Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Reprogramming MCE Remote Buttons with Intelliremote

by @ 3:15 pm on September 22nd, 2009 in programs, windows 7 with 29 Comments

intelliremote logo We’ve already covered replacing the built in movie library with a third party plug-in like MediaBrowser or Open Media Library. There are even a handful of solutions to hide the default movie start strip and add our own, such as MC Studio and Mikinhosoft’s Hide Strips program. The one problem that has persisted, however, is that pressing the video button on your MCE remote still takes you to the built in movie library. It’s as if there was nothing we could do to completely eliminate this cockroach like infestation inside our Windows 7 Media Centers. Luckily, with a few quick tweaks and Melloware’s Intelliremote program we can take down this final issue once and for all.

The first thing we’ll need to do is head over and download and install the latest trial version of intelliremote. This latest version fixes some issues that cropped up with Windows 7, so if you’ve got a previous version installed be sure to remove it and upgrade to this version. The trial version can be used for 30 days and the full version will set you back $24. This modest price will is likely worth it for most Media Center enthusiasts simply for the ease of use that Intelliremote provides as well as the fantastic support evident on their forums.

Once Intelliremote is installed we’re going to perform one more quick fix to enable the program to take control of the system once inside Media Center. By default Windows 7 Media Center takes control of the input device and overrides any other program’s preferences once inside the Media Center program. To disable this we need to open up the Services and disable the Human Interface Device Access service.

To do this open Control Panel, System and Security, Administrative Tools and open the Services application. Locate the Human Interface Device Access listing, right-click the entry and select properties. Inside the properties dialog select Disabled under startup type and Stop the service using the Stop button. Press OK to save your changes and exit the properties and Services application.

disable HID

Now let’s open up the Intelliremote program from the programs menu. Then open the Customize options from the system tray icon by double-clicking or right-clicking and selecting Customize. This brings up the options to set the buttons on your MCE remote to perform any action you’d like.

Let’s get started by selecting the Media Center icon on the left then choosing the MCE Videos button from the listing just to the right. Next press the Learn Code button and on your MCE remote press the appropriate button. If Intelliremote has detected the input properly a Success message should appear briefly then close the dialog. Afterward you can establish the action you’d like that button to perform.

learn key

For example if you’d like the MCE Videos button to open MediaBrowser instead of the native movie library choose the application event option and enter the location of the ehshell program, usually “C:\Windows\ehome\ehshell.exe”. Under Params, set the entrypoint parameter by entering “/entrypoint:{ce32c570-4bec-4aeb-ad1d-cf47b91de0b2}\{fc9abccc-36cb-47ac-8bab-03e8ef5f6f22}”. This is the “/entrypoint:” switch followed by the AppID, a slash and the EntryPoint ID. For example, to change the button to run Open Media Library the parameters would be, “/entrypoint:{3f0850a7-0fd7-4cbf-b8dc-c7f7ea31534e}\{1044a023-44cc-401c-a5df-4f58601f1f57}”.

For more information on Media Center Entry Points check out our previous guide!

apply changes

Once you’ve set the application and parameters be sure to press the Apply Change button to commit the changes you’ve made to Intelliremote’s settings. That’s all there is to it! Relaunch Windows 7 Media Center and give it a try. As long as the HID Access service has been disabled you should now have total control over the Media Center remote using the Intelliremote settings. Note: Should you notice any remote buttons stop functioning properly inside Media Center you likely need to use the Learn Code function for that particular button inside Intelliremote.

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29 Comments


DAGr8
Comment #3450 from DAGr8 [Reply]

Am I the only one who thinks paying 25 $ to configure a built in feature of windows doesnt make sense ?

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm Permanent Link

Palmer
@Reply #3451 from Palmer [Reply]

No your not the only one.
24$ is almost half the price of the nmedia RF mouse keyboard combo I just bought.

Having to disable the HID service is also gonna cause issues for my wireless keyboard that came with it.

Seems like a cheap hack for 24$

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3455 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Which built-in function? This replaces the input functionality of the device that is provided by Microsoft which doesn’t allow for any edits to the functions. The default Microsoft function is lacking in this regard and someone has taken the time to create a solution. Asking someone to provide their hard work completely free of charge and support it as well seems somewhat absurd.

