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How to short a Media Center remote control if it stops working correctly

How to short a Media Center remote control if it stops working correctly

  • Comments 57

A couple of months ago, I posted a list of workarounds that have proven useful to resolve problems using the Media Center remote control and IR receiver after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.

Since I posted that, I have received several comments from customers who were able to solve this issue with a different workaround not previously listed on that post.  I have found that internet searches do not do a great job of indexing blog comments, but they do well for the main body text of blog posts, so I wanted to post this suggestion as a separate blog post in the hope that others will be able to find it more easily.  I can't take any credit for finding this workaround.  It was posted as a comment on my previous blog post by a kind customer who discovered it and found it useful, and I have heard from several additional customers who indicated that it has helped them as well.

I encourage you to try this workaround if you have already exhausted the list of suggestions located in my previous blog post and still have problems getting your Media Center remote control and/or IR receiver to work correctly.


  • Media Center only receives the first button press (for example - pressing up, up, up only goes up once, but pressing down, up, down, up will work correctly)
  • The IR receiver light does not blink when pressing a button
  • Pressing buttons on the remote do not have any effect


Remove the batteries from the remote control and short the battery terminals using a small metal object such as a paper clip.

There is enough capacitance remote control circuit board to keep it alive for hours even after you remove the batteries. However, you can workaround this and drain the capacitors by shorting two of the adjacent battery terminals on the remote.   Different remotes have different configurations, so it is difficult to know \which two adjacent terminals are the ones wired to the circuit board (the other two are simply a short to connect one battery to the other).  Therefore, you should short both pair of adjacent terminals, which can be achieved by using a paper clip.  After that, re-insert the batteries and try to use the remote control again.


  • Hi,

    I don't have the Microsoft Media Center keyboard, but I have a wireless keyboard and mouse that communicate with the PC via bluetooth.

  • Aaron, thanks for the tip, it worked!  I appreciate it.

  • Thanks for the tip. I was about to throw my remote out the window as it stopped working completely. Shorted the terminals and is now as good as new!
  • I have had remote problems that were fixed only temporarily by the short circuit bit.  What fixes mine is to use the tweak MCE Power Toy utility (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3400190A-511A-4A3A-9B89-524511A76F58&displaylang=en) to change what channel the MCE is listening on and setting the remote to the same channel.  It requires a reboot, but has worked well.
  • I kept buying new remotes eveytime one stopped working, I think I'm on number 5. I just tried holding down the PC power button (on the remote)with the batteries out and pressing all of the other keys one at a time - 4 of the dead ones now work, I can't find the fifth. Sigh!
    This routine should be printed on the back of the remote control!
  • Hi just reading all the blogs about this problem. I have a similar problem.

    I can use the remote fine brows throught my music and settings. but as soon as i go anywhere near video section some of the buttons stop working with media centre, well just the left, right, up, down and ok buttons,

    I used the program posted by Joey M to set my remote channel to 0 as i have an xbox 360 as weel and tried that remote. It was the same, worked fine and then as soon as i go near the videos it stops working.

    Now this only started happening recently so im nit sure if i installed something that would cause this.

    anyone have any ideas?
  • PingBack from http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/487537.aspx
  • In my 168th hour (literally) of trying to restore tuner functionality to MCE after Rollup 2, I got to the point where .NET framework 1.1 SP1 gets installed. Immediately after that install & subsequent reboot, I have no keyboard functionality. Not in Windows, not when booting to a DOS 6.22 floppy, and not during POST & BIOS menus. Not with the MS wireless USB keyboard, and not with the trusty ol' PS/2 keyboard that I keep around for times such as these.

    I'm stumped. Thankfully I can Remote Desktop into the machine from elsewhere in the house, but I cannot get into my BIOS settings, period.  I'm of course more than a bit perturbed that a .NET update wiped out low-level keyboard functionality, but I suppose that's just a part of my continuing punishment for having turned on Automatic Updates last week.

