Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Clearing Guide Data and Tuner Setup from Windows 7 Media Center

by @ 9:15 am on September 1st, 2009 in tv listings with 59 Comments

HDD-Windows There may come a time when you need to completely erase the history of your downloaded guide data and tuner setup. Something may have gone wrong with your setup, tuners may have changed or maybe you’re just looking to clean house a little. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to require a complete reinstall of Windows 7, the process is in fact quite easy. Windows 7 Media Center stores all the information we need to clear inside database files stored inside the ProgramData folder. However, we’ll need to close a few background services before we’re able to clear the files from the drive.

To get started open up Task Manager. You can either enter “task manager” under the start menu and select the first listing to “View running processes with Task Manager” or use the old standby of pressing ctrl-alt-delete and selecting Task Manager. Once inside the Task Manager select the Services tab and press the Services button.

services tab

Now locate the Services associated with Windows 7 Media Center then right click each one and select the option to Stop the service. You can also select the service then press the Stop link on the left hand side of the Services pane.


Once you’ve stopped both Media Center services return to the Task Manager window and open up the Processes tab. Here you’ll want to press the button to Show processes from all users. There are a number of processes that may or may not be running that will prevent you from deleting the guide database. Locate any running processes marked as part of the Media Center process such as the Receiver and Scheduler service as well as the In-band Guide Loader. Each of these processes will need to be terminated by pressing the End Process button before we can delete the existing database.

task manager

Now that we’re certain that no remaining Media Center processes are locking down access to the database we can finally open up Windows Explorer and locate the files we need to clear. Inside Windows Explorer navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome.

program data

Inside the ehome folder you’ll see a .db file as well as a folder marked mcepgX-X-X, these are the files that need to be cleared in order to reset our TV setup and guide data from Media Center. Now that the Media Center processes have been stopped you should be able to delete the .db file as well as the folder and it’s contents to reset your TV setup to it’s original state.

After deleting the files we’ll want to restart the machine to ensure that all of the appropriate Media Center services are restarted. Afterward, open Media Center and enter the Setup Live TV option from the TV start menu.

That’s all there is to it! Windows 7 Media Center has been restored to the original Live TV guide settings and you can start fresh. Be sure to bookmark Hack7MC as well to find all the tips and information you need for your Windows 7 Media Center!


Comment #3009 from Ritchie [Reply]

I used the Guide Tool to clear the program data from media center, and I THINK media center reset the tuners as well when I restarted MC. Worth a try, see if it’s the same.

Simply select all the channels in the left pain, right click, and select delete.

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3019 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Would be nice to see a simple button included in Guide Tool to completely clear the old data.

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 9:10 pm Permanent Link

paula garfield
@Reply #24010 from paula garfield [Reply]

look..my media center comes on when I hit internet explorer and says…windows media center has stopped workn…cant get on internet unless I type internet explorer in search box…then right click then open file location…then I click on iexplore n my internet boots..n im online….that’s how it makes or allows me to sign on.. how do I repair this so I can just click on internet explorer n it opens web page from there? I installed the beta…big mistake n followed instructions to uninstall…went into installed updates n removed internet beta…when I did that, it uninstalled whatever it was that ran my media center….which loaded my internet…
ill try this but hundreds of people r having same issue…im not a computer tech…wish u could explain it in reg people terms…jeez….

Comment left November 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3012 from Anonymous [Reply]

This would have (possibly) saved me from a fresh install this last weekend!.. Was adding an additional dual ATSC tuner (from 2 to 4) and had nothing but problems. Ended up breaking all tuners and only getting an error stating a critical error has occurred after tuner setup.
Fresh install fixed it all, but VERY annoying just to add a damn tuner!! (Also was the EXACT same model tuner as the one before that was working fine….Frustrating!).
Thanks for this, but I HOPE I never will need it now =P

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3018 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I was having trouble with the guide data after using Big Screen EPG recently. Hopefully this saves some people a lot of trouble going through a complete reinstall.

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 9:09 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3015 from dgaust [Reply]

The above post is not the ideal way to reset your database. Microsoft include a proper method for doing it.

Easiest way is to reset the database is to manually run the MCERecoveryTask located in Task Scheduler -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Media Centre.

Or from an elevated command prompt and run
mcupdate -MediaCenterRecoveryTask

Make sure you’ve quit mediacentre before you run these though.

