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Mailbag: Why doesn't the green button on my remote work until I launch Media Center manually?

Mailbag: Why doesn't the green button on my remote work until I launch Media Center manually?

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Question:

I have a computer that is running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.  When I press the green button on my Media Center remote control, it will not launch Media Center for me.   I can use the mouse to launch Media enter, and after that the remote control will work fine.  Even if I close Media Center, I can re-open it by using the green button on my remote control once I have launched Media Center at least once.  However, if I reboot my computer, the same thing happens again.

Why is my system acting like this, and is there a way I can fix it so that the green button on my remote control will work all the time without needing to start Media Center manually with the mouse the first time?

Answer:

There is an application named ehTray that normally runs in the background on a Windows Media Center PC that listens for the green button on the remote to let you start Media Center.  By default, when installing Windows XP Media Center Edition, the ehTray application is configured to start each time Windows starts.  In addition, if it is not running when you start Media Center for the first time, Media Center will launch it for you.

It sounds like the registry entry to start that service when Windows starts was removed from this system.  The following steps can be used to create a registry value that will cause the ehTray application to run each time Windows is started so that the green button on a Media Center remote control will work without needing to first launch Media Center manually:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd and click OK 
  2. Run this command:  reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" /v ehTray.exe /t REG_SZ /d c:\windows\ehome\ehtray.exe /f 
  3. Reboot 
  4. Try to use your remote control to launch Media Center

Note: On Windows Vista, the configuration of the ehTray application has changed a little bit.  The registry setting to automatically start ehTray when Windows starts is located under HKEY_CURRENT_USER instead of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and it will not appear by default when you install Windows Vista.  However, the green button on a Media Center remote will work correctly on a default install of Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate editions, even if you have not yet launched Media Center for the first time.

<update date="9/4/2007"> Updated the not about Windows Vista behavior because I misunderstood the behavior on a newly installed OS.  Thanks to Fu for pointing this out to me. </update>

 

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  • Hello,

    I have a small problem. I bought an HP dv6500t laptop that is equipped with a remote control for Windows Media Center. The OS is Vista-Home Premium.

    I have to manually launch media center from the start menu. Afterwards, the remote control works just fine. However, I'm supposed to be able to launch media center by simply pressing the "green button" on the remote. I cannot seem to do that.

    I already tried a few things:

    1. launched the "ehTray.exe" application then tried to press the "green button"

    2. added the following to the registry then rebooted my machine, followed that by pressing the "green button":      reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" /v ehTray.exe /t REG_SZ /d c:\windows\ehome\ehtray.exe /f

    None of these things helped to solve my problem.

    I hope someone can help me,

    Thanks,

    Sam

  • Hi Sam2tky - I'm sorry but I'm not sure what to suggest if those things do not work for you.  One thing - adding the registry key requires a reboot before it will take effect.  I'm not sure if that will help in your case though because you already tried launching ehTray.exe manually.

    When you launch ehTray.exe manually, do you still see it in the list of running processes in Task Manager?

    You mentioned that the remote works fine after you start Media Center.  In that case, do you see ehTray in the list of running processes in Task Manager?

  • I recently ran an anti virus program and it identified "ehtray" and associated registry files as dangerous and were removed. What I found is that my MS controller green button didn't turn on my 2005 Media Center, however it did work after you clicked on Media Center and the program was active. Looked everywhere on how to fix, but couldn't find anything till I came upon this link and added the registry item. I also had to copy ehtray.exe to the MSHome folder of Windows, because it was only in the System32/cache dll folder.

    I rebooted and it came back - Thanks!

    I have a computer that is running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.  When I press the green button on my Media Center remote control, it will not launch Media Center for me.   I can use the mouse to launch Media enter, and after that the remote control will work fine.  Even if I close Media Center, I can re-open it by using the green button on my remote control once I have launched Media Center at least once.  However, if I reboot my computer, the same thing happens again.

    Why is my system acting like this, and is there a way I can fix it so that the green button on my remote control will work all the time without needing to start Media Center manually with the mouse the first time?

  • Hi Rogermd1 - The symptoms you describe usually mean that ehTray.exe is not configured to run automatically when you restart your computer.  The registry key listed in this blog post should do that for you.  Can you double-check in Task Manager after restarting your computer but before the first time you launch Media Center and see if the ehTray process is running or not?

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