Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

April, 2006

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Registry settings that can be used to configure advanced Media Center options

    • 61 Comments

    There have been a couple of posts by myself and Matt Goyer listing some of the registry keys and values that TweakMce changes behind the scenes to configure advanced options within Windows Media Center.

    I decided that it would be worthwhile to post all of the registry keys and values that can be changed via TweakMce in case you are running a beta build of Windows Vista and cannot install the current version of TweakMce, or if you would like to change these Media Center settings without needing to download and install TweakMce or resort to a registry monitoring tool such as RegMon to reverse engineer these settings yourself.

    Skip Forward Interval - Enter the number of milliseconds you want to skip forward when you press the skip button. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoSettings
    • Registry value - SkipAheadInterval
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Skip Back Interval - Enter the number of milliseconds you want to skip back when you press the replay button. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoSettings
    • Registry value - InstantReplayInterval
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Storage Location For Recorded TV - Enter the path for the storage location for recorded TV.

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Recording
    • Registry value - RecordPath
    • Registry value data type - REG_SZ

    Watched Folders For Recorded TV - If you have recorded TV stored in multiple locations enter the folder path below. You can enter one folder path for each line below. Example: C:\Recorded TV

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Recording
    • Registry value - WatchedFolders
    • Registry value data type - REG_MULTI_SZ

    Notification Before A Recording Starts - When you are watching TV a notification appears before the channel is changed to start a new recording.  Enter the number of milliseconds to show this notification before Media Center changes the channel to begin the recording. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoConstants
    • Registry value - RecorderStartWarningTimeout
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    More Info Panel Timeout - Enter the number of milliseconds to show the More Info panel while watching TV or DVD. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoConstants
    • Registry value - InfoBarTimeout
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Seek Bar Timeout - Enter the number of milliseconds to show the paused seek bar while watching TV or DVD. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoConstants
    • Registry value - SeekBarTimeout
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Seek Bar Rewind and Fast Forward Timeout - While watching TV or DVD pressing REW/FWD displays the seek bar.  Enter the number of milliseconds to show the seek bar when transitioning from REW or FWD to normal playback while watching TV or DVD. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoConstants
    • Registry value - SeekBarBriefTimeout
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Seek Bar Slow Motion Timeout - Enter the number of milliseconds to show the seek bar when video is in slow motion playback while watching TV or DVD. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoConstants
    • Registry value - SeekBarSloMoTimeout
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Enable Overscan - Some televisions do not display the full Media Center user experience. Do you want Media Center to pull in critical UI elements?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\MCE.PerUserSettings
    • Registry value - marginSaved
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = enable overscan; 0 = disable overscan

    Bottom Margin - How many units should Media Center pull in critical elements from the bottom of the screen?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\MCE.PerUserSettings
    • Registry value - marginBottom
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Top Margin - How many units should Media Center pull in critical elements from the top of the screen?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\MCE.PerUserSettings
    • Registry value - marginTop
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Right Margin - How many units should Media Center pull in critical elements from the right side of the screen?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\MCE.PerUserSettings
    • Registry value - marginRight
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Left Margin - How many units should Media Center pull in critical elements from the left side of the screen?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\MCE.PerUserSettings
    • Registry value - marginLeft
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Enable My DVDs - Media Center has a new DVD gallery with cover art and descriptions called My DVDs. Do you want to enable My DVDs? This setting is only available in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings
    • Registry value - ShowGallery
    • Registry value data type - REG_SZ
    • Registry value data - Gallery = enable My DVDs; Play = do not enable My DVDs

    Autostart Enhanced DVD Content - Some DVDs include bonus content enhanced for Media Center. Do you want to automatically start the content?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\AutoScan
    • Registry value - _autoPlayMCLEnabled
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = automatically start; 0 = do not automatically start

    DVD Notification Timeout - Enter the number of milliseconds that you want to view the notification that a DVD has been inserted and is about to automatically start playing. (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoConstants
    • Registry value - DVDNotificationTimeout
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Search Depth - My DVDs Gallery will search all locations that you have added to your My Videos space. How many levels deeps should it search for DVD content? This setting is only available in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings
    • Registry value - FolderSearchDepth
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    Search Network Locations - My DVDs Gallery will search all locations that you have added to your My Videos space. Should it include network shares and folders in its search? This setting is only available in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings
    • Registry value - SearchNetworkFolders
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = search network folders; 0 = do not search network folders

