Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Managing TV Listings with Guide Tool

by @ 9:00 am on July 29th, 2009 in tv listings with 28 Comments

guidetool Managing Media Center’s TV listings can be a tricky business, options are spread out across multiple areas and the interface makes for slow and tedious work. Luckily, 1geek1tool has a solution  with it’s Guide Tool program. Guide Tool will allow you to manage all your channels, tuners and listings from a single handy application which can even manage your listings remotely.

To get started you’ll need to download and install Guide Tool on your Windows 7 Media Center machine. During installation Guide Tools installs a background program allowing you to access your listings remotely. Once installed on the Media Center machine you can install it on any other machine to access your listings remotely.

Upon first opening Guide Tool you’ll be asked to provide the name or IP of the machine you’d like to edit listings for. If editing listings on a local machine simply enter “localhost” otherwise you can enter the network name or IP address to connect remotely. It should be noted that Media Center must be running on the destination machine while using Guide Tool however.


Once connected you’ll get a your current lineup on the left hand pane along with the option to select any available listings for your area into the right hand pane. You can browse through the listings and assign the guide data from the right hand pane to channels on the left by selecting one from each pane and pressing the Subscribe button in the toolbar. Conversely, unsubscribe will clear the association or the dropdown Subscribe menu to automatically assign listings to a channel by number or name.

main window

Guide Tool also allows you to rename and renumber your channels any way you’d like by using the left hand pane and the renaming tools found in the toolbar. Just select the channel you’d like to change and press the rename or renumber buttons. Reverting is as easy as pressing the appropriate button as well.

Perhaps the best feature of Guide Tool, however, is the ability to manage tuners assigned to specific channels. Merge channels available on different tuners by selecting the Merge Tuners button and you can merge all channels by number, name or guide subscription. Manage channels individually using the Merge and Split buttons to combine channels available on multiple tuners or split them into separate listings.

merge tuners

I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t convinced of the value of this tool, the built-in settings dialogs seemed sufficient, but that soon changed as I found an error in my own listings that had been giving me trouble for some time. Using Guide Tool made tracking down the problem unbelievably simpler than Media Center’s built-in tools. A problem I had suspected was driver related was in reality just an improperly split channel.

Guide Tool does have a few lingering issues however. The tool doesn’t yet work properly on 64-bit machines and selecting a channel in one pane removed the selection color on the other though it was still selected. The 64-bit issue is on the docket to be fixed in the near future though and Guide Tool has certainly cemented it’s position as an invaluable tool for Windows 7 Media Center users.


Comment #2339 from Andrew [Reply]

Anyway to look at the guide data remotely and be able to setup recordings remotely? Like the old MSN Remote Record?.

Comment left July 29, 2009 at 11:04 am Permanent Link
@Reply #2340 from Michael Healy [Reply]

There is a program currently in beta that will allow you to setup recordings remotely called Big Screen EPG. I’m not sure if the feature is currently included in the beta or if it will be soon but it’s on the horizon.

Comment left July 29, 2009 at 11:42 am Permanent Link
Comment #2342 from Andrew [Reply]

I am actually using Big Screen EPG but for a different purpose. Its the only way to get guide data into 7MC when using over the air ATSC in Canada. Pain in the butt.

Comment left July 29, 2009 at 11:46 am Permanent Link
@Reply #46362 from Nephi [Reply]

Always the best content from these pdroiiguos writers.

Comment left August 11, 2011 at 9:50 am Permanent Link

Bill Bathke
Comment #2377 from Bill Bathke [Reply]

I got this:

Comment left July 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #2381 from Michael Healy [Reply]

There’s a major issue with 64-bit at the moment that will hopefully be fixed in an update soon

Comment left July 30, 2009 at 9:04 pm Permanent Link

Daniel Vieira
Comment #2404 from Daniel Vieira [Reply]

Been using this for a few weeks now.

This is such a great tool that I don’t know how I manged before I discovered it! And it’s free!

Comment left July 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm Permanent Link

Comment #2469 from merdzd [Reply]

The is Option Export Settings in XMl file.
is the way Import Back this file?

Comment left August 3, 2009 at 6:50 am Permanent Link
@Reply #2482 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Not currently, as I understand it the currently exported XML is used mostly for debugging.

Comment left August 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #2498 from Dmitry [Reply]

Big Screen EPG can do that

Comment left August 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm Permanent Link
Comment #2488 from zona [Reply]

not working for me Win 7 32bit, satellite signal (SkyStar 2 + DVBsbridge) + analog signal guide form various XMLTV sources, when I open the soft I get only the channels but no guide data, MC has all the guide data for 7 days

Comment left August 4, 2009 at 1:58 am Permanent Link
@Reply #2489 from Michael Healy [Reply]

You should be able to choose a lineup from the dropdown box to populate the right hand pane. This tool isn’t for editing the actual show metadata but for editing the lineup information and channel settings.

