How to Fix Windows Media Center

Written by suvro banerji
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How to Fix Windows Media Center
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Windows Media Center is the home entertainment hub on a Windows computer. With Media Center, you can play live television, songs, DVDs and slideshows. It is preinstalled on Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium/Ultimate Edition and Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. From time to time, users run into issues trying to play audio or video files, or with an extender connected to Media Center. Extenders are devices that allow you to “extend” the Media Center onto a TV screen or larger display. The Xbox 360 gaming console is an example of an extender.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Launch Windows Media Center from your computer's Start menu.

  2. 2

    Scroll down to "Music" on the Media Center home screen. Select "Music library." If you find an empty folder under "Music Library," navigate to the folder on your hard drive that stores your music file and add it to Media Center's library. If the problem isn't an empty folder, look at the file extension on the music file that won't play. Media Center can't play files with unknown or incompatible extensions. If you find a questionable extension, skip that file. Click once on another file with a different extension, one you know is compatible with Media Center, and then click "Open" to test if you can play that one. Media Center will play MP3, CDA, WAV and other music file formats.

  3. 3

    Open Windows Media Player from the Start menu if you receive a codec error while trying to play either audio or video files. If you open the file in Media Player, the codec will download automatically. You should then be able to play the file in Media Center.

  4. 4

    Troubleshoot your firewall settings if a Media Center extender doesn't work. You'll have a problem using an extender if Windows Firewall blocks it. Go to "Control Panel" from the Start menu and double-click on "Windows Firewall." Click on "Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall." Click to check "Media Center Extenders." Click on "Apply."

  5. 5

    Check external speaker cables to make sure they're connected if you can't hear any sound. Check the computer's volume settings by clicking on the "VOL+" icon at the bottom right corner of the main Media Center screen to make sure the volume is not turned off or down too low. You may need to reconfigure your speakers if you're having volume or sound issues. Scroll down to "Tasks" in the Media Center home screen and select "Settings." Click on "General" and select "Windows Media Center Setup." Click on "Set Up Your Speakers." Follow the on-screen prompts to reconfigure your speakers.

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