    Show DVDs In Drives First - My DVDs Gallery can display DVDs that are loaded in drives as the first items or sorted in with the rest of your DVDs. Should DVDs that are loaded in drives appear first? This setting is only available in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings
    • Registry value - ShowDiscsInDrivesAtTop
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = show DVDs in drives first; 0 = show DVDs in drives based on the current sort order

    Show Cache File Location - In My DVDs when no metadata can be found for the current disc, the location of the cache file can be displayed on the DVD details page. You can edit this file to include any data that you would like to see displayed on the details page instead. Should the location of the cache file be displayed if there is no metadata? This setting is only available in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings
    • Registry value - ShowCacheLocation
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = show cache file location; 0 = do not show cache file location

    Suppress Eject Prompt - When a 3rd party application (More Programs or Online Spotlight) tries to eject a disc, do you want a confirmation dialog? This setting is only available in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings
    • Registry value - SuppressExtensibilityEjectPrompt
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 0 = show eject prompt; 1 = do not show eject prompt

    Display My Music As Last Viewed - Display my music as I last viewed it sorted by artist, albums, playlists, songs or genres.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\Audio
    • Registry value - fMyCollectionShouldBeSticky
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = remember last music view; 0 = do not remember last music view

    Show Add To Queue Notification - Do you want to be notified every time music has been successfully added to the queue?

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\Audio
    • Registry value - fShowAddToQueueSuccessPrompt
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = show Add To Queue notification; 0 = do not show notification

    Enable Universal Remote Control - If you have a universal remote control you may need to enable it. A reboot is required for this setting to take effect.

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\HidIr\Remotes\745a17a0-74d3-11d0-b6fe-00a0c90f57da
    • Registry value - EnableDebounce
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = enable universal remote control; 0 = disable universal remote control

    Set Remote Control ID - To enable your Media Center to respond to a specific remote control ID do the following; 1. Press and hold the DVD Menu key on the remote then press a number button (1-8) for 5 seconds. Remotes with visible LED signal indicators will blink twice to confirm the change.  2. Enter that same number below. 3. Save. 4. Restart the Media Center PC.  Note: To enable Media Center to respond to all remotes use the number 0. A reboot is required for this setting to take effect.

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\HidIr\Remotes\745a17a0-74d3-11d0-b6fe-00a0c90f57da
    • Registry value - CodeSetNum0
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD

    This setting also requires deleting the following registry values:

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\HidIr\Remotes\745a17a0-74d3-11d0-b6fe-00a0c90f57da
    • Registry value - CodeSetNum1
    • Registry value - CodeSetNum2
    • Registry value - CodeSetNum3

    Display Wireless Passwords - When joining a wireless network, do you want to read the password as you enter it or do you want it to be hidden?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
    • Registry value - DontHideWirelessKey
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = display password; 0 = hide password

    Optimize For Display Type - By default Media Center Extender is optimized for display on a traditional TV. However, if you have a LCD or plasma TV you may want to disable this optimization in order to improve picture quality.

    • Registry key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
    • Registry value - TVSkin
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = optimize for traditional TV; 0 = optimize for LCD or plasma screen

    Show Network Congestion Notification - Do you want to be notified on your Extender when there is network congestion preventing good performance?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaCenterPeripheral
      Registry value - DisableTransraterDialogs
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 0 = show notification; 1 = do not show notification

    Show 'Not Enough Bandwidth For TV' Notification - Do you want to be notified on your Extender when there is not enough bandwidth to enable a good TV experience?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaCenterPeripheral
    • Registry value - DisableMHN
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = show notification; 0 = do not show notification

    Prompt When Navigating Between Secure and Insecure Pages - Should the Extender prompt when navigating between secure and insecure pages within a partner application?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaCenterPeripheral\Setup\Internet Settings
    • Registry value - WarnOnZoneCrossing
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 0 = prompt; 1 = do not prompt

    Prompt When Submitting Nonencrypted Information - Should the Extender prompt when submitting nonencrypted information in a partner application?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaCenterPeripheral\Setup\Internet Settings\Zones\3
    • Registry value - 1601
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = prompt; 0 = do not prompt

    Prompt On Mixed Content - Should the Extender prompt when displaying a partner application page that contains both encrypted and nonencrypted content?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaCenterPeripheral\Setup\Internet Settings\Zones\3
    • Registry value - 1609
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 1 = prompt; 3 = do not prompt

    Adjust Audio and Video Network Priority - Do you want to prioritize a seamless audio experience higher than a seamless video experience when there is network congestion preventing good performance?

    • Registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaCenterPeripheral
    • Registry value - DisableTransrater
    • Registry value data type - REG_DWORD
    • Registry value data - 0 = prioritize audio higher than video; 1 = prioritize audio and video equally

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Update Rollup 2 setup failure when installing KB899337

    • 25 Comments

    I heard from a couple of customers today who ran into a new (to me) setup problem while installing Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and I decided to post it here as well in case anyone else sees it.  The customers who saw this issue visited Windows Update and attempted to install Update Rollup 2, but it failed and reported a generic "setup failed" message.

    In the cases I have seen so far, one of the prereqisite packages for Update Rollup 2 (a networking control panel hotfix described by KB899337) failed to install because there was another hotfix installed that updates one of the same files (an Internet Explorer cumulative security update described by KB912812).

    How can I workaround this issue?

    In the cases I have seen so far, uninstalling Security Update for Windows XP (KB912812) and then attempting to reinstall Update Rollup 2 has proven successful.  The following steps can be used to accomplish this:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type appwiz.cpl to go to the Add or Remove Programs Control Panel
    2. Check the box labeled Show updates in the top middle of the Add or Remove Programs window
    3. Locate the section named Windows XP - Software Updates and choose to uninstall the package named Security Update for Windows XP (KB912812)
    4. Attempt to install Update Rollup 2 again by returning to Windows Update or running the setup package located here
    5. After successfully installing Update Rollup 2, return to Windows Update and re-install Security Update for Windows XP (KB912812)

    How can I tell if this issue is the one affecting my machine?

    You can diagnose this issue by looking at a couple of the log files that Update Rollup 2 setup creates.  First, you can open %windir%\mcsetup.log in a text editor such as Notepad.  If KB899337 is the package that fails on your system, you will see the following entry at the end of mcsetup.log:

    Generic Package:   04/18/06. 19:33:02
    Looking for existing install of the generic package
    Creating Process: WindowsXP-KB899337-v2-x86.exe /quiet /norestart
    Process returned 0x00000643

    The 0x00000643 return code (which translates to 1603 in decimal) represents the return code for a generic error in a Windows hotfix package.

    Now, you can look at %windir%\kb899337.log to determine the exact reason why this hotfix failed to install.  In the cases I have seen so far, the error in kb899337.log looks like the following:

    2.406: AnalyzeForBranching: g_bMigrate set to TRUE because target file c:\windows\system32\xpsp3res.dll has branch sp2gdr which is smaller than branch for sp2qfe
    ....
    12.609: MigrateHotfix: Migrating hotfix KB912812
    12.641: Rename failed.  Destination path c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB912812_0$ exists.
    12.641: MigrateHotfixes: Migration of KB912812 failed
    12.641: DoInstallation: Migration failed

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    New hotfix available to fix protected content playback errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005

    • 11 Comments

    As many of you have noticed and posted on my blog in the past (here, here, here and here), there are some problems in some cases related to playing back protected content after installing Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.  In some cases, workarounds could be applied to allow playback to start working again, but they would cause a loss of pre-existing digital rights management (DRM) licenses.

    Today, we have released hotfix KB913800 that is designed to fix the currently known root causes of protected content playback errors.  In addition, it should fix them in such a way that preserves pre-existing licenses you may have previously acquired.  If you are experiencing any errors playing back protected content in Windows Media Center after installing Update Rollup 2, please download and install this hotfix.

    Please note that this hotfix is currently only available on the Microsoft Download Center, but it should be made available via Windows Update in the future.  You can find more information about this hotfix in this knowledge base article, including symptoms of the problem, possible root causes, a list of affected files, and a link to download the package from.

    The Microsoft DRM and Media Center teams are very interested in hearing about your experiences with this hotfix package.  Please post comments on this blog post or use my blog contact form and let us know what issue(s) you have been seeing and whether or not the hotfix installs successfully and solves the issue(s).

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to perform a silent install of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer

    • 11 Comments

    I have previously posted instructions for performing a silent installation for Visual Studio 2005 and the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions.  A customer read those previous blog posts and asked a follow-up question about how to perform a silent installation of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer, which is the client software needed to access Team Foundation Server.

    Team Explorer setup is architected in a way that is similar to the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions, but the silent installation instructions are a bit easier because unattended INI file creation was not specifically disabled in setup UI like it was for the Express Editions.

