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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>

 

  • Hi Zamar - Thanks for the additional information.  I'll update the blog post to suggest disabling and re-enabling Windows Media Player too.

  • Deleting Recordings.xml worked for me too!

    Accessing the Guide, Recorded TV or Scheduled Recordings all just hung giving me the "Component Registration" error, on Vista Home Premium.  It started completely out of the blue about a week ago.

    I tried unregistering and re-registering everything, I ran sfc (and it said there was a file - TCP.ini couldn't be repaired, but said it had repaired a few other things - nothing.

    Then I saw this comment about Recordings.xml.  I backed up the three files in that folder (.xml, .xml.bak and .xml.side - last one was 0kb) and then deleted the .xml one and copied the .xml.bak one in its place and presto!  Media Center now works again and all my recordings and scheduled items are there!  Hooray!  Thanks n4cer!  Note also that after doing this the .side one has now vanished.

  • Hi i am having a problem with WMC i i have been using it for quite a while now never had any problems, but since yesterday i am having a problem which is that when i click on live TV it runs because i can hear the  sound but no picture is on the screen same thing is happening with my recoded program i can only hear the sound but no pic, do you know what could be the problem and what is the fix, BTW i have windows 7 ultimate service pack 1

    thank you in advance

    T

  • Hi Toufail - I'm sorry, but I haven't worked on Windows Media Center since the Windows Vista release.  I'm not sure what to suggest in this scenario other than to check for updated drivers for your video and TV tuner cards.

    If updating drivers doesn't help, I'd suggest posting a question about this scenario on one of the following forums to see if someone there can provide any other suggestions for you to try:

    www.microsoft.com/.../reader.mspx

    thegreenbutton.com/.../ShowForum.aspx

  • Just wanted to add a simple but powerful free tool to repair codecs or fix playback issues. The Codec Tweak Tool has the ability to scan and remove broken codecs and DirectShow filters.

    codecpack.co/.../K-Lite_Codec_Tweak_Tool.html

  • my wmc doesnt work..pop up message keeps on popping whenever i start using wmc...( a necessary component of the windows media center did not start properly. restart windows media center)--this is the error code...

    please help me with this..thanks..

  • Hi Jaypee - If the steps that are listed above in this blog post don't help, then the only other way I know of to repair Windows Media Center components is to repair/re-install Windows.

  • If your Windows Media Center Program crashes at start every time without opening:

    Step 1. Close Windows Media Center and all related processes.

    Step 2. Navigate to the "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft" folder. (careful in here!!)

    Step 3. Rename the "ehome" folder to "(backup)ehome"

    Step 4. Navigate to the "C:\Windows" folder. (careful in here!!)

    Step 5. Rename the "ehome" folder to "(backup)ehome"

    Step 6. Run Windows Media Center

    This fixed mine, hope it fixes yours!

  • My PC came with Vista. Then I converted to Windows 7.  Since then, whenever I reboot, Media Center forgets my tv setup and I have to redo it all again.  My system says I have the latest driver so I'm stumped. Any ideas?

  • Hi Kathygo - I haven't run into this particular issue in the past, so I'm not sure what you will need to do to fix it.  I'd suggest posting a question on the forums at experts.windows.com/.../default.aspx and hopefully someone there will be able to provide some suggestions for you to try.

  • Thanks to posting by N4cer I managed to fix the problems as well.

    Once I deleted the Recordings.xml file everything worked fine.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU

    p.s. The sfc /scannow did not give me any leads as it did not report any problems as well.

  • some of the files needed to play radio or video are missing or corrupt.  Windows Media Center component registration may have failed

  • Hi Still broke - If running SFC didn't help fix this error, then you might need to repair/re-install Windows to fix this.  Before doing that, you might want to post a question on the forums at www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums to see if someone there can help suggest any additional workarounds to try before you have to resort to a Windows repair.

  • I have this problem, too. I've spent several days trying to revert my system as it happened after updating my video driver (which, in retrospect, I remembered that I don't do this because it can cause problems), updating Windows (restore didn't fix it) AND setting up my Sony Blu-Ray player to access my computer files. Bingo! I've had this computer since 2008 and I discovered early on that WMC cannot run more than 1 video program - not much of a Media Center, is it! I'm guessing that setting up the BR to access the computer violated that ridiculous limit.

    I now get the the Component Registration Failure message on WMC. Also, my WinTV quit working, too. Seemed like a big part of the issue was in accessing the internet so hoped the reinstall would "reset" the connections. I was able to get WinTV to work again by deleting my wireless internet adapter & the WinTV drivers and then reinstalling them.  While I use WinTV often, I cannot schedule on it (the way I had to set it up) so WMC is great for those shows that come on when I'm not available. While the problem was fixed in WinTV, WMC still isn't working. I tried a setup but it hung up on the IR Receiver and not being able to find it - although it is working and makes the appropriate changes when I use it for volume and starting WMC. I'm also still getting that message.

    This is a big and ongoing problem that MS has failed to fix. Figures! It should not require a reinstall of the OS. Period. I won't do it. This is a direct result of WMC being unable to handle multiple video programs. It also seems to be related to internet connectivity. It certainly seems that Microsoft should have made available a fix for this problem as it is prevalent enough to warrant it. Of course, now MS doesn't support Vista so I'm unlikely to get any help from there. But, reading the threads over there that relate to this problem, and there are many, MS has no idea what is going on. How frightening is that?

    Additionally, there is no All Users folder on my system. Is that because there is only me? (Can't find a Recordings.xml file to delete, or whatever was suggested above.)

  • Hi columbia93 - I'm sorry for the hassles that this issue is causing for you.  I haven't worked on the Windows Media Center team for several years now, so I am not sure what steps to suggest to try to solve this issue.  It might help to post a question on the forums at www.thegreenbutton.tv/.../viewforum.php to see if someone there has any suggestions for you to try.

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