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 6:32 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3017 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I can’t find any documentation on what this mcupdate switch performs, do you have a link to further information on it?

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3020 from dgaust [Reply]

It’s undocumented as far as I am aware, however it was provided by Mike Hayton from the eHome team as the way you should reset the TV database.

It does the job, and sets the TV stuff back to a virgin state, so you have to run the TV setup again.

There was a bug in RC with x64 that could cause a problem, but the workaround was to run the Task manually from the Task Scheduler.

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 10:10 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3021 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Interesting, is it necessary to shutdown the Media Center services such as the receiver and scheduler as well before running?

Comment left September 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3023 from dgaust [Reply]

No, just close Windows Mediacenter if it’s open. That’s it.

Comment left September 2, 2009 at 1:04 am Permanent Link

Comment #3046 from mikehayton [Reply]

Yes – close media center and then run the MediaCenterRecoveryTask from the task scheduler (i.e. right click on it and choose Run). Dont do the run from elevated. Im pretty sure it needs the System account to run.

After its run, check that all the %programdata%\microsoft\ehome\mcepg*.db files are deleted.

Comment left September 2, 2009 at 11:59 pm Permanent Link

Comment #3054 from Billy [Reply]

I was wondering is there a way to edit or delete the built in guide categories as mine do not seem to of any use and I cant see a way within media center?

Comment left September 3, 2009 at 4:43 am Permanent Link

Comment #3055 from d0n3 [Reply]

Can we change the record format .wtv? I would like to record with .ts (MPEG2 or H264). Is it possible?

Comment left September 3, 2009 at 7:08 am Permanent Link
@Reply #3059 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I’m afraid that’s not possible due to DRM issues. Windows 7 requires that all TV be recorded as WTV.

Comment left September 3, 2009 at 8:30 am Permanent Link

Comment #3829 from Johan [Reply]

After a first setup of tuner and channels, could I just copy the C:\ProgramData\MS\Ehome folder or those mcepg files and folder, to a safe place and when channeldata gets corrupted, channels are no longer in order or you get duplicated channels, I could stop all MCE services and replace the faulty mcepg files and folder with the “first” one I copied, and it would be as new again?

Comment left October 6, 2009 at 4:48 pm Permanent Link

Comment #4290 from simspot [Reply]

I have multiple 7MCs in my house and was wondering if I could copy the mcepgX-X-X folder to the other machines after setting it up the first time. Anyone ever try this?

Comment left October 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm Permanent Link

Comment #6471 from Anonymous [Reply]


And, once again, THANK YOU!!!

Comment left January 9, 2010 at 1:57 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7502 from doug [Reply]

After trying everything under the sun here’s what worked for me:

Check your computers clock and make sure it is up to date, if not (which is likely) synch it to the internet time server. Apparently the problem is due to some security issue which is either related to the clock being out of synch or uses the same mechanism. In any case, if you can synch your clock to the internet time server you’ll likely notice that your channel guide will start downloading again.


Comment left February 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm Permanent Link

Comment #7536 from SAM [Reply]

Make sure you have the right date. Media Center won’t download in windows 7 if you dont’ have the right date. I had a date 2 months ahead of the actual date and I tried and tried to update. Wasted 10 hours on trying to figure it out… check the date….

Comment left February 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm Permanent Link

Comment #8619 from pat [Reply]

Thanks very much for this, took awhile to find this site, but it fixed my issue when every other thing to try i found failed. Again, thanks!

Comment left March 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm Permanent Link
Comment #9024 from Chris Putnam [Reply]

Worked!!! Thanks so much. After a motherboard replacement two tuners were configured (only one card) and wouldn’t work until I followed your instructions.

Comment left April 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm Permanent Link
Comment #10615 from Kevin Lillard [Reply]

Sorry, but this so-called “solution” — and all other alleged solutions for Windows Media Player — just does not work. It’s a total failure. For a couple of days, I’ve been trying to set up WMP with a TV tuner. Everything fails. It fails at “downloading TV setup data.” Then it fails with the “encountered a serious error”{ message for which there is no explanation, here or anywhere else. You’d be better warning people to avoid WMP rather than giving them the impression that problems with the program can be “solved.”