    How to perform a silent install of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer

    Here are the steps that you can use to perform a silent installation of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer:

    1. Launch Team Explorer setup in unattended INI creation mode by running <Team Foundation source location>\tfc\setup.exe /createunattend <path to INI file to create>
    2. Step through the setup UI and enter your product key, etc.  Note that the setup UI will not appear any differently for unattended mode than for normal install mode, so it will appear that you are about to install the product even though you are only intending to create an INI file
    3. Click the Install button to create the INI file.  When setup advances to the completion page, it will appear to have failed and will show you a dialog similar to the following:

      Team Explorer unattended INI creation error

      This error is incorrect and can be safely ignored.
    4. Launch Team Explorer setup in unattended install mode by running <Team Foundation source location>\tfc\setup.exe /unattendfile <path to INI file listed in step 1 above>

    Please note that the above steps are not documented with the product because this unattended mode is not officially supported.  Unattended INI creation mode is not specifically blocked in the Team Explorer setup UI code, but it is also not an "official" feature, and as such has not been tested as thoroughly as other setup features.  That being said, it appeared to work fine for me in the scenarios that I tried.

    More in-depth details about Team Explorer silent installation

    • If you plan to create an INI and install Team Explorer on Windows Vista, you will need to use a workaround similar to the one I previously described here to prevent setup from trying (and failing) to install the .NET Framework 2.0, which is already a part of the OS on Vista.
    • If you want to be able to suppress reboots during Team Explorer silent installation, you will need to manually install each of the prerequisites as I described in this blog post about suppressing reboots during Visual Studio 2005 silent install.  Team Explorer setup suffers from the same bug that I described in that post, so the same type of workaround must be applied.
    • I don't know of a way to automate the installation of the server pieces of Team Foundation Server.  However, there is a set of walkthroughs for configuring and administering the server-side pieces of Team Foundation Server that may be useful to you.

    <update date="1/21/2010"> Fixed broken link to image. </update>

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to synchronize your system clock to attempt to resolve Media Center guide download errors

    • 7 Comments

    Many folks who have run into trouble downloading guide data within Media Center have tracked the issue down to a problem with the system clock getting out of sync with the official internet time.  You must have a correctly synchronized system clock in order for Media Center guide download to succeed.

    To attempt to synchronize your system clock, you can use the following steps:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type timedate.cpl
    2. Click on the Internet Time tab
    3. Check the box labeled Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server
    4. Select the time server of your choice and click Update Now

    If you are having trouble synchronizing your system clock, you can use the following steps to repair the Win32 time service and hopefully this will help resolve the issue:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    2. Type net stop w32time and wait for the service to stop
    3. Type w32tm.exe /unregister
    4. Type w32tm.exe /register
    5. Type net start w32time and wait for the service to start
    6. Try again to synchronize your system clock

    There are also a couple of useful links with additional instructions and troubleshooting steps for system clock synchronization issues if the above steps do not help:

    For other suggestions regarding Media Center guide download errors, please refer to the links in the Guide download errors section of the Media Center Update Rollup 2 troubleshooting guide.

    <update date="4/11/2006"> Added links to additional resources for system clock synchronization issues </update>

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Useful FAQ for configuring an Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender

    • 21 Comments

    I have been asked several questions recently related to setting up an Xbox 360 with a Windows XP Media Center 2005 system for use as a Media Center Extender.  I recently found a pretty good FAQ page that is posted on the Media Center site that I wanted to link to here.  Specifically, the following topics are covered:

    • Networking issues, including wireless network configurations
    • Installation requirements on the Media Center PC
    • Supported video and audio formats that can be played back on the Xbox 360
    • Adding music, pictures and videos on the Xbox 360 console

    There are also several other topics covered in this FAQ.  I encourage you to take a look at this page if you run into any questions about what features are available with an Xbox 360 Media Center Extender or about how to setup an Xbox 360 to act as an Extender.

    There are also some useful links on the Xbox site related to Media Center and PC connectivity issues:

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Introducing Heat - a new WiX tool for automating creation of setup authoring files

    • 0 Comments

    Derek Cicerone (one of the volunteer WiX developers) posted a blog entry this week introducing a new WiX tool that is now available, and I wanted to post a link to it here so more folks will hopefully see it and check it out.  The tool is named Heat, and it is available in version 3.0 of the WiX toolset.  At a really high level, Heat provides an extensible, customizable mechanism for quickly capturing setup information (files, directories, IIS web sites, etc) from a computer and converting them into WiX setup authoring files.  I encourage you to check out Derek's blog post if you're interested in an easy way to get started learning about WiX authoring and/or trying to find quicker ways to create WiX authoring files (and MSI-based setup packages that result from them).

