Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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Content protection errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005

Content protection errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005

I have heard of several folks running into issues playing protected content (such as purchased songs/movies, or HBO television shows) after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  As I described here, Update Rollup 2 installs an updated Digital Rights Management (DRM) redistributable package.  We are still investigating reports of content protection problems in order to identify root causes and provide fixes.  In the meantime, I wanted to offer some suggestions.

First, I highly encourage you to backup your licenses for protected content prior to installing Update Rollup 2.  You can do the following to backup licenses:

  1. Open Windows Media Player
  2. On the Tools menu, select Manage Licenses
  3. (optional) To change the backup location, click Change and then select a location where you want to store backup copies of your licenses
  4. Click Back Up Now

Note - there are some license issuers that will not allow you to store backup copies of their license files, so this backup process may not back up all licenses on your system.

Second, if you have already installed Update Rollup 2 without backing up licenses, and you are now unable to play protected content there is a knowledge base article that describes how to reset the DRM system on your computer.  There is one step that should be added to that article that is not there currently - before deleting the Windows Media DRM folder, you need to close any programs that might be holding files in that folder in use.  Specifically, make sure to close Media Player and Media Center, and run the command net stop ehRecvr to stop the Media Center Recording service immediately prior to trying to delete that folder.

Resetting DRM restores the ability to play protected content in most cases.  However, if you use these steps to reset the DRM system and do not have backup copies of your licenses, you will lose the ability to play any previously acquired protected content.  If you have content that you do not want to lose, I would encourage you to wait until we can identify and post a fix.  If you are not concerned about any previous content, I encourage you to try out the steps in the KB article - they are semi-complicated, but I have used them in the past and had some success.

There is a new hotfix available as of 4/14/2006 that is designed to fix protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Please try out this hotfix if you have DRM/protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2.

<update date="11/4/2005"> Added an additional step for the knowledge base article - stopping any processes that may have DRM files in use </update>

<update date="4/15/2006"> Added a link to a new DRM hotfix that is now available in case people find and read some of my older blog posts in an attempt to fix this type of issue </update>


  • I have been messing around with this garbage for 2 weeks now. Bad enough I couldnt listen to music from Napster which I pay a monthly fee to... I tried all the reintalling and finally got my music to work now I cant watch anything from HBO or other movies from channels like FAM, etc.. Great during the christmas holidays... Sorry Kids, Microsoft doesnt want you to view any of these shows.... Yes Yes I know we pay for them are completely legal, MS has decided its not what they want us to watch. Thank god I still own SAGE TV.
  • Just reinstall your decoder after the Rollup 2 install and it will correct your issue.
  • Hi Droid - I'm very sorry for the hassle this is causing you and your family. We are still working on a fix for this issue and it has unfortunately been taking longer than anticipated. In the meantime, can you try the steps at http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=891664 and see if they help restore your ability to watch HBO and use Napster?

  • Does this mean I will get a reimbursement check from Microsoft in the mail for my premium channels? :)
  • You have to be kidding, go through all those steps copying and restoring just to watch content we paid for. This ia a mess.
  • Maybe this will help shed some light on the issue. I used to have a standard DirecTV receiver with an S-video connection to the Media Center, and everything worked fine - even with Update Rollup 2. As soon as I had the new DirecTV HD receiver installed (with the exact same video/audio hookups to the Media Center), I started having the HBO restricted content problem (with live TV, I believe recorded shows still worked). I performed the fix that involves deleting the DRM directory and now HBO will play. Reinstalling the DVD decoder did not fix it. The ehrecvr.exe service did need to be stopped, and I ended up deleting the entire DRM directory (not just the files inside).

    This may or may not be relevant as well. Even though HBO will play now, the live feed is choppy. This is due to a spike in CPU usage by the ehrecvr.exe process resulting in 100% CPU usage. Interestingly enough, recorded shows from the same HBO channel playback with no choppiness. Not everyone may be experiencing this, because I am running MCE on an underpowered system, but it did work fine beforehand.

