Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Backup and Restore Recording Schedule in Windows 7 Media Center

by @ 6:00 am on March 25th, 2009 in tv listings, windows 7 with 50 Comments

Clint Eastwood - Says Backup Your Media Center Schedules! The ability to backup and restore your recording schedule and guide listings in Media Center is something that will be necessary at some point for almost anyone. Unfortunately, up to this point Media Center doesn’t make it easy for the end user. On the bright side it isn’t very complicated either, you just need to know where to look.

Back ‘Em Up!

To begin with, Media Center creates backup files every time you schedule a new show or make modifications to the guide listings, you just need to find them. To get to the files you will need to enable the viewing of hidden folders, then open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome (by default). Inside you will find a folder, or series of folders, for each tuner you have installed marked “mcepgX-X-X”. Inside each of these folders you will find a backup folder containing backup files for listings, recordings, and subscriptions.

Windows Media Center Backup Files

For each type of backup there will be a number of files inside named with a timestamp. The timestamp format is as follows:” “year month day – hour minutes seconds”. This makes it very simple to locate your most recent files. Luckily the files aren’t large at all however and you could easily backup the whole lot in most cases. For restoring the recording schedule only the latest file in recordings is needed.

Put ‘Em Back!

Once you’ve completed your reinstall of Windows 7, open Media Center and run through the setup as usual. Assuming no hardware changes or driver changes between reinstalls we should be set to continue. Retrieve your backup recordings file and copy it to your hard disk.

The file doesn’t need to be anywhere specific but placing it in the backups folder in your new “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\mcepgx-x-x” directory is probably a best practice. Now we will need to tell Media Center we’d like to load the information from the file. This is done through a program included in Windows 7 called “loadmxf” located in the “Windowsehome” directory.

You can either open a command prompt by typing “cmd” into the start menu box or create a shortcut with the following text: “C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe –i FILELOCATION”. Replace the FILELOCATION with the location of the file to be loaded.

LoadMXF Files into Media Center

If using a shortcut, double-click to execute the command before continuing. Otherwise the recording schedule should be loaded into Media Center now. Loading lineup and subscription data from previous installs breaks things currently, so don’t do it!

Load ‘Em Up!

Once you’ve loaded the files back into Media Center you can see that your shows will be listed under series’ in Recorded TV’s Scheduled Recordings but no shows will be scheduled yet. Before we can load these you should be sure to have your channel lineup completed in the Media Center TV Guide. To get the proper times for each scheduled show you will need to reload Guide data.

To do this go to “Tasks > TV > Guide > Get Latest Guide Listings” and wait for the guide data to finish downloading. Then re-check your scheduled shows in Recorded TV. You should now see shows listed on the schedule to be recorded.

Congratulations. You have successfully backed up and restored your scheduled recordings.

Rawhide!

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50 Comments


Anonymous
Comment #238 from Anonymous [Reply]

doesn’t those backup files contain the lineup that you have setup too. along with the scheduled shows? if so, won’t doing an import load those over again too, and mess stuff up?

Comment left March 25, 2009 at 8:34 am Permanent Link

bjdraw
Comment #239 from bjdraw [Reply]

Nice tip. Is there a way to restore the lineup? A nice thing about 7 is you can customize your channel numbers and tuner priority for each channel, but since you can spend a lot of time customizing your lineup it’d be nice if it was able to back.

Also, you really should link or credit photos. I doubt the RIAA would agree with your uncredited use of the Clint Eastwood album cover. Personally I don’t care, just saying.

Comment left March 25, 2009 at 8:40 am Permanent Link

MHealy
Comment #240 from MHealy [Reply]

The recording schedule and lineup files are seperate so you can load the recording schedule without altering the lineup. Media Center scans for the progams using unique channel and program id numbers enabling seperation of lineup and recording data. Loading lineup mxf data back into Media Center does result in a number of bad things happening at the moment however as mentioned. I haven’t been able to restore my lineup without double entries and tuner errors yet.