Comment left May 5, 2010 at 1:18 am Permanent Link
@Reply #10628 from Michael Healy [Reply]

It sounds as though you mean Windows Media Center not WMP. It also sounds as though you’ve likely had a corrupt installation or a hardware problem to cause a serious error during the downloading of setup data since this is just a matter of retrieving data from a Microsoft data center and creating an SQL database to store it. You’ve likely got a corrupt Windows 7 or SQL database installation.

Having run Windows 7 Media Center as my main family room entertainment system since the early beta late last year without incident, I won’t be advising anyone against using it either.

Comment left May 5, 2010 at 8:01 am Permanent Link

@Reply #12833 from Creagan [Reply]

@ Kevin Lillard – Add Windows Features – Untick Win Media Cmtr and restart – then add it back?

Comment left June 11, 2010 at 6:58 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #81773 from Das [Reply]

This was the only thing that worked for me thanks so much !

Comment left September 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm Permanent Link

Comment #10901 from Anonymous [Reply]

You rock, saved all problems with channels and program guide.

Comment left May 11, 2010 at 11:14 pm Permanent Link

Comment #12836 from BK [Reply]

This worked great, just follow the instructions, and resets the settings of MWC back to ‘default’, same as doing a “fresh Install”, restart WMC and go through setup processes and everything should work (did for me). Was considering a re-install ’til I found this. GREAT info.

Comment left June 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm Permanent Link
Comment #13643 from thesaint [Reply]

I tried to follow the instructions but could not. Within the Task Manager only 2 files referred to WMC. (The Receiver Service, which I stopped and the Scheduler Service which was already stopped. In case there was no further items to stop I tried to go to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome (using Windows Explorer). There is no reference to “ProgramData”. I did check out the Program Files Microsoft but none has ehome!

Comment left July 9, 2010 at 10:51 am Permanent Link

Comment #14598 from mike [Reply]

Unfortunately, this did not work for me. Suddenly, I could my two Haupauge 2250 tuners both stop receving channels. I followed this process to resetup the tuner, but the scan says no channels found. I know they’re there because when move the cable from the tuners to the TV, the channels show up on the TV. Like I said, it just stopped working one day and I can’t get it working again.

Comment left August 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm Permanent Link

Comment #17118 from grantndub [Reply]

So awesome, I was trying to add a second tuner card when it all went bad. I stumbled upon this fix from thegreenbutton.com http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/p/80481/399594.aspx#399594
Now everything works as it should withthe extra tuner installed, Thank you. I didn’t want to do a complete install.

Comment left September 12, 2010 at 11:29 am Permanent Link
Comment #17161 from James [Reply]

Thanks so much this fixed my issue! I had issues for days and this resolved my issue within 15 min!

Comment left September 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm Permanent Link

Comment #19104 from ThisSiteROCKS [Reply]

Wow! This procedure actually solved a major problem for me that sprung up out of the blue. :)

One night, a scheduled recording failed to record a digital tuner channel, saying service not available. I checked the channel later, and it really was. Thinking it was just the particular channel’s network, I let it goes a few days, but it never came back. When I tried some other digital tuner channels, same deal, it was like they disappeared (would tune but say service unavailable). But not all of them were gone.

So I did a channel re-scan, clearing the list of 28 digital tuner channels I had, and it would now only pick up 12, completely missing the major local networks (and this is on ClearQAM cable). hmmm, cable company problem??

So then I decide to set up all the tuners again, being a digital tuner and an analog tuner (s-video from set-top box). But WMC refused to add both saying “serious problem” crap! I could add just the digital tuner alone, or just the analog tuner alone, but not both like I had before!!

I thought OK, maybe the digital tuner on the card went bad or something. So I pop in a 2nd tv card, and try adding the analog tuner from one and the digital tuner from the other, and WMC still says “serious problem.”

So naturally I went nuts trying to fix this. LOL Searched high and low for something to “fix.” And finally landed on this site with the stated procedure, and voila, holy cow, it works now! Thanks much.