    I swear I'll never, ever turn on Automatic Updates again on any Windows PC if someone, anyone, can tell me how to get my keyboard back into service.
  • Hi RareButSeriousSideEffects - I have never heard of a case where a .NET Framework service pack caused a problem with the keyboard on a system.  It does not install anything low level enough to affect this kind of hardware functionality, especially at a BIOS level.  Are you sure there is not something loose in your hard drive that could explain this kind of hardware funcitonality loss?
  • I am trying to setup a media center remote to work with motorola 6200 HD box. I run the setup and it says remote learned But when i go to change channels it does not work. When i say the channels did not work and Media center takes me to the next step to learn the motorola remote commands telling me to press and hold 1 but when i do that nothing happens and screen remains there. Tried resetting the MCE setup 5 times but same issues. It was working fine with my old digital box but ever since i got the new Motorola HD box
    Any suggestions would be appreciated

    Thanks in advance
  • Hi Ishu - I talked to one of the people on my team and he indicated that this sounds like an incorrect emitter placement problem.  The labels on the Motorola 6200 are confusing.  The place on the front of the box that says "remote" has a light that blinks when IR signals are received, but that is not where the IR receiver actually is located.  The correct placement of the IR emitter can be seen in the image at http://astebner.sts.winisp.net/Tools/Images/Motorola_6200_with_blaster_placement.JPG.

    Hopefully this helps....
  • This article serves as a central location for all links to troubleshooting documentation that has been

  • Wednesday, April 19, 2006 9:52 PM by astebner

    # re: How to short a Media Center remote control if it stops working correctly

    Hi Josh - Can you try to install the latest IR driver hotfix package from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b39d53f1-0ac9-433b-b488-4cab82f31dc8&DisplayLang=en if you haven't already?  Hopefully that will help clear up the error code you are seeing.

    Hi Susan - It is possible that your wireless mouse and keyboard are interfering with the Media Center remote.  Do you have the Microsoft Media Center keyboard or some other type of wireless keyboard/mouse?  Are they communicating with your computer via bluetooth or IR?

    I have a RF wirless mouse/keyboard and when I plug this in it comes up as an unknown device. This is after plugging in the Microsoft IR reciever. It all worked fine b4. If I uninstall the Microsoft device my RF device no longer works not even in BIOS boot up. If I rebuild my PC it works again until I plug the MS IR in.

  • Hi Philholloway - I'm sorry but I don't have any expertise on this kind of interaction problem between the Media Center IR receiver and RF mouse/keyboards.  You may want to try to post a question on the Microsoft.Public.Windows.MediaCenter newsgroup and see if someone there can suggest any workarounds.

  • Hi guys - I was having problems with my Microsoft MCE remote and Media Center not responding to all the remote functions. Play, Ok, cursor buttons and Start would work fine, but not much else.

    I found in another forum that someone suggested to make sure the "Human Interface Device Access" service was enabled and started.

    In my situation, the service was disabled but when I enabled it and I tried to start it, it would terminate unexpectedly with the following error in the event log:

    The Human Interface Device Access service terminated with the following error:

    The system cannot find the file specified.

    After some more research, I found the below solution to be very helpful as it has solved my problem completely.

    - Service: "Human Interface Device Access" - From a newsgroup post: "The following error will occur if any of the following three files are missing, namely: “hidserv.dll”, “mouhid.sys”, and “mouclass.sys”. Error description: “Could not start the Human Interface Device Access service on Local Computer. Error 126: the specified module could not be found”. To fix this problem extract “hidserv.dll”“, mouhid.sys” and “mouclass.sys” from the file “drivers.cab”, located on the Windows XP Setup CD to "<SystemRoot>\windows\system32\".

    1. Insert Windows XP Setup CD.

    2. Browse to <CDROM drive letter>:\i386\drivers.cab

    3. Double click the “drivers.cab” file. The compressed files in the “.cab” file will be listed.

    4. Copy the three files to “<SystemRoot>\windows\system32\”. Reboot the computer".

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