Probably right about the ablum cover though I couldn’t even locate the original source..I found a similiar one though. I’ll link to it instead, RIAA will just have to take one for the team on this one.

Comment left March 25, 2009 at 10:36 am Permanent Link

Mike
Comment #236 from Mike [Reply]

Not true – I have tried this a dozen times, and after my analog channel listing is created after I go through the tuner setup, and I do the import, it DUPLICATES all the analog channels, with only one listing working. If you go Edit the guide, there is only one channel listed for each, and if you uncheck it, it leaves the unworking channel in the guide (the error is a tuner conflict). So, if anyone can figure out how to empty the guide database before importing, please post it!

Comment left March 26, 2009 at 9:01 am Permanent Link

Brian
@Reply #64675 from Brian [Reply]

I am running into this problem. Did you figure out to clear out the guide?

Comment left March 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm Permanent Link

MHealy
Comment #237 from MHealy [Reply]

I’ve gone through these steps three times in so far in build 7057 and never got duplicate channels from loading ONLY the recordings file. DO NOT load all three of the backup files, just recordings. This was mentioned in the article as well.

Comment left March 26, 2009 at 9:34 am Permanent Link

Anonymous
Comment #498 from Anonymous [Reply]

Hey my guide got foobarred like you were saying, duplicate channel entries that were bogus; ie 2-3 ‘channel 63′. i killed off C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\mcepg1-5-1 like dirs and the .db file in the ehome. Re-did the channel scan and its back to normal.

Comment left May 1, 2009 at 3:43 am Permanent Link
Comment #689 from Greg [Reply]

Will this also work when I finally upgrade from Vista to 7?

Comment left May 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #691 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

Afraid not, Vista Media Center uses a different system for saving recording schedules. It uses an XML files as opposed to an MXF file. This may not be the case if you have the unofficial TV Pack installed but I can’t confirm one way or the other.

Comment left May 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #694 from Greg [Reply]

That’s a pity. Is there an easy way to transfer my series recordings to 7 from Vista? We have over 50.

Comment left May 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #732 from NickDeMayo [Reply]

I initially upgraded my Vista Media Center to 7 build 7057, using the upgrade process not a clean install, and the Upgrade process imported all of my scheduled recordings…no problem.

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 7:39 am Permanent Link

norman
Comment #715 from norman [Reply]

I attempted the lineup restore with 7077 and failed miserably. The recordings only restore worked fine.

Has anyone tried the lineup restore with 7RC?

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 12:28 am Permanent Link
@Reply #739 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

I haven’t tried it yet personally but I think we’re going to have to wait for someone to write up a small program to read the data and only insert data that’s missing.

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 8:33 am Permanent Link

Jonathan
Comment #721 from Jonathan [Reply]

Will this work with MCE 2005 machine

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 4:47 am Permanent Link

Jonathan
Comment #722 from Jonathan [Reply]

Will this work with MCE 2006. Thanks

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 4:48 am Permanent Link
@Reply #738 from MichaelHealy [Reply]

Afraid this will only work for backing up Windows 7 recording schedules. Previous versions of Media Center use a very different method for storing the recording schedule.

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 8:31 am Permanent Link

JJ
Comment #756 from JJ [Reply]

I’ve been trying this with Win7 RC1 x64 and I keep getting “Error: The following parameter was not recognized ‘-i’. Aborting”. I’ve tried spaces before and after, no spaces, two dashes, one dash. I’ve copied and pasted. I did this command with 7077 and it worked great. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong?

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 2:57 pm Permanent Link

JJ
Comment #758 from JJ [Reply]

I got it to work: The command that worked for me: C:\Windows\ehome\LoadMXF -v -i

One can enter “C:\Windows\ehome\LoadMXF /?” into the command promp for a list of parameters.

Restoring saved Lineup data in Win7 RC1 x64 results in duplicate analog channels.

Comment left May 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm Permanent Link

kieran45
Comment #1352 from kieran45 [Reply]

Does this work using EIT guide data? I have everything imported correctly, scheduled recordings are visible in the view scheduled directory, but I can’t do the download latest guide data bit, cause with EIT data there is nothing to download? How can I get it to update on the guide?

