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Old 08. Aug 2013, 09:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy I can't reinstall Windows Media Center

I posted this problelm in another forum over a week ago. The item got quite a few hits, but zero answers. I'm posting it here thinking that different folks will have different experience and points of view, and I may hit it lucky.

Because of difficulties I was having with Windows Media Center (Win7, 64-bit) and Windows Media Player, I made the mistake of following advice I found on the Internet: using the Windows Features app, and following the on-screen instructions, I removed them and then tried to reinstall them. Result: Fail!

Through a lot of repetition, trial-and-error, etc. I was able to get Windows Media Player back, but Windows Media Center is resisting being reinstalled.

I've tried the standard procedure to reinstall it over a dozen times:

1. Go to Control Panel => Programs and Features, and click Turn Windows Features on/off.
2. Check Windows Media Center (which has been unchecked since its removal).
3. Reboot.

Unfortunately, every time I'm told via the same error message:

[Window Title] Windows Features / [Content] An error has occurred. Not all of the features were successfully changed. / [OK]

At some point it finally worked for Windows Media Player, and I now have that back, but it did not work for Windows Media Center. Windows Media Center remains uninstalled.

I ran the sfc /scannow command from an elevated cmd prompt but nothing happened or changed. I then re-ran the sfc /scannow command from the Windows 7 install DVD command line (in repair mode). However, after rebooting and checking it out, there was still no change. Windows Media Center was still unavailable.

I tried to do an in-place reinstall of Windows, but the install finds a legacy scanner, which I physically removed, uninstalled, and then removed all traces of the software and cleaned the registry, but the reinstall will still not run because it says the scanner is still installed.

At a friend's suggestion I tried (1) uninstalling all versions of the .NET framework, (2) reinstalling WMC, and then (3) reinstalling all the .NET frameworks again. There was NO CHANGE.

I've run the Windows System Update Readiness tool and looked at the checksur.log. It's very short and there's nothing in there remotely referencing Windows Media Center.

So it seems my only option to recover the Windows Media Center is to do a bare-metal reinstall of Windows, which I am not about to do. And my backups don't go back far enough for me to try a full system restore.

Can anyone suggest how to break this cycle and get Windows Media Center reinstalled? Thank you!

Frank D

P.S. Why can't Microsoft make a simple install/uninstall file for WMC?
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Old 09. Aug 2013, 10:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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To solve this you will almost certainly have to be competent at Registry editing because you will probably have to do two things:
  • work out how to reinstall Windows Media Player files manually.
  • work out how to repair configurations settings which are primarily in the Registry.

I had a look but I couldn't find any promising solutions on the web and I don't have time to determine how Windows Media Centre needs to be configured.

I'd like you to clarify if you have really been "uninstalling" and "reinstalling" Windows Media Centre. I thought that Windows Media Centre remains on your system in Windows 7 and is not uninstalled. So if you had to reinstall from a Windows image (such as a DVD or .ISO file) then you are probably right that it is an install. Please clarify that as if I am right then judicious registry editing may be all that is needed to turn it back on. The difficulty then becomes what to edit.

I can think of two other specific reasons why WMC won't reenable:
  • A licensing issue. So what edition and exact version of Windows 7 are you using?
  • Windows can't access some files because folder/file ownership has been changed. This is unlikely as I expect you'd remember doing this and would have mentioned it?

The next best option appears to be eliminating the artefacts remaining from the scanner so you can reinstall Windows in place. Again, it probably means editing the registry. There are forum and blog posts with information on how to clean up driver files and configurations.

A third option is to backup everything then do a clean install so you can use registry utilities and the like to see what enabling Windows Media Centre does to your system configuration. Then you restore your system from the backup and check that the relevant configuration settings are all set correctly.

