Home Theatre Pc Software And Operating Systems (Part 3) - Setting Up Windows Media Center

6/26/2012 11:33:28 AM

Setting Up WMC

1.    As Windows Media Center is already preinstalled with Windows 7, the initial setup is simple. The first stage is to find it in your Start menu and fire it up. The first screen will welcome you to the application and ask you to continue.

Description: The first screen will welcome you to the application and ask you to continue.

2.    You can set up WMC using Express or using Custom settings. We recommend the latter. Decline the offer to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program, but click Yes when asked if you want to download cover art for DVDs, music and movie information.

2.Description: click Yes

3.    Next is display setup. This takes a while, but really does improve the image quality of your display, particularly if you have never calibrated it before. Naturally if you already have your screen setup exactly as you want it, skip this step.

Description: display setup

4.    Next, follow the audio wizard to select speakers and how they are connected. This offers you the chance to play a test sound from each of your speakers which, if successful, will complete this part of the setup.

Description: follow the audio wizard to select speakers and how they are connected

5.    Finally it's time to add folders to WMC's music, pictures, video and movie libraries. You can wait while this is done, or continue to use the application while it is done in the background. We strongly recommend the former option!

Description: libraries

6.    You are now done, at least with adding videos. All being well, the folders you added should now appear in their respective subsection ready for playback, if you have a range of different video formats, we are not quite done yet, however.

Description: Music Library

7.    There are numerous 'codec packs' on the internet that claim to fix compatibility issues in one fell swoop. Resist the temptation to use these as they're often laced with malware and break as much as they fix, Instead check out our box out on codecs for WMC.

Description: DivX

These codec packs contain no nasties at all, and we are 100% sure it provides excellent, working codecs for Windows Media Center's player for MKV, DivX and other popular video formats.

Codecs For WMC

One of the most common problems people find when they set up a WMC-based media PC is that their downloaded MKV files don't play properly, while other files have perfect video but the audio is completely absent, or vice versa. More often than not, these files play back fine in Windows Media Player or other video playback software, but stubbornly refuse to cooperate with Media Center. Many users take the sledgehammer approach and download huge codec packs to try to solve this issue, but all too many of these come pre-loaded with browser toolbars, weatherbug and other malware. It is a much better approach to keep the number of codecs on your PC to a minimum, thereby avoiding conflicts and other issues. Fortunately there is a simple three step process to getting MKVs to work perfectly with WMC, and a one step process for almost everything else.

1.    Download a copy of FFDShow Tryouts from

2.    Download Gabest's Matroska Splitters from Extract the zip file to a temporary folder on your desktop and right click 'gabest_splitter_enable.cmd'. Click 'run as administrator' to install.

3.    Download the x64 registry file, again from Add this, and the MKV files will be seen and can be played back by WMC.

4.    To handle 95% of other files, grab the DivX Pluscodec pack at This contains no malware and works with the vast majority of MPEG-4 encoded content. This will also allow your Xbox 360 to decode MKV files if you use one as a media extender.

And you are done! MKVs will now play properly, and you should avoid the dreaded 'I have video but no audio' problems that cause so many users to give up on WMC in favour of XBMC or other HTPC clients.

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