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10.  Speed Up Media Browser Using USB Flash Drive

I have quite a large movie collection, and find that MB can take a while to load all of the DVD covers & backdrops for the entire library.

Using a USB Flash Drive should eliminate this problem as they’re generally a lot quicker than your hard drive, anything that’s good enough for ‘ReadyBoost’ should suffice for this.  You should see a big improvement immediately.

Start by formatting your USB Flash Drive to FAT32.

You need to make sure that Hidden Files & Folders are set to show.

Then navigate to C:\ProgramData

Cut or Copy the MediaBrowser folder to your Flash Drive.

Delete MediaBrowser from C:\ProgramData if you copied.

Open a command prompt (WinKey+R > cmd) and type these commands in;

cd C:\ProgramData (Change the drive letter to yours, hit enter, this just changes the directory).

mklink /j MediaBrowser X:\MediaBrowser (Change X to your Flash drive and hit enter.  This creates a virtual junction between ProgramData and your flash drive).

05-09-2009 20-09-29-640x480

You’ll see a message after it’s finished; Junction created for MediaBrowser <<===>> X:\MediaBrowser

Close the command prompt.

If you navigate back to C:\ProgramData you’ll see that a MediaBrowser folder is present with a shortcut overlay arrow on it.  Don’t delete this folder.

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That’s you finished!

11.  Use Custom Switches to open W7MC

If you want it to open straight into your Music library, or even the radio & without the startup animation. All you have to do is add a switch to the target of WMC’s shortcut.
I’ll explain;

If you have WMC pinned like i do, you need to right click the shortcut on the taskbar, right click on ‘Windows Media Center’ and select ‘Properties’.

1

This example will start-up WMC without the start-up animation.

In the target field you’ll need to add your switch. %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe should be there at all times. Succeed that with a space and /nostartupanimation. Hit Apply open WMC to check the changes.

2

You can add more than one switch too, if you want to start-up WMC without the animation and straight in your music library, you’d need to type;

%windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /nostartupanimation /homepage:MusicBrowsePage.xml /PushStartPage:True

Respectively, if you wanted to start WMC without the start-up animation, in ‘Media Only Mode’ and straight into your picture library you would type in;

%windir%\ehome\eshell.exe /mediamode /nostartupanimation /homepage:PhotosBrowsePage.xml /PushStartPage:True


Here’s a list of some switches.  If you guys know any more let me know in the comments and I’ll add them.

It’s a good idea to add the bold items first in your cutom switch if you intend on using more than one.

/nostartupanimation – No start-up animation!

/mediamode – Starts in ‘Media only Mode’

/noshutdownui – removes the shutdown item from Tasks

/widescreen – force widescreen mode

/playallmusic – Play all music at startup

/playfavmusic – Play favorite music at startup

/playfavslideshow – Play favorite slideshow at startup

/playfavslideshowwithmusic – Same as above with music

/playslideshow – Play all slideshows

/playslideshowwithmusic – Same as above with music

/screensaver – Start media center in screensaver mode

——————————————————————————

/homepage:VideoFullscreen.xml /PushStartPage:True – Live TV

/homepage:VideoGuide.xml /PushStartPage:True – TV Guide

/homepage:RecordedTV.BrowsePage.xml /PushStartPage:True – Recorded TV

/homepage:VideoToBeRecorded.xml /PushStartPage:True – Scheduled Recordings

/homepage:Radio.BrowsePage.xml /PushStartPage:True – Radio

/homepage:Radio.xml – FM Radio

/homepage:MusicBrowsePage.xml /PushStartPage:True – Music Library

12.  Use StarkCovers to Jazz Up Your DVD Covers

5

This step has changed slightly since Part 1.  You’ll need to download StarkCovers (SC) & StarkCovers GUI Tool (SCGUI).

This guide is a little long winded but these tools really give the finishing touch to any media center.  You can add covers you created yourself too!

SCGUI enables you to preview the covers before you apply the changes.  It’s a work in progress and the current build is broken and won’t change anything…we’re going to simply use it to preview the covers and to extract a command line.

To get started, extract both StarkCovers downloads to the same folder.

Double Click & run StarkCoversGUI.exe

On the left and side you’ll have all of your options.  Click on Preview Cover.

You’ll be asked if you want to create a sample folder.  Accept the request.  Once the sample folder has been created, you’ll be asked to download sample files.  Again accept the request.