As to your final question: I suppose that Windows Media Centre (plus DVD Maker and Windows Media Player) became features when it was decided that they were core products. It might also be related to the APIs and extensibility WMC adds to Windows.
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Old 09. Aug 2013, 11:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remah View Post
I'd like you to clarify if you have really been "uninstalling" and "reinstalling" Windows Media Centre. I thought that Windows Media Centre remains on your system in Windows 7 and is not uninstalled. So if you had to reinstall from a Windows image (such as a DVD or .ISO file) then you are probably right that it is an install. Please clarify that as if I am right then judicious registry editing may be all that is needed to turn it back on. The difficulty then becomes what to edit.
Remah,

Thank you for your reply.

I have been uninstalling and installing (can't actually do the latter) Windows Media Center (not Windows Media Player, which has since been reinstalled successfully) using the Start > Windows Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off > Media Features > Windows Media Center application that is part of the Windows 7 operating system.

Quote:
I can think of two other specific reasons why WMC won't reenable:
  • A licensing issue. So what edition and exact version of Windows 7 are you using?
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. It is a legal copy. It came with the freshly purchased (now two years old) HP Pavilion computer I'm using.
    Quote:
  • Windows can't access some files because folder/file ownership has been changed. This is unlikely as I expect you'd remember doing this and would have mentioned it?
You are correct that I have not done anything to folder/file ownership. I am not that adept.
Quote:
The next best option appears to be eliminating the artefacts remaining from the scanner so you can reinstall Windows in place. Again, it probably means editing the registry. There are forum and blog posts with information on how to clean up driver files and configurations.
I have gone in and used Regedit to find all references and occurrences of the scanner -- at least three times -- and when I re-check, they are still there.
Quote:
A third option is to backup everything then do a clean install so you can use registry utilities and the like to see what enabling Windows Media Centre does to your system configuration. Then you restore your system from the backup and check that the relevant configuration settings are all set correctly.
I have limited understanding of what you are recommending, but I question what effect would doing a clean Windows install and then restoring from a full system image backup have? The latter would wipe out anything to do with the former -- or am I missing something?
Quote:
As to your final question: I suppose that Windows Media Centre (plus DVD Maker and Windows Media Player) became features when it was decided that they were core products. It might also be related to the APIs and extensibility WMC adds to Windows.
I thank you for your looking into this and your insights, but I don't see that I can accomplish anything new, that I haven't already tried and failed at. At this point I'm just willing to live without Windows Media Center. Thank you.

Frank
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Old 10. Aug 2013, 03:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Can you go back to a previous restore point before the fiasco started? I didn't see that you tried that but may have missed it. Sorry if you already mention the restore point.
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Old 10. Aug 2013, 05:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by joeguru View Post
Can you go back to a previous restore point before the fiasco started? I didn't see that you tried that but may have missed it. Sorry if you already mention the restore point.
Frank,
I thought you'd tried Windows System Restore but on rereading your post it appears that you were talking about restoring your own backup.


If system restore doesn't help then read the following which could help you as it gets deeper into Windows configuration. But before starting have a complete backup you can easily restore. Make sure that you have a system restore point before any change. Also don't do anything that you cannot reverse easily. For example, instead of deleting files simply rename them so you can rename them back if you need to.

I asked questions as you didn't provide enough information for me to eliminate some options.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank D View Post
I have been uninstalling and installing (can't actually do the latter) Windows Media Center (not Windows Media Player, which has since been reinstalled successfully) using the Start > Windows Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off > Media Features > Windows Media Center application that is part of the Windows 7 operating system.
Uninstalling means physically removing the files from the disk by deleting them. I asked you to clarify this because it is different than disabling a feature. If Windows is only disabling the feature then turning it back on will continue to use the same files and you will have the same situation.

I would try this myself but I'm in the middle of configuring my systems and can't test on my Windows 7 system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank D View Post
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
WMC comes with that edition so licensing shouldn't be the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank D View Post
I have gone in and used Regedit to find all references and occurrences of the scanner -- at least three times -- and when I re-check, they are still there.

