .NET 3.5 Framework. If that version of the .NET Framework isn’t installed, the Encoder installation will do it for you. It’ll also point you to any other important updates you may need or want to do.
If you haven’t done so already, download the installation package and install it on your computer. Here’s the link to Microsoft’s download site.
Get the full trial version and let it turn into the Express version after 30 days.
The download file is a large 211 MB one named Encoder_Trial_en.exe. Open it to do the installation.
As the installation continues, the Encoder software ‘initializes’, you accept the license terms, and pick your installation location if you don’t want to use the default (c:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 2 folder). It needs about 39 MB of hard drive space (on a Vista Ultimate system).
For those like me who are curious about the files in the folders, there will be three executables.
- Encoder.exe is for techies who want to run it from a ‘command line interface’. Running it opens a black box with nothing in it, which might automatically close in a few seconds. Don’t open it unless you know what you’re doing.
- EncoderUI.exe is the nice looking graphical interface for most of us. That’s what your menu or desktop icon should be pointing to. Open it.
- The Microsoft.Expression.LicenseKeyInstaller.exe is used by the app behind the scenes. There’s no need to run it directly.
When done, you’ll be ready to open Expression Encoder 2, with an option to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program. You’ll be looking at the working window of the Expression Encoder 2. [Image 1]
If you know you want the Express version, and don’t want to be tempted by the added features of the full version during the trial 30 days, advance your computer clock by a month. Open the Encoder and it’ll be the Express version. Then change the clock back and you’ll be left with the Express version.
Before importing your first video file, take a quick look at the Tools > Options > Compatibility List. With a new installation, it should be pretty empty. Line items of filters/codecs will be automatically added as you open various types of video files. For now, just be aware the Compatibility List is there.
My well used XP laptop has 57 items in the list. My less used Vista Home Basic laptop has 20, and my brand spanking new Vista Ultimate desktop has nothing. [Images 2, 3, 4]. What’s this list all about? It’s a view into some of the codecs/filters the Encoder can use.
The Compatibility List is a key feature…. I’ll cover It more fully in part 4 of this series.