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How to repair Media Center files and registry entries on Windows Vista and Windows 7

How to repair Media Center files and registry entries on Windows Vista and Windows 7

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Note - this post was originally written for Windows Vista, but it also applies to Windows 7.

Since the Windows Vista public launch in January 2007, I have been receiving questions more frequently about how to repair Windows Media Center to try to resolve various bugs.  Many of the customers I have heard from have tried some of the repair steps I have previously posted for Windows XP Media Center Edition (such as this, this or this), but ran into problems getting them to work.

I want to emphasize that OS repair techniques that I have previously documented for Windows XP Media Center Edition will not work on Windows Vista or Windows 7 and should not be used on these versions of Windows.  The underlying installation technology for OS components is completely new in Windows Vista, so install/repair techniques for Windows XP OS components will not continue to work on Windows Vista and higher.  Also, some of the registration utilities that shipped with previous versions of Media Center are not included in Windows Vista or higher because they are no longer needed.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 Media Center files and registry information are protected by Windows Resource Protection (WRP) in Windows Vista.  This means that only the OS installer service (named TrustedInstaller) has permission to modify/remove these files or registry keys unless you specifically take ownership of the files/keys and add additional user accounts to the access permission list (which you should not need to do except in extraordinary circumstances).

If you run into problems while using Windows Vista or Windows 7 Media Center and you suspect that files or registry entries that are a part of the Media Center feature are corrupt, you can use the instructions listed below to attempt to repair them.

Repairing Windows Vista and Windows 7 Media Center files

You can use the following steps to repair the files that are a part of Windows Vista Media Center:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose All Programs, then Accessories, then right-click on the Command Prompt item and select Run as administrator
  2. Click Continue to authorize opening a command prompt with administrative privileges
  3. Run this command in the cmd prompt: sfc /scannow
  4. The cmd prompt should list text stating "Beginning system scan. This process will take some time."
  5. Wait for the scan to complete (this can take several minutes so be patient).  This command will scan all protected system files and attempt to replace incorrect versions with correct Microsoft versions
  6. When the scan completes, the SFC tool will indicate whether or not it found any problems and whether or not it was able to fix them
  7. If any errors are reported that SFC was unable to fix, there are steps in this knowledge base article and this how-to guide that explain how to locate and attempt to fix the errors 
  8. After fixing any errors that are found, try to use Windows Vista Media Center again

Disabling and re-enabling Windows 7 Media Center

You can use the following steps to disable and re-enable Windows Media Center on Windows 7.  These steps do not apply to Windows Vista.

  1. Click on the Start menu, type optionalfeatures.exe and press Enter to launch the Windows Features control panel
  2. In the Windows Features control panel, expand the item named Media Features
  3. Uncheck the items named Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player
  4. Click OK, wait for the process to finish, and reboot your computer
  5. Click on the Start menu, type optionalfeatures.exe and press Enter to launch the Windows Features control panel
  6. In the Windows Features control panel, expand the item named Media Features
  7. Check the items named Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player
  8. Click OK, wait for the process to finish, and reboot your computer

Repairing Windows Vista and Windows 7 Media Center registry entries

Unfortunately, there is not an easy way of repairing the registry keys/values that are installed by Windows Vista and higher like there is for files.  If you want to try to repair the registry keys/values that are a part of Windows Vista and Windows 7 Media Center, you will need to run Windows setup again and repair the OS.

<update date="10/7/2008"> Added a link to a knowledge base article about SFC and how to find errors that it reports during its repair process. </update>

<update date="8/17/2009"> Fixed broken link to knowledge base article. </update>

<update date="2/24/2011"> Added a note about how to disable and re-enable Windows Media Center on Windows 7. </update>

<update date="2/25/2011"> Updated the note I added yesterday to also include Windows Media Player. </update>


  • In case anyone else experiences this issue, I once had a problem with MCE Vista that had similar behavior to the component registration/tuner error issue in MCE 2k5.

    It turned out that the recording shedule data (Recordings.xml) had become corrupted (I didn't analyze it to see exactly how, but MCE couldn't read the data). Deleting this file (located under Users\All Users\Microsoft\eHome\Recording) fixed the issue, though note that this will also clear your scheduled recordings (I had a backup Recordings.xml file to replace the corrupted one).

  • Vista MCE suddenly had problems this morning after working fine the night before. I was receiving "component registration failure" errors whenever I did anything that involved the Guide. I tried a reinstall of Vista after using SFC didn't work. Still had the problem.

    Once I deleted the Recordings.xml file per n4cer's post and renamed one of the backups, everything worked fine. Thanks for the tip!

  • Having the same issue as n4cer, but with MCE vista.  Although there is no recordings.xml file for me to delete. SFC was clean.  Looked everywhere for a resolution to this issue.  Even had HP support try (as I just purchased a HP Media Center PC yesterday.) No help.  Tried all of the above.  Another forum suggested re-installation of the vista codec package. I am running the 32 bit version - tried to find the latest from microsoft and elsewhere.  Not sure what to use.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.


  • Hi Nsbalt - There is a codec package that comes with Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate as a part of the OS.  I don't know of a way to re-install it other than to re-install Windows Vista (same as for the core Media Center features themselves).

