How to reset Windows 7 Media Center

This is the darker side of Windows Media Center, the side that exposes you’re using a PC for a DVR. But it’s also the type of thing you can fix yourself pretty easily if you know how.

You know how it goes though, everything starts snappy and responsive and then months later you’re wondering exactly what plug-in you installed that made everything seemingly slow down. So you check your overall system health and then disable or uninstall all the plug-ins that might be to blame. But then what? If none of that works, how do you restore your system to its original glory without punting on 1st down (re-installing Windows)?

Luckily Windows 7 Media Center is pretty easy to reset and get back to where you were — sans the bad parts. This won’t take you an hour and the hardest part is setting up your custom guide settings. The best part is your scheduled recordings can be restored easily.

One last thing before we get started. Use at your own risk! This worked for me, but might not for you.

Start by stopping all the Media Center services like
Media Extender Service and Windows Media Center Receiver Service.

Then open task manager and kill all the processes that start with eh.

Now you should be able to move all the content of the hidden folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\ to a safe place. (you’ll need the contents later to restore your scheduled recordings. You can use mcBackup to ensure you have the files you need, but the eHome directory still needs to be empty to reset Media Center.)

Reboot (you might be able to start the services here, didn’t try).

Launch Media Center and re-run live tv setup. After all your tuners are configured, setup your custom channel lineup manually.

After you have the guide the way you like it, dig into the eHome files you moved and sort by date finding the newest mcepg*-* folder. Inside there you’ll find a backup folder and in there a recordings directory. Sorting that folder by date will reveal the newest backup. (If the time stamp got reset you can look at the name which is year,month,day_hour,seconds).

Now open a cmd prompt and run this command replacing the location of your backup file. Or restore your recordings with mcBackup.

“C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe –i C:\Users\MC\Documents\eHome\mcepg2-3\backup\recordings\20100529_091633”

Finally launch Media Center and go to Settings>TV>Guide>Get Latest Guide Listings
A dialog will let you know they’re downloading and later another when the download is complete. Now go to Scheduled Recordings all your shows should be listed.

This worked perfectly for me and documenting the process took longer than the process itself. Best of all most of my Media Center settings were intact as well as all my plugins I wanted to keep. And my guide loads quickly, an undeleteable Recordings is gone and Media Center doesn’t take forever to launch anymore.

On a personal note, sorry for such long periods between posts. It isn’t that I’ve been really busy as much as that I’ve been preoccupied with personal things that I haven’t shared — like the fact that I’m trying to become debt free which means I don’t have any new gadgets to write about and the fact that I’m four months through six months of physical therapy after having knee surgery.

9 Responses to “How to reset Windows 7 Media Center”

  1. Zatz Says:

    Sounds like you’ve got your priorities in order, don’t worry about us. :)

  2. Pradeep Says:

    Looks like the post has come at the right time. I was just wondering, why it takes a minute or two everytime I press the Guide button while watching a recorded program. I have not really installed a lot of plugins, but this is something that I should probably try out. Also, since yesterday, both my extenders (Linksys DMA 2200 and XBOX 360) are failing to connect. They do not give any specific error message. Have you faced this or heard this from any others? I am wondering if windows did some update which might be causing this issue

  3. Ben Drawbaugh Says:

    Yep, those were the same problems I was having. And even when the 360 would connect it would show a black screen for a while before the MC menu showed up. But the long delay the first time I hit the guide button was the worst.

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Hey Ben,
    I know you’re an extender guy. Have you figured out a way around the low volume issue on the Xbox? It’s really undermining my wife’s confidence in Media Center. We keep scaring ourselves when we turn the extender on and the Xbox splash video shows up.

    Thanks for the tip on resetting Media Center!!
    -Jonathan

  5. Dana Says:

    Thanks for this tip, Ben. I have a problem where the GUI and all inputs freeze on the Win7 pc in the den, but all recordings and extenders continue to function properly (may be vid driver)

    I am reluctant to wipe/reinstall Win7 because DRM’d recordings wouldn’t play in the new install. I assume that this method will still keep the installation the same as far as old DRM’d content goes?

  6. Ben Drawbaugh Says:

    Mine is doing the same thing and I can’t find a permanent solution. I’ll keep looking.

  7. Dalboy Says:

    Thanks very much. Did the trick after I tried about ten other ways of doing it.

  8. Mike Russell Says:

    Thanks a ton. I was in a bind when WMC started recording every playing of a show not just new episodes, I looked into it and found that the guide wasn’t correctly declaring episodes as new or re-run. After walking through your tutorial I have a correct guide and all of my recordings still work.

    Mike

  9. Lisa T Says:

    For several weeks, I’ve been trying to repair Windows Media Center. (I set up my new bluray player to read from my PC, forgetting that WMC can’t handle additional video options, thus preventing my WMC from accessing the internet – no guide, no WMC.) I’ve written on several forums, read hundreds of threads – this problem has been around for at least 6 years with Vista and Win7 – uninstalled/reinstalled programs, routers, etc., and just played around with EVERYTHING trying to get it to work again. Nothing. For several weeks. Today I happened upon your site/suggestion and, while I have Vista, thought to give it try and not holding out much hope. I am happy to report that I now have a functioning WMC. I cannot express how grateful I am to have found this information and how grateful I am to you for having shared it with us. As I said, there are a multitude of people with the same problem but the few responses from Microsoft indicate that they either are completely incapable of comprehending the problem and/or don’t really give a flying fig if your computer works or not. That the problem is so easily fixed frankly p***** me off! THANK YOU!!!