    Could this be due to the HD signal? Maybe, but it seems odd since the data is still running over the exact same S-video connection (which isn't even HD capable). On a side note, I sure wish there was an MCE supported tuner that had inputs that supported an HD signal (component, DVI, or HDMI).

    Hope this helps you guys.
  • thanks for the scoop Aaron. This worked like a charm for me. My HBO is back up and running. Thanks for the blog.
  • New Dell XPS600 arrived yesterday. Everything worked great for about 6 hours until I was playing with video settings. After that I have the restricted content message on HBO and none of the videos shipped on the PC worked anymore in media player. Tried all the fixes I could find but nothing has helped so far.

    I have no idea what to do next. Any help appreciated.
  • My issue was with HBO too. I killed the ehRecvr service and reset the DRM folder as described in the article. All good. Thanks Aaron.
  • I did the same thing but unfortunately it did not help. Something happened when I changed to SLI graphics mode and an error occured. When I rebooted HBO was gone.

    I'll keep looking.

  • Hi Todd - Normally, deleting the contents of the DRM folder (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM) will resolve this issue. You need to make sure that there is not any process running that has any of those files in use so that you can fully delete the folder and not leave any files behind.

    If that still doesn't work for you, can you try the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487136.aspx to gather the error code and let me know what it is so I can try to ask around and see if there are other suggestions to try here?

  • Aaron - Thanks for the reply.

    I followed the steps, including the net stop ehrecvr command. All of the DRM files were deleted - even the DRM folder. I was able to download and play the file in windows media player 10 and in windows media center with no errors. Still, when I try to view HBO I get the restricted content error after about 15 seconds.

    Thanks for the help. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.
  • Todd, You mentioned that things went south when you changed to SLI mode. Try turning SLI off and using just one video card. I suspect that MCE thinks you are attempting to pump out that HBO signal to multiple monitors - which is a no-no i believe. Sort of the same situation as if you were attempting to view HBO on a MCE extender. You may need to reset the DRM folder after doing this as well. Just a thought.
  • Chris - thanks for the input.

    SLI mode only supports one monitor so I haven't been using it. My HBO problems definitly started after I enabled it the first time. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not. I have tried to reset the DRM files several times in normal graphics mode with no success. I have no problems with protected wma files, only with HBO (my only premium channel).

    I have the GeForce 6800 video card. From what I can tell it is basically two PCI video cards that work together in SLI mode supporting one monitor.

    From the nvidia site ...
    "An NVIDIA SLI system includes a PCI Express motherboard that supports two physical connectors that are capable of having two NVIDIA-based PCI Express graphics cards plugged into them. Joined by the NVIDIA SLI connector, the two graphics cards power one monitor"

    Maybe someone else may know if this could be a problem and if the change to SLI mode alters something that media center needs for content protection.

    Thanks again,
  • I have a new Dell 9300 Inspiron notebook which came with Media Center Rollup 2 and Windows Media Player 10. I cannot watch/view live TV from any HBO channel without getting the blue screen restricted content message after 15-30 secs or so. Showtime channels all are fine. My TV signal is from Comcast with a digital cable box, which I have attached to the Dell Angel single external tuner via component Audio and Video cables. Video card is GeForce 6800. Notebook is connected to a home wireless network.
    I turned off ehrecvr via task manager End Process Wwas not sure how to execute the stop command you described) and deleted the files in the DMR folder. I clicked the link "To install the latest Windows Media DRM components" http://go.microsoft.com/FWLink?LinkID=34506 and also installed hotfix file: WindowsMedia10-KB910393-x86-ENU.exe.
    Still cannot watch HBO channels.
    I do no know if using task manager was sufficient but all files appeared to be deleted from DMR folder. Should the folder itself be deleted? I have also updated to the latest driver for the tuner.
    Last thought, which I have not checked out yet, is the display is set to Multiple Monitors on NVIDIA GeForce 6800. Could changing this to Default Monitor on NVIDIA 6800 help. Could MCE misinterpret HBO instruction in a multiple moniter setting?

    Any other advice

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