What is the brand and name of the scanner?
What is the device name in Device Manager? To display the scanner driver, you will probably need to select View | Show hidden devices.
What are the hardware ID(s), Driver Key and Inf name?
You will find them in Device Manager | select device name and right-click to view Properties | Details tab
Now set Property to Hardware ID, Driver Key and Inf name and copy each value.

Here's examples for a video camera:
  • Hardware IDs = USB\VID_046D&PID_08AF&REV_0100 and USB\VID_046D&PID_08AF
    These can be used to search for more information on the Web.
  • Driver key = {6bdd1fc6-810f-11d0-bec7-08002be2092f}\0000
    The first part of the key before the "\" can be used to find registry entries which can be deleted.
  • Inf name = oem87.inf
    This can be used to locate the .INF file on disk so it can be deleted if necessary. They are usually in the Windows\Inf folder.

Windows will reinstall drivers automatically if it finds any plug and play hardware when it restarts. Windows can also keeps device's installed even if the device is no longer connected. Background processes or services can also "recreate" the entries.

To check on services, go to Start menu | Run | type in "services.msc". Look down the list of services and see if any are running that have the brand name or model of the scanner, include "scan" or include "TWAIN" which is a scanner software interface. You could disable it or ask here if you're not sure.

FYI, while you are looking at services you can also see if "Media Center XXXXXX" and "Windows Media XXXXXX" services are running.


Whether you find any relevant services to disable or not, you should use Regedit in Safe Mode to remove device driver entries. Safe Mode won't load most drivers which makes it easier to delete their registry entries and files.

Safe Mode is selected by starting your computer then holding down F8 so Windows displays the recovery menu then select Safe Mode.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank D View Post
I have limited understanding of what you are recommending, but I question what effect would doing a clean Windows install and then restoring from a full system image backup have? The latter would wipe out anything to do with the former -- or am I missing something?
I suggested this as a last resort because it is a way of determining what the settings are when Windows media Center is correctly installed. If you can't work out what is wrong then seeing what does work can help to repair your setup.
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Last edited by Remah; 10. Aug 2013 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Forgot to mention ensuring that you have a system restore point before any change
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Old 10. Aug 2013, 04:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeguru View Post
Can you go back to a previous restore point before the fiasco started? I didn't see that you tried that but may have missed it. Sorry if you already mention the restore point.
Joeguru,

No, that point in time is long past (at least a month). I should have done it right after it happened, but I didn't realize the importance of having the Windows Media Center until I tried to install another desktop video program, which relies on it.
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Old 10. Aug 2013, 05:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remah View Post
Frank,
I thought you'd tried Windows System Restore but on rereading your post it appears that you were talking about restoring your own backup.
That's correct.
Quote:
If system restore doesn't help then read the following which could help you as it gets deeper into Windows configuration. But before starting have a complete backup you can easily restore. Make sure that you have a system restore point before any change. Also don't do anything that you cannot reverse easily. For example, instead of deleting files simply rename them so you can rename them back if you need to.

I asked questions as you didn't provide enough information for me to eliminate some options.

Uninstalling means physically removing the files from the disk by deleting them. I asked you to clarify this because it is different than disabling a feature. If Windows is only disabling the feature then turning it back on will continue to use the same files and you will have the same situation.
I used only Windows' "Windows Features" tool to uninstall WMC. I have no idea how it works.

Quote:
What is the brand and name of the scanner?
Microtek ScanMaker 3750i

Quote:
What is the device name in Device Manager? To display the scanner driver, you will probably need to select View | Show hidden devices.
It's exactly the same as above.