1

2

You’ll notice the Sample folder has been created in your SC folder.

3

Have a play around with the settings and click on Preview Cover until you find one that you like.

Specify the location of the covers you want to change in the Movie Location box.  Once you’re sure of all your settings click on Make .BAT and save the BAT to desktop.

4

Once we have our BAT on the desktop we can close SCGUI.

Go back to your SC folder, right click on StarkCovers.bat and choose Edit

5

Do the same thing for the BAT file you just saved to your desktop.  You’ll now have 2 notepad documents open.

Copy the line from the Desktop .BAT file and paste  into StarkCovers.bat on the very bottom line.

6

Save StarkCovers.bat.  Close down both documents.

Double click on Starkcovers to execute it.  A command prompt will open and ask for you to press a key to continue.

All of the folder.jpg files in the location you specified will now be processed and changed.

7

You can add more than 1 command to the batch file too.  Just put your new command on the last line and proceed as normal.  If you find you don’t like the new changes, don’t panic!  Edit the batch file again an at the end of the location type -revertjpg. Save the file and run it again. All of the changes will be reverted.

8

In your movie folder, you’ll notice that a new image has been created called folderbkp. This is the image used to revert your covers incase you don’t like them.  Don’t delete folderbkp.


That finishes the Customise Windows 7 Media Center series for now.

I hope you’ve found this series useful and you’ve had fun customising your W7MC.  Be sure to bookmark this page as well as the following pages for reference.

Part1 Part2 Part3

If you have any questions about any of the steps in this series please visit our forum.

If you have any requests or comments, please leave them below.

rsvr85



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Comments

  • snooperz

    I like the part about opening W7MC with custom switches. It’s a breeze to do.

  • snooperz

    I like the part about opening W7MC with custom switches. It’s a breeze to do.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Yeah, i’ve found that tip to be invaluable!

  • Stu Hobbs

    Yeah, i’ve found that tip to be invaluable!

  • snooperz

    I like the part about opening W7MC with custom switches. It’s a breeze to do.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Yeah, i’ve found that tip to be invaluable!

  • Sean_C

    Very nice, I use Windows Home Server to hold the media for my Media Center but the Starkcovers plugin looks great I am going to give that a shot. Great post.

  • Sean_C

    Very nice, I use Windows Home Server to hold the media for my Media Center but the Starkcovers plugin looks great I am going to give that a shot. Great post.

  • snooperz

    The custom switches to turn on WMC 7 also work in VMC through the quick launch, although using my remote, they don’t. Any help would be cool.

  • snooperz

    The custom switches to turn on WMC 7 also work in VMC through the quick launch, although using my remote, they don’t. Any help would be cool.

  • Sean_C

    Very nice, I use Windows Home Server to hold the media for my Media Center but the Starkcovers plugin looks great I am going to give that a shot. Great post.

  • Mark McKay

    “10. Speed Up Media Browser Using USB Flash Drive…”
    Thank FREAKIN’ goodness for Readyboost. I hate waiting for lists to compile! That kind of stuff drives me crazy!

  • Mark McKay

    “10. Speed Up Media Browser Using USB Flash Drive…”
    Thank FREAKIN’ goodness for Readyboost. I hate waiting for lists to compile! That kind of stuff drives me crazy!

  • snooperz

    The custom switches to turn on WMC 7 also work in VMC through the quick launch, although using my remote, they don’t. Any help would be cool.

  • Stu Hobbs

    I think you’d have to remap the keys on your remote as the ‘Media Center’ button wouldn’t be programmed to execute with any switches.

  • Stu Hobbs

    I think you’d have to remap the keys on your remote as the ‘Media Center’ button wouldn’t be programmed to execute with any switches.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Mr. McKay, this has nothin to do with ReadyBoost, it simply utilizes the speed of the USB Flash Drive. Any Flash Drive that is considered to be ReadyBoost ready should be also be considered to have adequate performance for the use of this tutorial.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Mr. McKay, this has nothin to do with ReadyBoost, it simply utilizes the speed of the USB Flash Drive. Any Flash Drive that is considered to be ReadyBoost ready should be also be considered to have adequate performance for the use of this tutorial.

