Remove or Rearrange Default Menu Strip Items

Remove an entire strip with this registry hack. Want to Add New Menu Strips? Check out this guide to Adding Start Menu Strips!

itemicon Using some of the same techniques as in this previous article on removing entire strips from Windows 7 Media Center, we can remove individual items from any strip. This is a somewhat difficult hack to employ and is recommended only for more advanced users. System files will be changed during this hack and backups of all files should be made prior to starting.

Get the tools

We will be using the same tools as the previous hack but first make sure to create two copies of “ehres.dll” which can be found in “\Windows\ehome\”. One of these will be for editing and the other will be saved as a backup.

Once you’ve got the files, you will need a resource editor and an XML editor. The resource editor used in this guide will be Restorator. This easy to use resource editor isn’t free but does have a 30-day trial available for download. Also required is XML Notepad 2007 which is available to download free from Microsoft Download Center.

Find the strip’s XML file to edit

Next, open the “ehres.dll” file which you’ve saved for editing in Restorator. In the left pane there will be a number of folders listed, expand the “html” folder then scroll down until you locate a series of files named “SM.XXX.XML”. Locate the file which corresponds to the strip you’d like to edit, for example “SM.MOVIES.XML” contains information for the Movies strip.

Start Menu Strips in Resotrator

Extract the SM.XML file from the ehres.dll by dragging and dropping the file onto your desktop or anywhere on your hard drive. Alternatively, right-click the file and select “Extract > Extract as..” to export the XML File. It’s a good idea to create a backup of each of these files as well before editing them. Once you’ve located and extracted the XML file for the strip you’d like to edit, open the file in XML Notepad.

Edit the XML File

With the XML file open in XML Notepad, locate and expand the “home:StartMenuCategory”, “QuickLinks”, “constraints:ConstrainedList”, and “Source” folders. Each of the folders inside the “Source” folder represents an item in the default menu strip with the exception of the first folder.

Start Menu Items in Notepad 2007

Removing an item from a menu strip is simple at this point. Expand each set of folders until you locate the one with the corresponding title to the item you want to remove. The name should be fairly easy to discern from the “App” value or “EntryPoint” value. Deleting the root folder for any item will remove it permanently from the menu strip. The root folder will be the one just listed directly inside the “source” folder as shown in the image above.

To rearrange items on any given strip, locate the “Priority” setting for each strip item. These values define the order in which each item comes in the list. An item with a “Priority” of zero will be placed before an item with the “Priority” of one. Swapping these values will allow you to alter the position of any given menu item. Be careful to not have conflicting values or it may result in undesirable effects.

Rebuild ehres.dll and copy to ehome

Once you’ve made the desired changes to the menu strip’s XML file it needs to be re-added to the ehres.dll. To do this simply drag the file back into Restorator and drop it on the same file in the left pane. Alternatively, right-click the correct file name and select “Assign > Assign To..” and select your modified XML file. Once you’ve laded each of the modified XML files into Restorator, save ehres.dll.

Re-add XML to Restorator

Once you’ve got a new ehres.dll file, open Windows Explorer to “\Windows\ehome\”. You will need to have the “Take Ownership” registry fix installed, then right-click the original ehres.dll file and select “Take Ownership”. This will allow you to rename the original “ehres.dll” to “ehres.dll.original”. Once that’s been done, copy the new ehres.dll file into the folder.

Restart Media Center to check that you’re edits have been completed successfully. If Media Center should crash at this time it is most likely due to an incorrect XML file. If this is the case you should likely revert to a backed up file and try again. As long as all goes well you should have your perfectly tailored Media Center start menu.

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MikeyJ said...

How about moving something from one strip to another or from Extras to a strip? Any news on that yet? Thx!

MikeyJ said...

Well, found out how to do one thing I've been interested in thanks to Jon at Creates a Media Browser strip and put the icon in there. Not sure if this comment will accept the text for a reg entry but here goes. Maybe you just want to make it available as a download.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Start Menu]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Start Menu\Applications]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Start Menu\Applications\{CE32C570-4BEC-4aeb-AD1D-CF47B91DE0B2}]
"Title"="Media Browser"

MHealy said...

Guess I should have linked to the creating a start menu strip guide from this guide. Well, I've added it now. I haven't quite gotten transfering from one strip to another yet but I'm looking into it to create a replacement Movie strip using Media Browser but including all the default Movie items as well.

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