Quote:
What are the hardware ID(s), Driver Key and Inf name?
Hardware Ids:
USB\VID_05DA&PID_40DD&REV_0000
USB\VID_05DA&PID_40DD

Driver key:
{6bdd1fc6-810f-11d0-bec7-08002be2092f}\0001

Inf name:
microtek-64.inf

Quote:
[*]Driver key = {6bdd1fc6-810f-11d0-bec7-08002be2092f}\0000
The first part of the key before the "\" can be used to find registry entries which can be deleted.
[*]Inf name = oem87.inf
This can be used to locate the .INF file on disk so it can be deleted if necessary. They are usually in the Windows\Inf folder.[/INDENT][/LIST]
Windows will reinstall drivers automatically if it finds any plug and play hardware when it restarts. Windows can also keeps device's installed even if the device is no longer connected. Background processes or services can also "recreate" the entries.
This is where my eyes start to "glaze over" and I lose touch. I don't have a bloodhound's instincts or a detective's talents in this area.

Quote:
To check on services, go to Start menu | Run | type in "services.msc". Look down the list of services and see if any are running that have the brand name or model of the scanner, include "scan" or include "TWAIN" which is a scanner software interface. You could disable it or ask here if you're not sure.
Again, I lose touch here.

Quote:
FYI, while you are looking at services you can also see if "Media Center XXXXXX" and "Windows Media XXXXXX" services are running.
The only service I can see is the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service.

Quote:
Whether you find any relevant services to disable or not, you should use Regedit in Safe Mode to remove device driver entries. Safe Mode won't load most drivers which makes it easier to delete their registry entries and files.
I'll keep this in mind if I get to the point again where I decide to do an in-place reinstall of Windows. At the moment, I'm reluctant to try this again.

Quote:
I suggested this as a last resort because it is a way of determining what the settings are when Windows media Center is correctly installed. If you can't work out what is wrong then seeing what does work can help to repair your setup.
I see your logic now.

For the present, considering all the technical machinations I'd have to go through to address the solution to this problem, I'm going to tolerate living without Windows Media Center -- mainly because other than this single flaw, my computer is working fantastically well and I don't get much of a thrill watching streaming video on my PC (i.e. without WMC). When I get to the point where something else goes materially wrong and can't be corrected except by a reinstall, at that point I'll put all my troubles together and work on them at the same time, using your instructions in this thread as my guide. Then it will be worth my while.

Thank you for all your work on this problem. I appreciate your help.

Frank
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Old 10. Aug 2013, 09:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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without using regedit, have you just tried to run the installer for it off of the install discs? If you don't have one, I'd download a copy of it from microsoft.
http://www.w7forums.com/official-win...ds-t12325.html
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...f-3ca30356fc3d

This isn't pirated copies either, it's ones Microsoft put out. I forget where it is in the options tree but if you look around while running it (not from disc since you aren't reinstalling, but mount iso to run or make a cd/dvd) you should see the option to install it back. It should fix the registry errors by overwriting it as it makes new entries.
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Old 11. Aug 2013, 01:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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without using regedit, have you just tried to run the installer for it off of the install discs? If you don't have one, I'd download a copy of it from microsoft.
http://www.w7forums.com/official-win...ds-t12325.html
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...f-3ca30356fc3d

This isn't pirated copies either, it's ones Microsoft put out. I forget where it is in the options tree but if you look around while running it (not from disc since you aren't reinstalling, but mount iso to run or make a cd/dvd) you should see the option to install it back. It should fix the registry errors by overwriting it as it makes new entries.
Eyeb,

Thanks for your suggestion, but there is no installer for it. I have the MS-issued, genuine Windows 7 install DVD for my OS and machine, and I've tried everything available from it. The only way you can install/uninstall this Windows feature is to use the Windows Features applet that you run from the running Windows OS GUI as I described above. This is the app that does nothing but give me an error message. (See my original post.)

Frank
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Old 11. Aug 2013, 02:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You can also update your WMC files manually by copying them from Windows disk cabinet (.CAB) files.
How to use Extract.exe to copy files from the cabinet files

The Windows image files (.ISO) that eyeb links to could be helpful as at least one SP1 included.
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