Comment left May 31, 2009 at 1:20 am Permanent Link

Brandon
Comment #1912 from Brandon [Reply]

I still don’t understand why MS doesn’t have a MC backup utility of some sort. I usually try to reload my machines about once a year, it would make my life so much easier if there was a settings export\import utility.
You mentioned that MC uses unique ID numbers for channels and programs; are these the same based on headend and hardware? I would assume that they are Unique IDs based on the what the data provider offers for guide data so they would be the same whether you are using a Dell in Chicago or an HP in New York (obviously different local channels, but all other channels would be the same if you are using satellite like me).
Just baffles my mind how many shortcomings media center has.

Comment left June 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #1917 from Michael Healy [Reply]

The unique channel and program ID are from a central database. Local channels I’m sure will be different but I’m unsure whether or not national channels remain the same as programming across them can have variations of their own, such as timing differences.

Comment left June 29, 2009 at 10:05 am Permanent Link
Comment #3387 from terdsterds [Reply]

I have win7 RTM and I backed up my series as described. I do not have loadmxf.exe in the 64 bit RTM nor the 32 bit RTM. I did have the backup files in the location described, any idea how I could restore them now?

Comment left September 20, 2009 at 1:24 am Permanent Link
@Reply #3388 from terdsterds [Reply]

Update:
It was in another directory tree, found it later. The search feature just doesnt work like it used to.

Comment left September 20, 2009 at 2:26 am Permanent Link

Karl
Comment #4059 from Karl [Reply]

Followed the instructions and everything worked perfectly. Win7 RC1 to Win7 release. Thanks.

Comment left October 18, 2009 at 1:37 am Permanent Link

yums
Comment #4067 from yums [Reply]

I am having an issue following the steps from Win 7 RC to Win 7 release.

My Backup files from the RC were in the following folders:
mcepg1-5-0
mcepg1-5-1
mcepg1-5-2
mcepg1-5-3

But I just installed the Win7 release and now I only have one folder:
mcepg2-0

All tuners are working. Did something change from RC to final? Any help would be appreciated.

Comment left October 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #4073 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I’ll check it out later today but it looks like you’ve gone from downloading four different guides to a single guide. You may be able to apply the four recording schedules to the single new guide and get adequate results. I can’t guarantee that though.

Comment left October 19, 2009 at 8:05 am Permanent Link

Hagrinas
Comment #4683 from Hagrinas [Reply]

If you see something like
mcepg1-5-0
mcepg1-5-1
mcepg1-5-2
mcepg1-5-3, then check the dates of the db file, and the files in the like-named folders.

I found that the RC and the beta versions started off with the dash zero version, and at some point(s) a new version of the db got created, but the number at the end of the db name was incremented. When the numbers were incremented, the old files stopped getting updated. I strongly suspect that was due to some sort of database contamination.

I suspect MC looks only at the version with the latest increment, not the excrement in the previous versions. I was not able to look at those db files using mcupdate either so it’s very unlikely that they work. It also seems pointless for MC to need them.

As long as you do system backups, you can try erasing the old db files/folders. If nothing breaks, you are fine.

Comment left November 9, 2009 at 8:35 pm Permanent Link

Hagrinas
Comment #4685 from Hagrinas [Reply]

I just did a bit more checking, and found that for each previous version of a db file, there was an mcupdateNNNN.crash file with the same date and time plus 5 seconds. i.e. the database file got updated, a crash file was created five seconds later, and db file with a higher number appeared with a creation date/time 10 seconds after the crash file. The previous database file never got updated again.

The files in the corresponding folders never got updated again either. In my case, there were backups in those folders from about three hours earlier, each time it happened. That was enough information for the system to create a new db and restore the data.

Comment left November 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm Permanent Link
Comment #6292 from PeterMayer [Reply]

Hi together

There is also the possibility of swapping the host lists on a different Partitioin / drive?
How can I change the path in the registry?