Comment left August 4, 2009 at 8:07 am Permanent Link
Comment #2490 from zona [Reply]

that is the problem I can’t chose the lineup that i’m using (for main soft to merge and import XMLTV to MCE I use Big Screen EPG, i download the data with XMLTV, TVxB, epgstream and form the sat stream (grabbing it from myTheatre))

Comment left August 4, 2009 at 9:23 am Permanent Link
@Reply #2491 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Guide Tool is listing your channel lineup on the left hand side? The right hand pane will only allow you to select guides from Media Center’s default selection of guide listings for an area but will allow you to select OTA, Sat, Analog and Digital regardless of your detected service. I’m afraid you won’t be able to get the listing from an XMLTV type datasource at the moment.

Comment left August 4, 2009 at 10:04 am Permanent Link

Comment #2574 from RitchieTheBrit [Reply]

Well, I contacted the creator, and he confirmed that he knows what the issue is with 64bit, but didn’t comment on how long it would take to materialise.

This looks extremely useful, but from the official forum announcment it seems that from thousands of downloads, the creaor has only received one donation. Guys, if you are 32bit, and like this app, donate!

Comment left August 7, 2009 at 11:27 am Permanent Link

@Reply #2628 from RitchieTheBrit [Reply]

Version 1.1 has been released, with a fix for the 64bit issues. Tested and working here on Win7 RC 7100 x64.

1geek1tool Guide Tool

Now I just need to get to grips with it!

Comment left August 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm Permanent Link

Comment #5225 from Patrick [Reply]

Is it possible to add lineups from a different geographical location?

In the lineup pulldown I only see the lineups from my zipcode. Since I have 2 dvb-s cards I would like to add lineups from different countries.

Comment left December 1, 2009 at 3:39 am Permanent Link

lawrence verspeurt
Comment #22954 from lawrence verspeurt [Reply]

Is there a tool like this for xp?

Comment left November 11, 2010 at 9:33 am Permanent Link

Comment #25971 from Michael [Reply]

I just used GuideTool. Great product, and I have a 64-bit machine so the problem must have been fixed. I just wish there was an “add channel” command adding for times channels are missing from the tuners own listings.

Comment left December 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm Permanent Link

Comment #29565 from MauiJim [Reply]

is it possible to manage the favorite lineup??
Any other tools do that??

Comment left January 14, 2011 at 9:00 am Permanent Link

Comment #29792 from rjdpa [Reply]

has anyone else had a problem with losing access to Internet TV after using GuideTool? I have all of the icons for the internet tv channels but they do nothing. While researching it I came across a note on Microsoft’s site saying that the issue can be caused by third party MCE Guide editors and that uninstalling the editor may not fix the problem. Any suggestions?

Comment left January 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm Permanent Link

Comment #34050 from samba [Reply]

I just installed the Guide Tool. When I try to connect to localhost, it gives error:

“Failed to get WMIS linup: no active regions found”. I’ve OTA analog and digital channels scanned and watchable in WMC 7 64-bit via TV Tuner Card. But I can’t download any Guide data with WMC (reset doesn’t help), despite active region is setup to US, Buffalo zip. And this Guide Tool also doesn’t work – why and how to fix?

Comment left February 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm Permanent Link

Comment #35401 from David [Reply]

I renamed all my channels from dvblink tuner – great
But when I looked on the next day it has reverted back to old names – any ideas ?

Comment left March 13, 2011 at 11:35 am Permanent Link

Comment #47973 from Jim_K [Reply]

Bummer…I get this every time:

Failed to create TV Setup Helper: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it Please make sure that Media Center is started.

Media Center is very much started. Running Win7x64 6.1.7601

Firewall is turned off, no AV.

Comment left September 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm Permanent Link

Eric Jackson
@Reply #121423 from Eric Jackson [Reply]

Same problem. Can’t seem to find anything resembling support. I’ve tried localhost, my pc name, IP address, you name it. I get this same POS error message.

Comment left May 7, 2013 at 12:58 am Permanent Link

@Reply #141829 from Zach [Reply]

The problem here, as I found by booting up my computer and running Guide Tool, is that you have to actually have the WMC closed before opening guide tool. I had the same error popping up, running x64, after opening guide tool, and connecting to my media host, it opens WMC automatically. Hence, it will give you an error if WMC is already running.

Comment left July 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm Permanent Link

Comment #49601 from Anonymous [Reply]

Seems like I remember the address to be:
maybe edit the localhost your going to?

Comment left October 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm Permanent Link

Bad One
Comment #77011 from Bad One [Reply]

At first I did not see the value of this. However, now I have found one use invaluable. For me the most significant feature is being able to assign a channel to guide info, after you have manually added the channel. WMC ironically does not offer this…strange. After manually adding a DTV channel, WMC only has the option of using an existing channels listing, or have it display “no data available”. This tool fills the missing link here, it allows you to actually have a manually added channel linked to it’s real guide information.

Comment left July 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm Permanent Link

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