  • Rich

    Now if only USB 3.0 was available, we’d be able to utilize the speed of solid state without being hindered by such a slow (serial) bus :)

  • Rich

    Now if only USB 3.0 was available, we’d be able to utilize the speed of solid state without being hindered by such a slow (serial) bus :)

  • Mark McKay

    “10. Speed Up Media Browser Using USB Flash Drive…”
    Thank FREAKIN’ goodness for Readyboost. I hate waiting for lists to compile! That kind of stuff drives me crazy!

  • Stu Hobbs

    I think you’d have to remap the keys on your remote as the ‘Media Center’ button wouldn’t be programmed to execute with any switches.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Mr. McKay, this has nothin to do with ReadyBoost, it simply utilizes the speed of the USB Flash Drive. Any Flash Drive that is considered to be ReadyBoost ready should be also be considered to have adequate performance for the use of this tutorial.

  • Rich

    Now if only USB 3.0 was available, we’d be able to utilize the speed of solid state without being hindered by such a slow (serial) bus :)

  • Mike

    Very cool, I can’t wait to try this out. I just went back to Windows Media Player from iTunes.

  • Mike

    Very cool, I can’t wait to try this out. I just went back to Windows Media Player from iTunes.

  • Mike

    I agree, I can’t wait for USB 3.0.

  • Mike

    I agree, I can’t wait for USB 3.0.

  • Mike

    Very cool, I can’t wait to try this out. I just went back to Windows Media Player from iTunes.

  • Mike

    I agree, I can’t wait for USB 3.0.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Mike, this is for Windows Media center not Player.

  • Stu Hobbs

    Mike, this is for Windows Media center not Player.

  • Nicholas J West

    *tries out and grins*

  • Nicholas J West

    Liking these a lot, as they are very helpful.

  • Nicholas J West

    Liking these a lot, as they are very helpful.

  • Nicholas J West

    *tries out and grins*

  • Stu Hobbs

    Mike, this is for Windows Media center not Player.

  • Nicholas J West

    *tries out and grins*

  • Nicholas J West

    Liking these a lot, as they are very helpful.

  • Justin Guy

    If you keep using this method, your flash drives gonna break. I already almost broke my flash drive putting 3 OS’s on it.

  • Justin Guy

    If you keep using this method, your flash drives gonna break. I already almost broke my flash drive putting 3 OS’s on it.

  • Justin Guy

    If you keep using this method, your flash drives gonna break. I already almost broke my flash drive putting 3 OS’s on it.

  • Justin, could you tell us all WHY it’d break our Flash Drives? I’ve used this method for a couple of months or so and they’re fine.
    Trying to run 3 OS’s of a USB Flash Drive – A. doesn’t work and B. if it did, of course it’d die pretty quick, they’re not designed to run OS’s!!

  • rsvr85

    Justin, could you tell us all WHY it’d break our Flash Drives? I’ve used this method for a couple of months or so and they’re fine.
    Trying to run 3 OS’s of a USB Flash Drive – A. doesn’t work and B. if it did, of course it’d die pretty quick, they’re not designed to run OS’s!!

  • rsvr85

    Justin, could you tell us all WHY it’d break our Flash Drives? I’ve used this method for a couple of months or so and they’re fine.
    Trying to run 3 OS’s of a USB Flash Drive – A. doesn’t work and B. if it did, of course it’d die pretty quick, they’re not designed to run OS’s!!

  • Chris

    This is great, seriously. Only one problem, it doesn’t seem to want to work with my xbox extender. It works flawlessly from the PC itself, but running MC through the xbox fails. It fails as soon as you try and enter Media Browser collection but works (with DVD covers) when you click on the old Movies menu. Any ideas why?

  • Chris

    This is great, seriously. Only one problem, it doesn’t seem to want to work with my xbox extender. It works flawlessly from the PC itself, but running MC through the xbox fails. It fails as soon as you try and enter Media Browser collection but works (with DVD covers) when you click on the old Movies menu. Any ideas why?

  • Chris

    This is great, seriously. Only one problem, it doesn’t seem to want to work with my xbox extender. It works flawlessly from the PC itself, but running MC through the xbox fails. It fails as soon as you try and enter Media Browser collection but works (with DVD covers) when you click on the old Movies menu. Any ideas why?

  • Jmackin2

    This is such an excellent guide! Switch I want of course is to start in Media Browser, but I guess since it isn't an M$ app, that won't be possible.


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