How to control Windows 7 via TCP with vmcController

The Windows 7 release candidate (rc) hit the torrents this week and after it was confirmed authenticate by someone via an MD5 hash, I decided to go ahead and try and make the switch full time from Vista.

One of the key add-ins in my household is one that adds the ability to control Media Center and extenders via my Home Automation controller since even the basic operations in my home are dependent on it. I can’t even watch Live TV in my house if this doesn’t work, so I needed a solution. Autonomic homes has supported Windows 7 since beta, but I’m not willing to pay $800 just for this one feature, so I needed the open source project that was free to work, the same one that I was using with Vista.

The now poorly named VMCController is a background MC add-in that features a few control ports so I can fully control any extender in my house via TCP. To get it working on Windows 7, I had to download and install the latest version as normal, but when I launched MC, I got an error about the add-in failing to load. So with some help from Olddog at the projects codeplex discussion page, I was able to get it working. You’ll need to download Olddog’s updated DLLs. But in order to replace the DLLs, first thing you need to do is to delete the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\Installer\Assemblies\Global\Default registry key as per this MS KB article — always backup the registry before editing by righting clicking on the parent object and choosing export. Now reboot and open Windows Explorer to C:\Windows\Assembly. Find VmcController.Add-In, then right click on it and select uninstall. Now copy the new VmcController.Add-In.dll from the OldDog’s zip file to C:\Windows\eHome and all the DLLs to C:\program files\Media Center Network Controller\ and finally start Media Center and test by telneting to localhost port 40500.

The only problem I’m having is that a few of the buttons don’t work, but I found work arounds. So instead of using button-skipfwd I used the command playrate skipforward, which does the same thing.

Hopefully the main contributer to the project will update the source with OldDog’s changes so that we can just run the installer like the old days, but at least it is working.

10 Responses to “How to control Windows 7 via TCP with vmcController”

  1. Utah says:

    Did you make the switch? I’d love to now that people are reporting faster performance with extenders in RC1, but without comskip, the wife won’t buy into the idea

  2. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    Yeah, I’m on 7 now and everything is better, especially the fwd/rwd and skip.

    As for comskip, you can still skip commercials, just not while the show is recording. I haven’t tried it but you should be able to automatically convert to dvr-ms and then have it edit the commercials out.

  3. Utah says:

    So has dvrmstoolbox been updated to perform the comskip on Win 7? I knew you could convert wtv to dvrms, and therefore make the com map, but didn’t realize the plugin could actual manipulate win 7 as it could vista

  4. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    The current version of DTB won’t automatically skip commercials based on an xml file, but it is coming.

    What you have to do now is set DTB to actually edit the commercials out of the files and in that case the MC plug-in isn’t required.

  5. Utah says:

    Ok, so I made the update last night, but did you notice that the internet tv items are not part of the guide on extenders? The are only part of the actual pc. Ben are you seeing this too?

  6. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    Not sure, I always remove them from my guide since they are useless.

  7. Utah says:

    the are also removed if you log into your main server via rdp. The are still available through the extras tab though. Since an extender is essentially an rdp session, seems like win7 removes them for any rdp session

  8. Curtis says:

    Hey Ben any thoughts on CQC Home Automation software? I like the fact that it is very configurable.

    • Ben Drawbaugh says:

      Yes it is. It has always been out of the question for me because of the cost and the lack of decent looking default interfaces. If I had the ability to design my own, I wouldn’t hesitate, but I’m not going to spend that much money on something that ugly out of the box.

  9. Patriarken says:

    Hi, I wrote a commandline app for this utillity a while back. no documentation though. But syntax is like this. You need Old Dogs revision like Ben states.

    mcconsole.exe 40501 button-num-7


    Several commands can be added, although quotes must be handled like this:


    For a list the full list of commands available refer to VMCcontrollers webservers…

    Great for Girder integration etc..