Comment left October 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm Permanent Link

paula garfield
Comment #24011 from paula garfield [Reply]

i dont have any of those listed in regards to clearing that…..ehmexec however i have* iexec explore32 listed 3x under processes….look..my media center comes on when I hit internet explorer and says…windows media center has stopped workn…cant get on internet unless I type internet explorer in search box…then right click then open file location…then I click on iexplore n my internet boots..n im online….that’s how it makes or allows me to sign on.. how do I repair this so I can just click on internet explorer n it opens web page from there? I installed the beta…big mistake n followed instructions to uninstall…went into installed updates n removed internet beta…when I did that, it uninstalled whatever it was that ran my media center….which loaded my internet…

Comment left November 24, 2010 at 12:11 am Permanent Link

Comment #35065 from kak [Reply]

Holy crap, this worked great!
apparently if I have a internet connection to computer while its setting up (and is allowed to download crap) the WMC will state that there is no signal all the time. now its great. Thanks
tv wonder usb 600 on win7x64

Comment left March 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm Permanent Link

Comment #47289 from Pj [Reply]

I gotta ask, but with either method, I assume all my recordings will stay intact and not be deleted?

I have a strange problem where one of my analog channels will show up, yet there it is on my TV and Philips recording unit.

I tried playing around with ‘Edit Sources’ but that channel (which was there before I redid channel scanning) will not come back in either tuner 1 or 2.


Comment left September 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #47292 from Pj [Reply]


“…where one of my analog channels will NOT show up…”

Comment left September 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm Permanent Link

Comment #56218 from ZK [Reply]

This did not work for me or it is out of date. None of the processes you list are there. I was unsure whether to delete the db files anyway. I did find another way to setup the TV signal though it is buried in the Windows Media interface.

Comment left December 31, 2011 at 6:52 pm Permanent Link
Comment #65083 from Alex Ward [Reply]

Thank you very much – really needed to clear up Media Center!

Comment left March 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #66809 from jeff [Reply]

all has failes I have the exact same problem as the original post same exact thing. I like Linux more and more every day

Comment left March 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #66829 from JEFF [Reply]

have tried to enter the channel’s manually, even put a another hard drive in to do a fresh install, it still has failed Microsoft is very aware of this problem and fails to do nothing about! So i put the original hard drive in that was a triple boot OS XP windows & and linux . I’m no dummy when it comes to PC’s in fact I repair them for a living. This is a straight out Microsoft problem. But I guess the only help you get is when they will release Blindows 8. They have not released one up date to WMC in W& since it was created do I need to say more….

Comment left March 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm Permanent Link

Comment #66830 from JEFF [Reply]

I have removed the WMC features from my system and soon to do so with windows period …

Comment left March 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm Permanent Link

Comment #69791 from Ted [Reply]

No Dice.. I have tried everything and still cannot get it to pull the guide. There must be another setting with in the computer causing this problem.. I have put a tv turner car in different computer and that works just fine so i know its not the cable service. I really dont want to do a full format of this computer.

Comment left April 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm Permanent Link

Comment #72144 from Anonymous [Reply]

didn’t have to stop any process. it let me delete the files. still had to go through tv setup, which is a pain in the butt. all guides back, thanks

Comment left May 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #72145 from Anonymous [Reply]

by the way ,,,,,, this happens to me about every 3 months…. win 7 32 bit

Comment left May 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm Permanent Link

Comment #74455 from Anthony [Reply]

I don’t understand the bashing of Windows. I’ve run WMC since XP and had limited problems. I recently added a USB tuner and it worked, but then I disconnected it. I plugged it back in and ever sense then.

a) I can’t set this tuner up without it crashing Windows

b) Windows sees it, the drivers but WMC can’t install it.

I will try this but its likely I need to remove all the drivers and .dll files, clean it all up and then put the drivers on, signal booster and then plug-in the USB tuner, should be fine.

If not I’ll reset the entire thing. At first it saw all three tuners (1 Analog, 2 ATSC). But since that problem and moving antenna connections from the hybrid Analog/Digital tuner (since I only use the Analog section) and put it on the USB, WMC digital signal meter says “Uknown” under all the channels I view with the Vbox tuner. When you look under what tuners it finds during setup, it see the Analog tuner and Digital tuner on the hybrid and on the VBox, but not the PCTV despite the tuners being connected and antenna being connected.

Just a Windows issue. Linux doesn’t support DRM, not an issue if you watch all your TV OTA, but they copy flag NFL, NBA and MLB games. They’ll copy flag the upcoming London Games, so moving to Linux is not perfect either.

I recommend -

When first working with Windows, do a complete install, set it up and then make an image with your favorite software.

Save that, any problems that come up, instead of spending hours trying to solve it, just put the the image back on your drive.

Comment left June 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #74575 from Kron [Reply]

I’ve been searching this region changing problem for a week with no luck. Went on Microsoft’s own Support site. Asked question and their own tech help assumed I was trying to hack something, instead of simply delete cache and backup files for the wrong region. Microsoft was anything but helpful!