I need this feature because I have put under C drive, and thus after the restart, all scheduled recordings would be gone.

Thank you very much
Peter

Comment left January 4, 2010 at 6:35 am Permanent Link

Peter
Comment #6682 from Peter [Reply]

HI,

can anywhere help me?

I use so.

Pleas look also her

http://www.rdt-global.de/hdguard_de.html

Thx

Peter

Comment left January 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm Permanent Link

chris
Comment #8047 from chris [Reply]

just a quick thanks…messed up my channel lineups this evening and was able to run the command to restore the backup lineup file from this morning.

worked perfectly!
saves me tons of time since in addition to my analog tuners, i have dual ClearQAM tuners that require manual channel adding and manual guide associations to each channel.

C:\>c:\windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe -i “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\mcepg2-0\backup\lineup\20100224_112258″
Loading… 100%
C:\>

Comment left February 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm Permanent Link

JCR
Comment #8155 from JCR [Reply]

Hi. I just went from W7 RC to W7 Pro 64bit, and this seemed to work ok (however the unused channels are now listed aswell – minor issue). But after I reloaded my XMLTV guide data using BigScreenEPG, I am left with the following error when trying to watch Live TV or record:

‘Viewing or Listening Conflict – No tuner available to satisfy the current request’.

I repeated the whole process from tuner setup onwards, and the same thing happened. Any ideas? Thanks.

Comment left February 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm Permanent Link
Comment #9353 from MikeS [Reply]

Just used this tip again, what a lifesaver. This is the best tip on the site.

Comment left April 14, 2010 at 7:08 am Permanent Link

countzerouk
Comment #10257 from countzerouk [Reply]

Is there any way to program a clearing the Scheduled Recordings after a backup has been taken? I’m thinking about using DVBLink Network Pack and being able to schedule recordings on a tunerless set top MC and have those recordings made on the back end MC with the tuners in.

Comment left April 26, 2010 at 7:00 am Permanent Link

Anonymous
Comment #22147 from Anonymous [Reply]

Threw together a quick & dirty little app to assist me:

https://sites.google.com/site/wmc7tvseriesbackup/home

Comment left November 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm Permanent Link

Larry
@Reply #26490 from Larry [Reply]

Your app also worked great for me. I was backing up from 7MC x64 to another 7MC x64 running on completely different hardware.

Comment left December 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm Permanent Link

Larry
@Reply #26491 from Larry [Reply]

I wanted to comment on your site and say thanks, but I couldn’t figure out how to post, even after signing in to my google account. Anyway…Thanks!

Comment left December 19, 2010 at 7:21 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #31045 from Sean [Reply]

Glad it worked for you Larry. I was able to post at the bottom after I logged in. But thank you for bringing that to my attention. I’ll have to take a look. Maybe google has some restriction in place I need to flip.

Comment left January 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm Permanent Link

Stokersson
Comment #34387 from Stokersson [Reply]

Hi,

Very useful article, however a bit out of date and may refer to just the original RC candidates or a Vista conversion. I say this because the folder structure is wrong for a virgin install of Windows 7.

As noted in the comments above C:\>c:\windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe is now where the program is, and C:\Programs Data is a Vista location. The Windows 7 location is of course C:\Users\All Users\Microsoft\eHome\mcepg2-0\backup\recordings where there appears to be one MCEPGx-x folder for each tuner type OR for each rebuild of MCE (following a change of tuners say), my old PC had five my new PC has only one.

The only other anomoly was that after loading I had to manually select an EPG update (Get latest guide listings) before MCE would rescan and schedule any recordings from the new load, also only series listings showed up not any individual film entries – not a problem for me – I wanted the series of which I have 62 with over 50 having no immediate schedule.

Anyway thanks for the article and Ya-Boo-Sucks to Microsoft for not including a simpler restore method. A dead mobo meant I could not predict that I needed to run the transfer settings wizard. Not only that but because I got a new mobo with a different chipset my installation would not repair and I had to clean install and then restore from the old drive and backups.