Disabling the HID Access service shouldn’t hinder the normal operation of your wireless keyboard and mouse. Mine are still operating happily with the service disabled.

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm Permanent Link

DAGr8
@Reply #3470 from DAGr8 [Reply]

1st of all dont get me wrong here I am greatefull you are taking the time to find solutions to problems and share them with the community.
2nd I never said that someone’s hard work should be provided for free, tho in fact many others are doing it for free .
Lastly my remote doesnt need any drivers it works out of the box and there is an application made for it that allows you to remap each and every key on the remote , not yet compatible with Windows 7 . This is where I got the idea from, that this feature should be built in not extra , whether I think its worth 25 $ or not that is another story …

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 9:16 am Permanent Link
@Reply #3489 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I see what you’re getting at, most basic remotes don’t come with that extra functionality built-in. Though EventGhost and other programs do provide a free program (and I’ll likely cover them as well in the future) I found Intelliremote to be both simpler and faster to get setup at the time.

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 10:55 pm Permanent Link

Derek
Comment #3457 from Derek [Reply]

Thanks for the well-written article. Looking forward to trying this as I configure Windows 7 MC on my new HTPC! I am using the Anyware MCE remote, but I imagine your advice will still apply.

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 9:20 pm Permanent Link

fl0PPsy
Comment #3458 from fl0PPsy [Reply]

Hmmm I’m not sure why I would pay for Intelliremote when Event Ghost can do all this and more for free.

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #3459 from Michael Healy [Reply]

I tried Eventghost and found it to be much more complicated to get setup and running. A quick read through a few of the Intelliremote forums got me up and running in no time. My time is valuable to me so I like things to be as simple as possible.

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 11:31 pm Permanent Link

Palmer
@Reply #3465 from Palmer [Reply]

That’s awesome to know I will try Event Ghost right now :)

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 4:23 am Permanent Link

pablo
Comment #3460 from pablo [Reply]

This will not work with my iMon based VFD which is a shame. Spits out some error about sg_rcu.dll not being found at one point too. Oh well, i’ll continue waiting for an alternative solution.

Comment left September 22, 2009 at 11:41 pm Permanent Link

DAGr8
@Reply #3471 from DAGr8 [Reply]

I was using Imon before and I believe you can do this within Imon manager you can go inside the Mediacenter remote control ‘profile ‘ copy the functions you want , create a new profile and ad those you want instead …

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 9:19 am Permanent Link

pablo
@Reply #3602 from pablo [Reply]

Tried this, but there is no way to edit the entrypoint from what i can find. Any clues?

Comment left September 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm Permanent Link

Palmer
Comment #3466 from Palmer [Reply]

Thanks fl0PPsy I am going to try that right now :)

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 4:23 am Permanent Link

Trav
Comment #3468 from Trav [Reply]

Intelliremote also has a free iphone app which lets control media centre (and other apps) with your phone. its pretty handy when the remote is out of reach. lol

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 4:49 am Permanent Link

incy2k
Comment #3480 from incy2k [Reply]

also going to test this with my imon display

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm Permanent Link
Comment #3482 from Mikinho [Reply]

IntelliRemote is one of the few apps I have paid for, the time spent writing my own was well worth the $24. Great support, lots of features and does it much more elegantly than it’s competitors.

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm Permanent Link

Chris
@Reply #3483 from Chris [Reply]

I agree. This app is worth it if you ask me.
I’m sure there might be a free app or a combo of apps that you can download to get the same result but I’d rather get one app that is quick to setup and be on my way.
Not to mention that when you pay for an app you get better support (most of the time).

Comment left September 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm Permanent Link
Comment #3600 from Melloware [Reply]

First I would like to thank Michael for writing this flattering article about Intelliremote. For those of you that want to use EventGhost that is of course you’re right because it is free. But I have had many EventGhost converts because it is “just too complicated”.

Our motto: “Intelliremote aims to provide an experience similar to owning Apple hardware, Sony TVs and luxury German cars; things just work, they feel right and every now and again you get that “oh, it does that too? awesome!” feeling.”