Simply added hack to my search terms plus Windows Media Center, and here I am. I have Windows 8 Preview. I thought I was going to have to reinstall it all over again. This site saved my day!!! ….Thanks a bunch!!!

For anyone else with Win8, you’ll only have to change a few things to make this fix work for you too. Delete the mcepgXXX.db as instructed above. You can either delete the whole mcepg folder or open up each sub folder and delete backup files, etc. This will indeed delete Internet TV guide and region can now be reset. Do only what’s listed above and Media Center will work again!!! …..whewww… so relieved!!!

Comment left June 27, 2012 at 2:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #82112 from aem [Reply]

Syncing my pc clock to with internet time server fixed my epg download issue

Comment left September 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm Permanent Link

Comment #94524 from SIObserver [Reply]

Your guide to resetting the TV Guide and TV Tuner worked like a champ. Most impressive.


Comment left December 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm Permanent Link

Comment #94805 from mcben47 [Reply]

Thank you for your instructions which I followed and fixed my dual USB Hauppage DVB-T failing to find any channels when scanning here in Tasmania Australia (Free to air Digital).
One thing I did notice was rather than one folder and database, I had 6 labelled 0-xx thru 5-xx with timestamps over the 3 year period that my little atom based Viewsonic VOT132 has being serving me well – with the occasional need to rescan as more channels were added by the network. I deleted all 6 and all is well.

Comment left December 15, 2012 at 1:53 am Permanent Link
Comment #95040 from Kassandra [Reply]

Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest
of the site is really good.

Comment left December 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm Permanent Link
Comment #99445 from Ian [Reply]

Hi, I’m not too certain that the MCERecovery task is the ‘best’ way to reset your tv.
I have just used that method and yes it did take me through the TV signal setup again I noticed that it worked a little too quickly.

It seems that channels I had previously ‘unticked’ in guidetool weren’t added back in MC after the reset and I had to do a full satellite or transponder scan to actually add back ALL of the channels.

It seems MC or Windows still had some kind of record or list of selective channels.

Comment left January 14, 2013 at 6:31 am Permanent Link

Comment #113650 from Cain [Reply]

This fix did not work for me unfortunately. After going through all the steps, when I tried to re-enable WMC, I was prompted with an error and couldn’t re-enable it. Luckily I had a recent system restore.

Comment left March 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm Permanent Link

Adrian Shiel
Comment #116490 from Adrian Shiel [Reply]

30 seconds after posting I noticed it was ICETV that was keeping it locked. Managed to delete BUT MCE still lists my Leadtek Dual Tuner as AF9015 1 and 2. Doesn’t find a signal though.
I know from past experience I did something to correct this but for the life of me I can’t remember what.

Comment left April 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm Permanent Link

Comment #118457 from Rob [Reply]

Thanks. Solved my tuning in channels problem.

Comment left April 22, 2013 at 3:52 am Permanent Link

Comment #123298 from christian [Reply]

I tried this, and it set media center to the virgin set up state, but the download still is not working. The time and date are set to sync with the internet too. Any other options??

Comment left May 16, 2013 at 11:22 am Permanent Link

Comment #123305 from Christian [Reply]

Nevermind, I tried the task scheduler reset and it worked. But the picture when I watch live TV has white lines across the pictures and it’s very fuzzy. I have digital cable and the coaxial is plugged directly to my computer. When I plug the same coaxial into a TV it works okay but on my computer there are white/grainy lines across the screen. Anyone else have this problem?

Comment left May 16, 2013 at 11:51 am Permanent Link

Comment #290401 from Matt [Reply]

Seriously thank you! Worked like magic.

Comment left October 3, 2013 at 6:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #332324 from Jay [Reply]

I’ve been without my guide for almost a year and didn’t want to mess with it for fear of making things worse. Last week followed a couple of suggestions I found online, but as I was afraid of, I actually ended up losing my live TV. After several attempts to figure things out I found this post. Low and behold I have my guide and my live TV.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Comment left November 26, 2013 at 12:11 am Permanent Link

Comment #469600 from John [Reply]

Thank you! This has been frustrating me for weeks. Your suggestion took less than five minutes and worked!

Seriously, thanks.

Comment left April 7, 2014 at 9:20 am Permanent Link

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