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    New hotfixes available for Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005 - April 2006 rollup and DRM hotfix

    • 18 Comments

    Today is the monthly release of new hotfix packages and updates to Windows Update, and there are a couple of Media Center hotfixes that have been released today that I want to draw your attention to:

    1.  Windows Media Digital Rights Management hotfix (KB913800)

    I previously posted an item about the release of a hotfix to address protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.  This package was previously released for direct download on the Microsoft Download Center, but starting today it will be offered as a critical update on Windows Update.  Update Rollup 2 is a prerequisite for this package.

    The Microsoft DRM and Media Center teams are very interested in hearing about your experiences with this DRM hotfix package.  Please post comments on this blog post or use my blog contact form and let us know what issue(s) you have been seeing and whether or not the hotfix installs successfully and solves the issue(s).

    2.  April 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (KB914548)

    This package includes all previous hotfixes issued for Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and also addresses some other bugs that have not been fixed by previous hotfixes. 

    This package will be offered as a recommended update if you visit Windows Update, and you can also download it directly from this location

    This package includes the following fixes in addition to all previously released fixes.  There is more detail about each of these fixes in the knowledge base article for this hotfix:

    • Incorrect guide data for ATSC minor channels that you have manually added
    • ATSC channels move into a five-digit channel range
    • Delay when you change DVB-T channels
    • Teletext bar remains on the screen after you use transport controls
    • Teletext blinks frequently
    • Closed captions do not display correctly
    • Media Center computer is not suspended after you use the TV tuner
    • DVB-T scanning does not work correctly in the Czech edition of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
    • You receive a "Unsupported File Type" error message when you burn a DVD video
    • Tuning information is missing for the 1 MUX on 186 megahertz (MHz) setting in the Italian version of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

    Update Rollup 2 is a prerequisite for this package, and this package supercedes the January 2006 Update Rollup (KB912067) and Update Rollup KB908250.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Updated AVerMedia TV tuner driver now available to fix Digital Audio Service errors

    • 6 Comments

    A couple of months ago, I posted an item about Digital Audio Service errors that can be caused with Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 systems that have AVerMedia TV tuners.

    Last week, a representative from AVerMedia posted a comment on that blog post that I wanted to make sure everyone saw, so I decided to create a new post with this information.  In this blog comment, the AVerMedia representative indicated that their company has developed a new TV tuner driver and gotten Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) certification for it.  AVerMedia has verified that this new driver fixes the Digital Audio Service overlay on systems that have the affected AVerMedia TV tuner(s) installed, and we have also seen good results with this driver in our test lab.

    I have not been able to find this new drive on the AVerMedia web site yet, but you can email the AVerMedia representative who posted the comment on my blog using the address felixk@aver.com to request a copy of this driver.  I am hoping that they will make this driver available on their web site soon so that it will be easier for folks to find.

    Note - if you are seeing Digital Audio Service overlays and your system does not have an AVerMedia tuner, you can find other Digital Audio Service troubleshooting suggestions at the following locations:

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Mailbag: How can I make the WEP password text visible in the Media Center wireless network connection page

    • 3 Comments

    We got this question from a Windows Vista beta customer, and I wanted to pass this information on because it also applies to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Update Rollup 2.

    Question:

    When I attempt to configure a wireless network within the Media Center UI, there is a text box that allows me to enter the WEP authentication key.  The characters in the textbox appear as stars, which makes it difficult to detect and fix typing errors.

    Since it is much more likely that I will enter the characters with errors using a Media Center remote control, is there some way I can force the WEP authentication key to appear as plain text instead of stars so I can check for errors?

    Answer:

    Yes, there is a registry setting that will cause the WEP authentication key to appear as plain text in the Media Center UI.  You can use TweakMCE to set it for you automatically.  Alternatively, you can set it directly in the registry using the following commands:

    1. Close Media Center
    2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    3. Type the following in the cmd window and press enter: reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center" /v DontHideWirelessKey /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    4. Restart Media Center

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    White paper now available for installing and configuring Away Mode

    • 13 Comments

    Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center 2005 introduced a new feature called Away Mode.  This feature allows a computer to appear off to users, but still be able to perform tasks that do not require any user input (such as recording scheduled TV shows for Media Center).