And like Trav said, our FREE IPhone/iPod Touch app is the icing on the cake for your 24$.

http://melloware.com/products/intelliphone/

Melloware

Comment left September 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm Permanent Link

reeven
Comment #3699 from reeven [Reply]

Salut Melloware and other guys.
My story, i use Girder for long time, but too complicated, you need to make profile for every application you use.
After that i read about Evenghost( does not like this, extremly complicated) IR Server Suite( ok), LM Remote Key( you need to pay for this), and finally i read about Intelliremote and now i stick with Intelliremote.
Profiles are easy to make, when you begin a new profile you have all mce keys in the profile, only need to mapped to your keyboard shorcuts.
Nice work Melloware.

Comment left October 2, 2009 at 7:38 am Permanent Link

reeven
Comment #3700 from reeven [Reply]

IF you use latest Intelliremote version you do not need to TOUCH of registries, application do that.
Just install and set your remote.
HID Services is ON, you do not need to turn it OFF for Intelliremote.

Comment left October 2, 2009 at 7:43 am Permanent Link

jebise
Comment #3719 from jebise [Reply]

What i want to know is can this app be used to change how the rewind/forward buttons do. Right now on my MCE those buttons do not do anything and i have to use the skip button to skip through the video but get annoying if you hold it to long and it skips the entire movie.

So can you use Intelliremote to add support for rewinding and fast forwarding files like avi/divx?

Comment left October 3, 2009 at 1:56 am Permanent Link

reeven
Comment #3802 from reeven [Reply]

Yes jebise , you could mapped fast forward and rewind in Intelliremote for MCE and is working ok avi, mpg, dvd, etc.

Comment left October 5, 2009 at 9:32 am Permanent Link

simon
Comment #3874 from simon [Reply]

Does this work with remotes that simply send keyboard shortcuts? In Win7, with my remote, the skip forward/backward buttons don’t work, so I used a reg hack to remap the “f” key to “Media: Skip Forward” etc. This worked but had the additional problem that fast-forward and rewind now do the same thing as the skip keys. Would Intelliremote help in this circumstance?

Comment left October 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm Permanent Link

hdjunkie
Comment #3918 from hdjunkie [Reply]

nice post. I’ve wanted a button on my remote to open mymovies for the longest time, and so far it works. It did mess up a lot of the other functions, but I’m sure I’ll figure that out later.

Comment left October 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm Permanent Link

slacker
Comment #3992 from slacker [Reply]

I’m curious for people who have tried this. When using intelleremote, do the following things still work in W7MC:

- 10key text entry using remote number pads (for example in search dialogs)

- Media Center IR Keyboard/Mouse

Thanks!
-james

Comment left October 14, 2009 at 11:38 am Permanent Link
@Reply #4108 from Melloware [Reply]

Slacker, To answer your questions:

1. No the ABC Text Entry in MCE is lost when you use Intelliremote. We have a slight workaround called “TripleTapKeys” in Intelliremote that tries to emulate the T9 functionality of cell phone keypads.

2. It does not affect your IR keyboard or Mouse.

Comment left October 20, 2009 at 6:37 pm Permanent Link

Tester
Comment #4612 from Tester [Reply]

Can I use this software to power my TV and to reassign my MCE Remote Volume keys so that it controls the TV volume instead of MCE ?

Comment left November 7, 2009 at 12:33 am Permanent Link

Mike S
Comment #6716 from Mike S [Reply]

Many strange results of playing around with this program. The most irritating is the loss of the ability to ‘rapid fire’ a button with any precision, making the remote feel clumsy.

Say you want to skip through a whole lot of songs to find your favourite, is either dulled to 2 songs per second, or elevated to 3 items per tap of the arrow keys… which makes it insanely possible to select items for me.

I played around with a number of setting which seemed to increase/decrease the response timing in m/s but it was either overkill/underkill.. either way it made the app unusable for me.

Hope it works well for everyone else out there!

Comment left January 17, 2010 at 9:02 am Permanent Link

Blu3Jymm
Comment #77494 from Blu3Jymm [Reply]

Anyone Heard of EventGhost?
Free, open source and highly configurable.

I cannot recommend it too highly.

Comment left August 1, 2012 at 5:48 am Permanent Link

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