Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

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>


  • Hi Steve - I am working on the finishing touches for a post that describes some of these steps in more detail. I hope to have it ready later today or over the weekend, and I will post a comment here with a link to the new post when it is ready. I will make sure that the post addresses all of these questions as well (it answers some of them now but not all).
  • Just a comment. HBO seems to be the only thing affected. I'm on DirecTV and I watched some previews on some of the pay per view channels and did not get the restricted content screen. No problems with any other channel. HBO is my only premium package so I don't know about the others.
  • It is not just HBO for me. It is all premium channels. But is is not all movies, just most of them. For instance...I watched Scary Movie 3 the other night on HBO. It ended. Previews came on and they were fine. Cocktail was coming on and I was going to watch it. As soon as it started, 15 seconds or so later I get the restricted content message.

    Will someone please fix this now!
  • Hi all - I have posted an article with more details about diagnosing and working around these issues. I understand this is very frustrating, but I hope that some of the items in this article will be useful in the meantime - http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2006/01/16/513662.aspx.

    To Jimmy Hagerty - I typically don't delete comments, even when they are negative towards Microsoft, but I have to draw the line with profanity. It probably doesn't mean much, but I sincerely apologize for the frustration that you and everyone else are experiencing while we work on fixes for these issues.
  • Aaron
    I could be wrong but I think there is a difference between problems playing back previously recorded protected content and not being able to view HBO live, let alone record it. As you know I have tried all the work arounds to no avail. After a DMR reset I can download the security "update" needed to play the sample audio and have no problem playing it in Media Player or Winamp but HBO still generates the protected content Blue Screen.

    I personaly believe there is a failure by MCE Rollup 2 to properly interpret the the CGMS-A signal that HBO is sending which is supposed to limit the user to one recording of Broadcast HBO programing and prevent recording of On Demand programing (their logic being that you do not need to time shift what is available via On Demand since this is time shifted by definition, it's available whenever you want to view and can be paused, fast fowarded or rewound as needed. We need some answers from Microsoft as to why Media Center is not permitting us to view this content. I can go to Sonic MyDVD and capture the HBO program as an MPEG via the same Angel Tuner Box and the same component Audio and Video lines that MCE is using, all with no problems and I can even burn this capture to a DVD. The problem is strictly Media Center. Please try to get us some meaningfull answers from Microsoft. I did not like the profanity in the earlier posting but I don't think Microsoft is answering or even admitting to an actual problem here. I just want to be sure that the fix they are working on is for the real problem.

    Also could you clarify your instructions on re-installing Rollup 2. Did you purposefuly not mention uninstalling Rollup 2 or other hotfixes first - in other words doing an over install. I have seen some programs which have fixed their problems by an over install without uninstalling. If uninstallation is needed, I wanted to know what other hotfixes needed to be uninstalled first. I would be more comfortable with trying an over install.

  • Steve and Aaron -

    My situation is exactly as described by Steve. No problems playing the protected audio file. Seems to me that that portion of DRM is working correctly.

    I can also capture HBO using Sonic MyDVD with no problems.

  • Aaron
    I again followed your instructions but HBO can not be viewed. I can click on the test audio file after a reset and download a new licence and play the file but no HBO. I have not attempted to re-install Rollup 2 because I have been waiting for your advice as to how to best do this - uninstall or overinstall and what else to uninstall - please see my post above.

    I have checked the versions of the files you described with the following results:
    drmclien.dll and drmv2clt.dll and wmp.dll and wmvcore.dll files in both c:\windows\system32 and c\windows\system32\dllcache all show version

    There are versions of these files in system backup directories and in c:\i386 (the Windows installation directory) which are different. In these other directories drmclien.dll, drmv2clt.dll and wmvcore.dll are all version and wmp.dll in these other directories is There is also an uninstallKB903157 directory that contains wmp.dll version and an uninstallEmeraldQFE2 directory with version

    Again are the versions in system32 and system32/dllcache directories for all of these files.

    Is this the correct current version for these files?

  • Hi Steve - unfortunately, the workaround steps I've listed don't seem to work 100% of the time and it sounds like you might be hitting one of the unlucky cases.

    I'm not sure what to tell you to try at this point other than to try to reinstall your OS or to wait for the hotfix that we will hopefully have available soon.

    You can try to reinstall Update Rollup 2 before that if you haven't done it already. You do not need to uninstall before re-installing, I'm sorry I didn't make that clear earlier.

    Again, I'm very sorry for the hassles here. I really wish I was able to be more helpful for all the folks running into this :-(
  • A similar problem is occurring for users of Yahoo! Music Unlimited. I, along with many others, have been unable to tranfer subscription music tracks to any compatible portable devices after installing MCE roll-up two. DRM resets do not address the issue. You can follow threads on this problem, which has multiplied rapidly at:

  • I had the same problem with HBO, STARZ, Encore channels not working. All, I did was delete the DRM folder, backed up the licenses in media player, and dowloaded the security upgrade for windows media player 10, that fixed the problem for me.
  • Just wanted to chime in and say that the steps outlined here:

    Fixed my problem. Hopefully the same will be true for others. Note: I didn't re-install update 2. I tested my hbo after the updates and deleting my DRM folder (which I had done on previous attempts at fixing this) and it works now.

    Thanks Aaron
  • Now I can watch all of the channels, but now I when I attempt to burn the program to DVD it says that I can not burn the programs because it says they are protected. Any suggestions
  • Hi Nupes98 - Media Center allows you to burn protected music to CD, but you cannot burn protected programs to a video DVD. You should be able to burn them to a data DVD however.

  • Built my own media center pc to test before recommending to firends and potential customers. Very frustrating experience. Everything was fine viewing TV until last night when I got the dreaded blue screen. Tried above fixes...nothing worked. Was planning on putting in dual tuner card anyway so will probbably also put in new hard drive, reinstall OS and try and compy over my music and picture files. This is, to put it mildly, completely unacceptable. I cannot in good conscience recommend this OS to anyone.
  • Hi Stera - I'm very sorry you've run into these problems while trying to use Media Center. Can you please provide more details about exactly what error you're seeing so I can try to be of more assistance? For example, what is the exact message you see in the blue window? Is this a traditional Windows blue screen crash, or a Media Center blue overlay? If you are getting a protected content playback error, there are also some more detailed steps located at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/513660.aspx that may help as well.

Page 4 of 8 (106 items) «23456»
Leave a Comment
  • Please add 2 and 3 and type the answer here:
  • Post