    An Away Mode white paper has been published on MSDN very recently that provides detailed information about what Away Mode does to the system, how to install, configure and uninstall it, and what hardware it requires.  I encourage you to take a look if you are interested in some behind-the-scenes about how Away Mode functions.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to detect old beta versions when deploying the .NET Framework 2.0

    • 9 Comments

    I was talking to a couple of Microsoft product teams a couple of weeks ago.  They are trying to figure out the best way to integrate the .NET Framework 2.0 setup package into their own setup since their products require the .NET Framework 2.0 on the system in order to function correctly.

    One of the teams has already shipped a beta version in which they pre-installed the .NET Framework by running dotnetfx.exe in silent mode if their setup detected that the .NET Framework 2.0 was not already installed n the system.  They were seeing a fairly high failure rate in .NET Framework 2.0 setup and had tracked down the root cause to beta versions of the .NET Framework 2.0 or Visual Studio 2005 left on their customers' computers.  They had been reading through some of my blog posts regarding .NET Framework 2.0 deployment issues and asked for some advice regarding this beta version detection scenario.

    As I looked through the various topics I have written about regarding deployment of the .NET Framework, I realized I had not yet covered the topic of detecting beta versions at all.  Therefore, I decided to summarize the advice I sent to these teams and describe how I would recommend that applications that need to pre-install the .NET Framework 2.0 as part of their setup package handle beta version issues.

    The most reliable way to handle beta version detection in order to minimize .NET Framework 2.0 setup failures is to implement a strategy in your setup package that behaves the same way as the .NET Framework 2.0 beta detection logic.

    There is a list of product codes in the [BlockProductCode] section of the file install.ini that is included as part of the self-extracting dotnetfx.exe package.  These product codes represent all MSI product codes for beta versions of the .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 that are known to cause compatibility problems with the final release of the .NET Framework 2.0.  You can extract install.ini by downloading the .NET Framework 2.0 setup package and then running dotnetfx.exe /t:c:\temp /c and navigating to c:\temp.

    The following algorithm describes how .NET Framework 2.0 setup detects and blocks when it finds incompatible beta products:

    For each (beta product code)
    {

    Call MsiQueryProductState to check if the install state for the product code equals INSTALLSTATE_DEFAULT

    if (install state == INSTALLSTATE_DEFAULT)
    {

    Call MsiGetProductInfo to retrieve the INSTALLPROPERTY_INSTALLEDPRODUCTNAME property for the product code
    Add the value of the INSTALLPROPERTY_INSTALLEDPRODUCTNAME property to the list of beta products that need to be uninstalled

    }

    }

    If (list of beta products is not empty)
    {

    If (setup is running in full UI mode)
    {

    Display UI with a list of product names that need to be uninstalled via Add/Remove Programs

    }

    Exit setup with return code 4113

    }

    By using the above algorithm with the same set of product codes, you will be able to catch most cases where the .NET Framework 2.0 setup would otherwise fail due to incompatible beta products.  There are a few cases that could still cause .NET Framework 2.0 setup failures, but those are mostly due to broken beta uninstalls, and the root causes are generally non-deterministic, so there is not a reliable way to detect them in your setup package.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Mailbag: How can I tell if I have Update Rollup 2 installed on my Media Center PC?

    • 3 Comments

    Question:

    I bought a computer from a system builder, and they told me that Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is pre-installed on the computer.  How can I tell for sure whether or not Update Rollup 2 really is installed on my computer?

    Answer:

    There are a few different ways to check whether or not Update Rollup 2 is installed on a computer.

    The way that post-Update Rollup 2 hotfixes (such as KB914548) check for Update Rollup 2 in their setup logic is to check the following registry value:

    • Registry key name: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
    • Registry value name: Ident
    • Registry value data type: REG_SZ
    • Registry value data: 4.0

    If you do not feel comfortable checking in the registry, you can also check in Add/Remove Programs by using the following steps:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type appwiz.cpl
    2. Check the box in the top middle of the Add/Remove Programs control panel labeled Show updates
    3. Scroll to the bottom of the list of installed applications and look for Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 in the section titled Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

    You can also check the version information listed in the Media Center UI.  To do this, launch Media Center, then go to Settings | General | About Media Center | Software Version.  If you have Update Rollup 2 installed, it should be listed here.  In addition, the version number should begin with 5.1.2715.  The base Update Rollup 2 version is 5.1.2715.2732, and the 4th version will be higher than 2732 if you have a post-Update Rollup 2 hotfix installed.

