Backup and Restore Recording Schedule in Windows 7 Media Center

Clint Eastwood - Says Backup Your Media Center Schedules! The ability to backup and restore your recording schedule and guide listings in Media Center is something that will be necessary at some point for almost anyone. Unfortunately, up to this point Media Center doesn’t make it easy for the end user. On the bright side it isn’t very complicated either, you just need to know where to look.

Back ‘Em Up!

To begin with, Media Center creates backup files every time you schedule a new show or make modifications to the guide listings, you just need to find them. To get to the files you will need to enable the viewing of hidden folders, then open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome (by default). Inside you will find a folder, or series of folders, for each tuner you have installed marked “mcepgX-X-X”. Inside each of these folders you will find a backup folder containing backup files for listings, recordings, and subscriptions.

Windows Media Center Backup Files

For each type of backup there will be a number of files inside named with a timestamp. The timestamp format is as follows:" “year month day – hour minutes seconds”. This makes it very simple to locate your most recent files. Luckily the files aren’t large at all however and you could easily backup the whole lot in most cases. For restoring the recording schedule only the latest file in recordings is needed.

Put ‘Em Back!

Once you’ve completed your reinstall of Windows 7, open Media Center and run through the setup as usual. Assuming no hardware changes or driver changes between reinstalls we should be set to continue. Retrieve your backup recordings file and copy it to your hard disk.

The file doesn’t need to be anywhere specific but placing it in the backups folder in your new “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\mcepgx-x-x\” directory is probably a best practice. Now we will need to tell Media Center we’d like to load the information from the file. This is done through a program included in Windows 7 called “loadmxf” located in the “\Windows\ehome\” directory.

You can either open a command prompt by typing “cmd” into the start menu box or create a shortcut with the following text: “C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe –i FILELOCATION”. Replace the FILELOCATION with the location of the file to be loaded.

LoadMXF Files into Media Center 

If using a shortcut, double-click to execute the command before continuing. Otherwise the recording schedule should be loaded into Media Center now. Loading lineup and subscription data from previous installs breaks things currently, so don’t do it!

Load ‘Em Up!

Once you’ve loaded the files back into Media Center you can see that your shows will be listed under series’ in Recorded TV’s Scheduled Recordings but no shows will be scheduled yet. Before we can load these you should be sure to have your channel lineup completed in the Media Center TV Guide. To get the proper times for each scheduled show you will need to reload Guide data.

To do this go to “Tasks > TV > Guide > Get Latest Guide Listings” and wait for the guide data to finish downloading. Then re-check your scheduled shows in Recorded TV. You should now see shows listed on the schedule to be recorded.

Congratulations. You have successfully backed up and restored your scheduled recordings.


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Anonymous said...

doesn't those backup files contain the lineup that you have setup too. along with the scheduled shows? if so, won't doing an import load those over again too, and mess stuff up?

bjdraw said...

Nice tip. Is there a way to restore the lineup? A nice thing about 7 is you can customize your channel numbers and tuner priority for each channel, but since you can spend a lot of time customizing your lineup it'd be nice if it was able to back.

Also, you really should link or credit photos. I doubt the RIAA would agree with your uncredited use of the Clint Eastwood album cover. Personally I don't care, just saying.

MHealy said...

The recording schedule and lineup files are seperate so you can load the recording schedule without altering the lineup. Media Center scans for the progams using unique channel and program id numbers enabling seperation of lineup and recording data. Loading lineup mxf data back into Media Center does result in a number of bad things happening at the moment however as mentioned. I haven't been able to restore my lineup without double entries and tuner errors yet.

Probably right about the ablum cover though I couldn't even locate the original source..I found a similiar one though. I'll link to it instead, RIAA will just have to take one for the team on this one.

Mike said...

Not true - I have tried this a dozen times, and after my analog channel listing is created after I go through the tuner setup, and I do the import, it DUPLICATES all the analog channels, with only one listing working. If you go Edit the guide, there is only one channel listed for each, and if you uncheck it, it leaves the unworking channel in the guide (the error is a tuner conflict). So, if anyone can figure out how to empty the guide database before importing, please post it!

MHealy said...

I've gone through these steps three times in so far in build 7057 and never got duplicate channels from loading ONLY the recordings file. DO NOT load all three of the backup files, just recordings. This was mentioned in the article as well.

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