Monday, August 25, 2008

Windows Messenger error in Media Center Edition 2005

As a result of a recently released security update for Windows Messenger, those of you using Media Center 2005 may run into an error message similar to the following:

Messenger Failure - Media Center was unable to open Windows Messenger. Please make sure that Windows Messenger is installed on your system.

There are two ways that I know of to fix this, and they are as follows:

Method 1 - Disable Messenger functionality in MCE2005 (per user)

  1. Go to the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\IMSettings
  2. Under the fEnableIM DWORD value, change that value from '1' to '0'
  3. Alternatively, download and merge the 'fixwmerror-method1 - wmintegrationdisabled.reg' from the zipped registry key files to make the above mentioned change. To re-enable Messenger integration, merge the 'fixwmerror-method1 - wmintegrationenabled.reg' file instead.
  4. Note that this fix is 'per-user' so you have to apply it for every user that is affected.

Method 2 - Exempt the Media Center 2005 from the security update (per-machine)

  1. Go to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\
  2. Create a new key called 'ehshell.exe' if it doesn't already exist.
  3. Create a new DWORD value called 'AllowMessengerExecHandleFailure' and assign it a value of '1'
  4. Alternatively, download and merge the following zipped registry key file to make the above mentioned change.
  5. Note that this fix is a global fix, so it affects all users on your computer system.

I believe the second fix is more comprenhensive, so that's the fix I'd recommend as you can continue to use Windows Messenger post-security updates. I've heard reports that the new update removes the UI choice as to whether or not to enable Messenger functionality, so if you want to turn on/off Messenger functionality in Media Center, you can also use that method.

I had the 5.1 version of Windows Messenger installed before the security update was installed, and I still have the Messenger UI choice within Media Center. It seems (though I'll need others to confirm) that those using the older 4.7 variants of Windows Messenger have lost the UI choice within Media Center.

I'd be interested to know if anyone lost the UI to enable/disable Messenger functionality within Media Center would regain it upon installing the latest version of Windows Messenger (5.1.0715).

To obtain the latest version of Windows Messenger, see the following kb article, How to obtain the latest version of Windows Messenger 5.1 (KB899283).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free Blue Jay Tickets

For those who want to see a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game, here's a chance for you to get four free tickets for home games between September 2 to 7, 2008.

The tickets that are available are 200 Level Bases or 200 Level Outfield. There is a limit of one order per household, while supplies last.

Inside Pitch Offer Tickets

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Windows Media Center TV Pack Announcement

From, Ben Reed, a member of the Product Marketing team for Windows Media Center posts the following about the new Windows Media Center TV Pack:

On July 16th, 2008, Microsoft released an update to the version of Windows Media Center included with Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate to our OEM partners - this update is referred to as the “Windows® Media Center TV Pack”. In order to ensure that users get the best experience possible, this update will only be available from OEMs, as they are best positioned to provide the testing and hardware configurations for a great customer experience. This is due to the fact that in some geographies there are specific technical and hardware requirements for the Windows Media Center TV Pack that are best handled by the OEMs. We are working closely with our OEM partners as they finalize their decisions on Windows Media Center TV Pack products.

The Windows Media Center TV Pack is primarily targeted at adding support for additional international broadcast standards including:

  • Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial (ISDB-T) Digital television standard for Japan;
  • Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite (DVB-S) free-to-air satellite standards in Europe;
  • Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T) digital television with improved user experience in Europe;
  • ClearQAM (Unencrypted Digital Cable) in the United States; and,
  • Interactive television with integrated Broadcast Markup Language (BML) in Japan and Multimedia and Hypermedia information coding Expert Group (MHEG) (MHEG5) in Europe.

This version does not include native support for subscription-based satellite tuners or the H.264 video standard. We test many features in beta releases, and optimize our feature set in the final code for the best user experience.

We do want the Windows Media Center community to know that Microsoft will continue to improve upon the Windows Media Center experience for our customers worldwide, by adding content partnerships and enhanced features. We will share these developments as they become available.