    <update date="5/1/2006"> Added another version check suggested by Jason Tsang in the comments of this blog post </update>

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Mailbag: How can I stop Media Center from losing FM radio presets when rebooting the PC?

    • 0 Comments

    Question:

    I have a computer that has Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 installed.  Every time I launch the Radio experience and configure FM stations in the 10 preset values, they work fine until I close and re-open Media Center or reboot the computer.  How can I fix this?

    Answer:

    Media Center 2005 stores FM radio presets in the file %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\eHome\ehshell.config.  It is possible that this file could become corrupt or the logged in user does not have sufficient permissions to update this file for some reason.  The following steps can be used to reset this file to attempt to fix this issue:

    1. Close Media Center
    2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    3. Type cd /d "%USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\eHome"
    4. Type ren ehshell.config ehshell.config.old
    5. Open Media Center and configure FM radio presets once more

    As a side note - in Windows Vista, Media Center will store FM radio presets in the registry instead of in ehshell.config, so this type of file corruption should not affect Media Center functionality in the future.  If you upgrade from Media Center 2005 to one of the Windows Vista editions that includes Media Center, any pre-existing FM radio preset values will be automatically read from ehshell.config and inserted into the correct location in the registry.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions are now free forever

    • 1 Comments

    I came across a press announcement and some additional blog information regarding the availability of Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions that I think is really exciting and I wanted to pass it on.  When Visual Studio 2005 originally shipped in November 2005, the Express Editions were posted on the web for download and were temporarily made available free of charge for the first year after the release.  Today, the Express Edition team announced that the VS 2005 Express Editions will be permanently made available free of charge.

    I am particularly excited about this because the Media Center platform team has been using Visual C# Express Edition for some of the Media Center SDK features we are working on (such as the improved project template that I talked about in this blog post), and I think that having a free IDE with all of the features that are offered by Visual C# Express makes it that much easier for folks to get started with Media Center development.

    Dan Fernandez has posted some more specific details about this announcement and also about some new Express Edition Starter Kits, training videos and other resources that were released today.  I encourage you to take a look at his blog for more in-depth descriptions of the newly released resources as well.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Updated version of DUAScriptGen (v1.1.0003) is now available

    • 5 Comments

    I have posted an update to the DUAScriptGen power toy for Windows XP Embedded on my tool download site at this location.  This version contains a bug fix for a parsing error brought to my attention by Lynda Allen last week.  Apparently, the format of the release notes files for recent Windows XP Embedded hotfixes has changed and it caused the parsing logic within DUAScriptGen to stop working correctly.  If you are encountering errors when trying to convert recent hotfix release note RTF files into DUA script files using the DUAScriptGen tool, please try out this updated version and let me know if you run into any further issues.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Channel 9 video about Windows Media Center development on Windows Vista

    • 0 Comments

    Robert Scoble stopped by a few weeks ago and filmed a video with Charlie Owen and Mark Finocchio, and the video was posted to the Channel 9 site this past Friday night.  This video covers some interesting aspects of Windows Media Center in Windows Vista, but focuses primarily on Media Center Markup Language, the Windows Media Center Presentation Layer, and developing applications for Media Center.  The video was filmed back in January just as the February CTP build of Windows Vista was being completed, and so some of the information is a bit high-level and out of date.  I'm happy to say that we've made a lot of exciting progress in the weeks since then (such as this) to improve Media Center development and the Media Center SDK.

    As an aside, the video was filmed in a demonstration room in the building that the Media Center team is located on the Microsoft campus (building 50).  The Channel 9 article and video calls this our "secret room" and Charlie mentioned in his blog that it is not really a secret, but I can say that my office is next door to this room and I was on the Media Center team for nearly a year and I didn't know that this room existed until the day that Robert filmed the video.  It was dead quiet in that room because of the extra thick walls and soundproofing on the walls and ceilings, which provided a nice contrast to the constant humming from 4 test machines in my office.  I am tempted to try to find a way to sneak back into that room with my laptop for some quiet heads-down work time.  :-)

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Windows Media Center design and architecture - part 2

    • 0 Comments

    Francis Hogle has posted part 2 in his series about the behind-the-scenes design and architecture of Windows Media Center on the Media Center Sandbox site.  In this post, he describes the components of the Media Center rendering engine, specifically the following pieces:

    • Animation system - sequence, value table, interpolation and property connector
    • Presentation model - graphics device, visuals, surfaces, render operations, clip gradients, surface pool, sound device, sound buffer and sound
    • Output drivers - DirectX graphics and sound, Win32 graphics and sound, Xbox 360 graphics and sound
    • Core services - message transport, object management, scheduling and memory management

    As a reminder, Francis previously posted part 1 in his series where he introduced the architecture of the Windows Media Center Presentation Layer.

