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7.  Change The W7MC Background.

One of the most obvious changes you’ll notice through this series is the changes in the background W7MC displays.

Rich has made a huge collection of wallpapers.  Have a browse through them and pick a new wallpaper for your media center.

Go here to convert jpg into png.

4 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Here’s how it’s done.

First up you’ll need to take ownership of ehres.dll located @ C:\Windows\ehome

Make a copy of ehres.dll on the desktop and name it ehres BACKUP.dll

Open up ehres.dll in restorator 2007, in the left pane navigate to RCData\COMMON.ANIMATED.BACKGROUND.PNG

This is the default background that’s shown in W7MC.

Right click on COMMON.ANIMATED.BACKGROUND.PNG and go to extract…>extract as “COMMON.ANIMATED.BACKGROUND.PNG”

2 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Save the .png to the desktop and name it common.animated.background.png

Right click common.animated.background.png again, but this time go to Assign…>Assign To…

3 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Choose your preferred background which must be .png any resolution should be OK.

Save ehres.dll and close restorator.

Be sure to create a WMC backup folder and store the unmodified ehres.dll and the original W7MC background safely.

8.  Speed up The Waterfall Effect Background When Playing Music

28 07 200900 31 18 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)


Those of you who installed Windows 7 builds prior the the RC may have noticed that the ‘Waterfall effect’ background was a lot quicker than it is now.  You can change the speed to your liking with this guide!

Open up ehres.dll (C:\Windows\ehome) in restorator. In the left hand pane navigate to the html folder, expand it and find a file called albumartbackground.xml – Drag this file to your Desktop

2 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Minimize restorator and call up XML Notepad. Now, drag the albumartbackground.xml file into XML Notepad.

3 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

In the left hand pane navigate to the first UI folder, then the Locals folder and finally, and finally, the second Timer folder. The default timer will be set to 2000, if you want the ‘waterfall’ to be twice as fast set it to 1000 etc. I have mine set to 150 for a resolution of 1440×900 and it works beautifully.

Please note, if you try and make the animation too fast, it won’t render correctly. 75 is the lowest i’ve managed to get it, but i wouldn’t advise it. 150-200 should be fine for 1440×900.

4 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

When you have your preferred speed save the file in XML notepad, minimize XML notepad, call back restorator and drag albumartbackground.xml file back to where it was. Save ehres.dll in restorator.  Delete the XML file from the desktop.

Open up WMC and play an album to be sure it renders correctly. If it’s too slow decrease the number, if it fails, set it to 500 (should be safe) and try again. Remember the default is 2000.

It sounds complicated but it isn’t. Read the instructions a couple of times or have this snapped to one side whilst you work on it.

9.  Get Email In W7MC

If you find you spend a lot of time in W7MC but need to check your emails regularly, this will prove to be invaluable to you.

For the purpose of this tutorial i’ll be using Hotmail/Live POP settings. Please check your POP settings with your email provider.

Be sure to hit Apply at each stage otherwise you’ll lose your settings

Open up OABSoftware Email and you’ll be presented with this screen. Set your general settings, Apply and hit the new user icon

1 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Enter the name you want to be displayed in W7MC, choose your avatar, click Apply. Hit the Add a new account for receiving E-Mail button.

2 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Enter your POP settings, and login credentials on the right hand side (The settings shown are for Hotmail & Live Email accounts). Again, hit Apply. You’ll know that the account has been created successfully because the (new account) label will be changed to your incoming mail server name (pop3.live.com).

3 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

4 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

Exit the configuration wizard and open up W7MC, navigate to the Extras strip, click on the Email icon and you’re good!

5 1 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

6 1 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)

7 Customise Windows 7 Media Center (Part 3)



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  • Chris

    But what ACTUAL background did you use? i know i can use anything i like, but i actually prefer the one you have!!!

    I cant find it :(

  • Chris

    But what ACTUAL background did you use? i know i can use anything i like, but i actually prefer the one you have!!!

