Windows Media Center Command Line Options

Aug 31, 2013 by

Image of Media Center in Right to Left modeEveryone who has a Windows Media Center home theater PC sitting under the TV probably knows that it can be launched on boot.  What you may not know is that there’s a bunch of slightly hidden launch modes. These are all accessible via command line options. The utility of these options is a bit nebulous, but there is some neat stuff in here. Any of the options can be specified from the command line, or perhaps on startup via  a scheduled task or script in the startup folder. Open up a command prompt and play around with some of these.

To get started try this:

  • Hit the Start button, type ‘cmd’ and hit enter
  • type ‘cd C:\Windows\ehome’ to switch into the Media Center directory
  • type ‘ehshell.exe’ to launch media center
  • provide any of the switches below like this: ‘ehshell.exe /url:http://www.thedigitalmediazone.com/’

 Here are all the options:

ehshell.exe /entrypoint:{ application_guid }\{ entrypoint_guid }

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center and navigates directly to a registered entry point, where application_guid and entrypoint_guid are strings that contain the GUIDs of the application and entry point identifiers for the entry point to launch.

 

ehshell.exe /url: url

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center and navigates directly to a Hosted HTML application that is specified by url.

 

ehshell.exe /homepage: url

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center and navigates directly to a Windows Media Center web application that is specified by url.

 

thedigitalmediazone.com as a webpage within Media Center

The DMZ on your HTPC!

 

ehshell.exe /addinfallbackpath: path

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center and uses the location specified in path to locate and load application assemblies. This location is only used after Windows Media Center attempts to load application assemblies from the global assembly cache (GAC) and \windows\ehome.

 

ehshell.exe /gdi

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in Graphics Device Interface (GDI) graphics mode, which simulates a low-fidelity graphics environment that does not support DirectX graphics mode.

 

ehshell.exe /widescreen

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center with a 16:9 aspect ratio to enable testing widescreen display resolutions on systems that only have a 4:3 monitor installed. This switch works when Windows Media Center is started in windowed mode, but will not work in full-screen mode.

 

Image of Media Center in Right to Left mode

It just looks wrong after so many years of staring at the opposite

ehshell.exe /rtl
This switch starts Windows Media Center in right-to-left (RTL) display mode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ehshell.exe /directmedia:general

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in full-screen mode.

 

ehshell.exe /directmedia:music

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in full-screen mode and navigates to the Music Library.

 

ehshell.exe /directmedia:video

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in full-screen mode and navigates to the Video Library.

 

ehshell.exe /directmedia:tv

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in full-screen mode and navigates to Recorded TV.

 

ehshell.exe /directmedia:pictures

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in full-screen mode and navigates to the Picture Library.

 

ehshell.exe /directmedia:discplayback

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center in full-screen mode and begins playback of the disc in the drive according to AutoPlay registration.

 

Borderless Media Center

Remember when QuickTime introduced the floating box of video? Media Center got that.

ehshell.exe /nochrome

 

This switch starts Windows Media Center without the window frame (the border, caption, or toolbox) and does not display the Windows Media Center icon on the taskbar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Center with no Shutdown UI

What is this Windows 8? How does one shut this thing down and how many clicks does it take?

ehshell.exe /noshutdownui

 

This switch hides the Shut Down and Close tiles under Tasks on the Windows Media Center Start menu. Note that the Close tile is only available on Extenders.

 

 

 

 

 

ehshell.exe /controlbox: buttons

 

This switch lets you specify the buttons to display on the controlbox (the toolbar at the top right of the Windows Media Center window), where buttons is a comma-delimited list of buttons.

 

The following values can be used for buttons:

 

None: Displays no buttons.

 

All: Displays all buttons.

 

Minimize: Displays the Minimize button.

 

Window: Displays the Restore Down/Maximize button.

 

Close: Displays the Close button.

 

For example, use the following switch to display the Minimize and Close buttons:

ehshell.exe /controlbox:minimize,close

 

There are a few other things to note.  For the /entrypoint switch, the application_guid and entrypoint_guid can be found in the registry.  Fire up regedit and head to this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Extensibility\Entry Points

Lastly, the /controlbox switch didn’t seem to work on my Windows 8 machine.  It’s one of the less than useful options, so I’m not terribly upset.

Sources: Hack7MC, Microsoft

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  • http://www.recordedtvhd.com/ Mark Terborg

    Any idea why animations are disabled in 3rd party addins when you launch with a custom entry point? At least that is my experience. Do others see this as well?

  • SupaB

    is there any way to move WMC after you do ehshell /nochrome? I want to be able to move it to a certain part of my screen so i can open up other applications….