    I encourage everyone interested in learning more about how Windows Media Center works behind the scenes to take a look at these 2 posts (and eventually at parts 3 and 4 when he posts them).

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Article about Visual Studio 2005 IDE extensibility

    • 0 Comments

    I ran across an interesting article today that describes the available extensibility options for the Visual Studio 2005 IDE:

    • Macros
    • Add-ins
    • Packages

    The article also provides descriptions and downloadable sample code that shows how to implement a Managed Visual Studio Package (a new type of package available in VS 2005 that allows you to use managed code to implement a VS IDE package).

    If you are interested in extending the functionality of the Visual Studio IDE, and want to focus on some of the new features available in VS 2005 for extensibility, I encourage you to check out this article.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Updated version of DUAScriptGen (v1.1.0004) is now available

    • 1 Comments

    A customer posted a bug report on my blog indicating that DUAScriptGen was incorrectly marking registry values that should be under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.  After investigating this scenario, I found that recent Windows XP Embedded hotfix release notes are formatting the registry information in a new way, which was causing the parsing logic in DUAScriptGen to report incorrect data.  I have posted an updated version of DUAScriptGen (v1.1.0004) that will correctly parse registry data in both the old format and the new format.  If you are using DUAScriptGen to generate DUA Script (DUS) files for any recent Windows XP Embedded hotfixes, please update to this new version or you may end up setting incorrect registry values in your deployed runtimes.

    As always, please let me know if you see any additional problems with DUAScriptGen.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Windows Media Center SDK build 5365.8 now available

    • 7 Comments

    There is a new build of the Windows Media Center SDK available on the Microsoft Connect site this evening for folks in the Windows Vista beta program.  This build is compatible with Windows Vista 5365.8 build, which was released at the end of last week.  You can find some details about this new SDK build, which now includes source code for the Q podcast and video blog sample application, in this post on the Media Center Sandbox site.

    I also want to emphasize one of the points at the bottom of that post - we want to hear about your experiences with the beta versions of the Windows Media Center SDK.  Some of the issues fixed in this build of the SDK were reported directly to us via the Media Center Sandbox forum.  Please use this forum to post questions, comments, suggestions and bugs.  Members of the Windows Vista beta program can also use the forms on the Microsoft Connect site to report bugs and suggestions directly to a Microsoft bug database.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    New build of the Media Center SDK for Windows Vista February CTP refresh

    • 0 Comments

    I am really excited to announce that there is a new build of the Windows Media Center SDK available for download on the Windows Vista beta site.  This new build of the SDK is designed to support the Windows Vista February CTP refresh build 5342.

    You can find more details about some of the new features in this build of the Media Center SDK, including some screenshots in this post on the Media Center Sandbox site.  Some of the highlights are the following:

    • Enhanced Media Center Markup Language (MCML) sample content
    • McmlPad is now a standalone tool in addition to a Media Center add-in
    • MCML web application support
    • Visual Studio project and item templates

    If you are on the Windows Vista beta program and are interested in Media Center and Media Center development, I encourage you to check out the article on the Media Center Sandbox site and download and try out the SDK.

    In addition, Charlie has created a new forum to discuss Media Center development issues.  I encourage you to use this forum to ask any questions you have about this new build of the Media Center SDK, let us know any suggestions you have for future versions, or ask any general Media Center development questions you might have.

     

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    New article posted - Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 deployment guide

    • 0 Comments

    Over the past few months, I have written several blog posts describing how to perform various deployment and silent installation-related tasks for the Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 family of products.  I realized today that I had lost track of what topics I have already written about, so I decided to create an article that can be used as a central repository for all deployment information for the VS 2005 family of products.

    You can click the link to view the Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 deployment guide.  I also added a link on the right side of my blog in the list of frequently used articles that I have written.

    If you see additional topics you would like me to cover for this deployment guide, please contact me or post a comment on one of my existing blog posts and let me know and I will do my best to add information to it as I have time.

     

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