Comment left February 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm Permanent Link

Richard
Comment #40539 from Richard [Reply]

Just a quick message to say thanks for the detailed instructions and to let you know that 2 years after this article was written, it still works with Windows 7 SP 1 (x86) and all the latest updates.

Comment left May 2, 2011 at 7:24 am Permanent Link

Joe Shabadu
Comment #46610 from Joe Shabadu [Reply]

Thanks for this awesome guide, it did exactly what I needed!

Comment left August 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm Permanent Link

JazJon
Comment #46701 from JazJon [Reply]

The following program worked perfect for me. (x64 too)

WMC7 TV Recording Schedule Backup

https://sites.google.com/site/wmc7tvseriesbackup/

I used Guide Tool for channel lineup, and the above for scheduled recordings.

Comment left August 17, 2011 at 5:13 am Permanent Link
Comment #63820 from Sean [Reply]

I’ve added a CLI version of my app to allow scheduling backups via “Task Scheduler”.

You can dump out your list of shows in the schedule as well.

Check it out @ http://seanmauch.com
I welcome your comments on the forum.

Comment left February 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm Permanent Link

David Vanderschel
@Reply #98256 from David Vanderschel [Reply]

I tried the GUI version, and all it lists are real series. It does not list the wish list items which also show up in WMC’s “Series” display. I have an incredible number of requests for movies in there to record if and when they show up on any channel. Indeed, there is more of that sort of series programming request in there than for the actual regularly occurring stuff. I am equally concerned about losing track of the wish list items (which would actually be harder to reconstruct) if reinstall. Since Sean’s program does not list them, I fear that they may not be in the backup and that they would not be restored by loadmxf.exe either. Does anyone know if it is possible to restore my any channel, whenever movie requests by any means?

Comment left January 9, 2013 at 2:03 am Permanent Link

Anonymous
@Reply #100017 from Anonymous [Reply]

David V. – I just had the same thing happen. The GUI program from Sean only lists the 5 shows with defined channel to record. I have another ~30 series that record fine but I don’t know if they’ll be backed up/restored. Obviously not through the GUI program but will they be in the manual method in this article? Can anyone comment on this?

Comment left January 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm Permanent Link

Jamie
Comment #68723 from Jamie [Reply]

For anyone looking to test Windows 8 and restore their recording schedule to it you will have to open the backup file in Notepad and change anywhere it states version=”6.1.0.0″ to version=”6.2.0.0″ after that the scheduled recordings will restore just fine.

Comment left April 9, 2012 at 7:22 am Permanent Link

Ryan
@Reply #283808 from Ryan [Reply]

I HAD to comment to say thank you and let you know that I appreciated you taking the time to write this. I’m going the other way, from win 8 back to win 7 but obviously, the reverse worked as well. I had tried Sean’s utility and the manual method and thought I lost everything until I read your comment. Thanks!

Comment left September 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm Permanent Link

skywalka
Comment #131382 from skywalka [Reply]

Hi.

My PC died and I’ve had to buy a new drive. I can access most of the old drive. I had 5 folders named between mcepg2-0 to mcepg2-4. Only mcepg2-4 had recently been updated.

I ran loadxmf & pointed it to the old mcepg2-4 file for recordings. My programs now appear in the Series section of scheduled. But there is no option to get the Latest Guide Listings. I think this is related to not being able to download the guide when setting up Media Center. It has never worked to my knowledge here in Australia.

If I look at a specific show in Series WMC says “There are no upcoming programs in this series” but the show is on every day & is listed as such in the guide.

I’d love some help with this.

Thanks for reading this far!

Comment left June 19, 2013 at 7:37 am Permanent Link

diablo3dfx
Comment #139240 from diablo3dfx [Reply]

Just wanted to let people know, this does work with Windows 8. 8 old install to 8 clean install required no deviation from the above instructions and it worked beautifully. Thx for the help.

Comment left July 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm Permanent Link

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