Essentials for Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Toolbox  If you’ve been reading Hack7MC regularly you’ve probably noticed that a number of tools are used quite frequently. This quick list will get you on your way to doing some Media Center Hacking of your own in no time.

Find those Hidden Folders

By default, many of the folders Media Center uses to store data are hidden from the user. To get instant access to these folders in Windows Explorer, open Control Panel then Folder Options. On the View tab, scroll until you see the Hidden Files and Folders Section. Set this option to Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives.

Control Panel - Folder Options

Take Control of Your Files

Take Ownership Registry Fix By default, Windows will lock the user out of access to certain system files, including many of those that affect Media Center. To get around this we can use the “Take Ownership” registry fix which allows us to right-click any file and take control. Just download the fix and double-click to apply it to your machine.

Always Make Backups!

Backup Important Files!! Before getting into the programs used to hack Media Center’s system files it’s important to note you should always make backups. There is absolutely NO REASON to not take the time to place a copy of those files you’re editing in a safe folder. This can save you more time and headaches than all the others Media Center hacks combined.

A Few Good Programs

Now that we have access to all those hidden and locked files and folders let’s get a few programs to let us into the meat of those files. First we need to open a few .dll files to get to the good stuff inside.


Restorator is the perfect program for editing Media Center’s dll files. This program gives you the ability to extract the image and xml files contained inside each dll. Although there are many other choices in resource editing programs, Restorator is a perfect choice for it’s ability to work natively with PNG files used frequently in Media Center.

Once you’ve extracted those files from the dlls using Restorator, you’ll need a few good tools to edit them as well. One of the main types of files besides PNG files, which can be edited in most any image editor, are XML files. These can be edited in notepad but there’s a better way.

XML Notepad 2007

XML Notepad 2007 is a program from Microsoft that is free to download from the Microsoft Download Center. This program will simplify the way you work with XML files by breaking them down into an easy to navigate tree view. This setup is perfectly suited for edit Media Center’s XML files and the price tag can’t be beat.

Start Hacking Windows 7 Media Center Once you’ve got the tools you’re ready to set out on your own to try out a few Media Center modifications of your own. To find the bulk of Media Center’s files make your way to \Windows\ehome\ in Windows Explorer. The database and packages for Media Center are typically stored in \ProgramData and Users\Username\AppData folders. Just poke around, make sure you’ve got backups and have fun but remember who sent you! Let me know if you come up with a great new hack at and share it with the community.

Join Hack7MC’s readers on Google Friend Connect at the top of each page, login with any Google or OpenID account!

Leave a comment using any OpenID including Yahoo!, AIM, Google and more. You can even leave an Anonymous comment below!

Post a Comment

Hack7MC Has Moved!

Hack7MC has left Blogspot for a new home. Following the original address @ will take you to the new home page.