    I cant find it :(

  • Chris

    What actual background did you use here tho:

    http://mintywhite.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/1.png

  • Chris

    What actual background did you use here tho:

    http://mintywhite.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/1.png

  • Chris

    What actual background did you use here tho:

    http://mintywhite.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/1.png

  • Chris

    What actual background did you use here tho:

    http://mintywhite.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/1.png

  • Peder RS

    Thank you for these very cool guides, the only thing i need now is the wallpaper Chris is talking about. Could you please tell us where to find it?

  • Peder RS

    Thank you for these very cool guides, the only thing i need now is the wallpaper Chris is talking about. Could you please tell us where to find it?

  • Peder RS

    Thank you for these very cool guides, the only thing i need now is the wallpaper Chris is talking about. Could you please tell us where to find it?

  • RSVR85

    @ Chris & Peder RS
    I can’t remember where i downloaded it from. Try deviantart.com. That’s the most likely place i’d have found it :)
    Sorry.

  • RSVR85

    @ Chris & Peder RS
    I can’t remember where i downloaded it from. Try deviantart.com. That’s the most likely place i’d have found it :)
    Sorry.

  • RSVR85

    @ Chris & Peder RS
    I can’t remember where i downloaded it from. Try deviantart.com. That’s the most likely place i’d have found it :)
    Sorry.

  • Marcus

    Great guide thanks alot! One question though, how did you set up media browser for the 2nd screen shot you posted in part1 of this guide. Media browser appears to show the movies icon with a short synopsis and icon for the most recently added movie. Thanks in advance!

  • Marcus

    Great guide thanks alot! One question though, how did you set up media browser for the 2nd screen shot you posted in part1 of this guide. Media browser appears to show the movies icon with a short synopsis and icon for the most recently added movie. Thanks in advance!

  • Marcus

    Great guide thanks alot! One question though, how did you set up media browser for the 2nd screen shot you posted in part1 of this guide. Media browser appears to show the movies icon with a short synopsis and icon for the most recently added movie. Thanks in advance!

  • Chris

    I’m guessing you would be worried about copyright issues if you uploaded the png you made here?

  • Chris

    I’m guessing you would be worried about copyright issues if you uploaded the png you made here?

  • Chris

    I’m guessing you would be worried about copyright issues if you uploaded the png you made here?

  • Chris

    I’m guessing you would be worried about copyright issues if you uploaded the png you made here?

  • Chris

    WOO HOO!!!

    ok you have NO IDEA how much google searching it took to find this. its by an artist called James white (http://www.signalnoise.com/)

    freely downloadable from here (you obviously want the versions WITHOUT the calendar on them!)

    http://allsizewallpapers.blogspot.com/2008/08/august-calendar-wallpaper.html

  • Chris

    WOO HOO!!!

    ok you have NO IDEA how much google searching it took to find this. its by an artist called James white (http://www.signalnoise.com/)

    freely downloadable from here (you obviously want the versions WITHOUT the calendar on them!)

    http://allsizewallpapers.blogspot.com/2008/08/august-calendar-wallpaper.html

  • Chris

    I’m guessing you would be worried about copyright issues if you uploaded the png you made here?

  • Chris

    WOO HOO!!!

    ok you have NO IDEA how much google searching it took to find this. its by an artist called James white (http://www.signalnoise.com/)

    freely downloadable from here (you obviously want the versions WITHOUT the calendar on them!)

    http://allsizewallpapers.blogspot.com/2008/08/august-calendar-wallpaper.html

  • Rich

    Thanks Chris!!

  • Rich

    Thanks Chris!!

  • Rich

    Thanks Chris!!

  • RSVR85

    Nicely done Chris, thanks!

  • RSVR85

    Nicely done Chris, thanks!

  • RSVR85

    Nicely done Chris, thanks!

  • RSVR85

    Nicely done Chris, thanks!


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