    Did this problem that you're experiencing just recently start happening, or has it always happened since you got this Windows Vista system?  If it just started, do you know what (if any) changes were made to your system that might help explain Media Center behavior changes?  For example - did you install any updated drivers for your hardware?

    Also, what kind of steps did HP have you try?

    It might help to post a question in one of the following location to get further suggestions about how to resolve this type of issue:



  • Thanks Astebner.  The problem started the morning after I bought the PC.  It was working fine when 1st hooked up the night before.  I did install a few programs - - iTunes, an HP web cam that came with the computer, Print drivers for a Lexmark x9350 & a HP 8450, ArcSoft Photo impressions (which also came with the PC), and maybe Paltalk (not sure If I installed that the next day).  

    All of this I told HP support.  They had me walk through running some of the dos commands in one of your earlier threads.  They also had me uninstall and re-install the TV Tuner Driver (Which I did try prior to contacting them.  After that did not work, they emailed me instructions on how to set up Media Center - - - Which I also tried before calling them.  

    I will check out the links you provided.  I would hate to have to re-install Vista.  I really do not use the TV function much, but I hate when something is not working, especially after just purchasing it!

    Thanks again,


  • Hi Nsbalt - If there is another program or process running on the system that uses the TV tuner card, it can cause "tuner not found" errors within Media Center.  This is because only one program can have access to the tuner hardware at any given time, and unfortunately the error message provided by Media Center is not as descriptive as it could be.

    Is it possible that you have another program that also uses the TV tuner card?  I have heard of some webcams that interact with tuner cards, but there could be other programs that you installed on your system that use the tuner card as well.

    As an experiment, you could try to use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2006/11/25/disabling-services-with-msconfig-to-work-around-setup-failures.aspx to disable any non-Microsoft services and see if that helps with this issue.

  • Thanks for the incredibly quick response.  I tried the steps above. After re-booting, I still get the "Windows Media Center Receiver Service stopped working and was closed" error.  Then the "Tuner Not Found" error when trying to access TV in media center.  

    There was another forum where someone was experiencing the same issue w/a different tuner.  The fix for him was to change the MCE services group to Local System from Network Services. I also tried this - - no luck.  Cahnged it back to Network Services.

    Is is possible that I may have caused more issues by attempting the Service change?



  • Hi Nsbalt - I don't think the service changes you mention would cause any additional issues.  Were you also able to check to see if any other programs/processes are using your TV tuner card to see if that might explain this issue?

    Also, there might be some log files from the Windows Media Center Receiver Service crash in C:\programdata\microsoft\ehome or in the event log on your system.  If you can check there, it might help narrow down the root cause of this issue.

  • Hi astebner,

    I get the following error message all the time: "Windows Media Center Receiver Service has stopped working" due to (DEP - Data Execution Prevention), and the Media center no longer makes scheduled recordings. If you google this message, you will see that a lot of people get this problem after installing video editing tools or codecs. I believe the problem started after installing AVS video tools. I also ran Onecare.live registry scan, which deleted old system restore points (stupid). Maybe the problem is related to mpeg2 encoders? How can I get the system back in shape without reinstalling?

    I tried to follow your points on top, but I had to do it in this way to get it to work (non-english version of vista)

    1 search for cmd

    2 right-click and run as administrator

    3 enter: sfc /scannow

    I got the message that not all errors could be corrected, and the Windows Media Center Receiver Service still doesn't work after a restart.

    Is there anything else I could try before reinstalling the system? I could e-mail the CBS-log from the sfc scan, if that could help identifying the problem.

  • Hi Gaervern - I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what else to suggest in this scenario to try to avoid a re-install.  It is possible that installing some video editing tools or other codecs could cause this kind of issue, so it might help to uninstall those programs and see if you have better results.  There might also be a log related to the Windows Media Center Receiver service at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome on your system or some entries in the event log on your system that could help narrow this down further.

  • I was able to restore the system files with EMC Retrospect Express back-up program, that came with WD My Book. Now, the media center works again. I guess the AVS Video Tools are not Vista-savy yet, although it says so on their web-site. Thanks anyway!

  • Thank you n4cer!  I've been pulling my hair out trying to fix component registration / cannot find tv tuner / files needed to play radio or video are missing or corrupt errors after installing Rollup 2 for Media Center.  I just upgraded to Vista from Windows XP home on an HP Media Center PC.  I did every fix on this blog, but nothing worked.  The I read n4cer's obscure fix.  How could a corrupt Recorded TV file cause MC to not recognize the TV Tuner?  Beats me.  Deleting the file Recordings.xml (located under Users\All Users\Microsoft\eHome\Recording) fixed everything!  

  • Gaervern, Can you elaborate on how you fixed your issue. I installed some Sony video tools (Vegas, etc) and I think since then I have been having the "Windows Media Center Receiver Service has stopped working" error. I can no longer watch live TV , nor can I rerun the windows media center set up, it just locks up. So I guess I need some guidance here. Any help would be great. I just don't want to have to do a recovery and then have to reinstall all my programs. Thanks in advance.

  • Just wanted to add my thanks for a good article, but also to N4cer as deleting the recordings.xml file fixed the woes that I had as well!



  • I also have the same issue and is also started after installing Sony Vegas.   Any suggestions?

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