Updated version of Media Center Diagnostics Kit available for download

To coincide with the release of Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005, we have also released an updated version of the Media Center Diagnostics Kit that can be downloaded from this location.

I posted a blog entry about the previous version of test kit and received several comments from customers (such as this) indicating that this test kit would delete recorded TV shows.  After receiving those comments, I asked the developer who wrote the Media Center Test Kit about this issue.  He provided me with the following information about this issue to hopefully ease concerns you might have about using the Diagnostics Kit on your machine:

Older versions of the Media Center Diagnostics Kit used a bad helper library which deleted recording files under certain circumstances (such as when tests failed).  This library has been replaced in the new version of the Media Center Diagnostics Kit and it should be never be deleting recorded content files on the machine.

However, even in this latest Diagnostics Kit the recording files may appear to be missing during test execution because the tool moves them just before running any of the test scripts.  This is in place to protect the user from deleting recording files when running scripts because the scripts can do massive damage to the user environment and recording files.  This means if you use Task Manager and kill the MCDiag process while a script is running, the Diagnostic Kit is never given the opportunity to restore the moved files.

To protect files, the Diagnostics Kit renames two directories:

  1. The recording XML path (scheduled recordings, etc) - this directory will always be "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\eHome\Recording."  The Diagnostis Kit appends a GUID to the end of this directory name.  When running a test script, Media Center creates a new directory and recordings XML file.  This new directory and file are deleted after the test script finishes and the Diagnostis Kit restores the original directory using the backup copy.

  2. The Recorded TV storage path (the actual recordings themselves) - the default location for this directory is "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\Recorded TV" but it can be changed within Media Center, and the actual value can be discovered from the RecordPath registry value located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Recording.  The Diagnostis Kit appends a GUID to the end of this directory name.  When running a test script, Media Center creates a new directory and recording filese.  This new directory and files are deleted after the test script finishes and the Diagnostis Kit restores the original directory using the backup copy.

If the Diagnostics Kit cannot rename either of the above directories before running a script (most likely because a file could be in use), it will fail and not run the script.  In the new version of the Diagnostics Kit, when the user presses the Run button, they will get a dialog telling them that recording files are being moved and asks them permission to continue doing this.  There is also an advisory message that appears during test script execution advising strongly against killing the MCDiag process while it is running test scripts.  If you have to kill the process for some reason, you can restore the folders and files manually by copying them from the backup locations described above.


Comments (4)

  1. Drew says:

    The installer file always fails on the diagnostic kit no matter how many times I download the file or which browser I use to do so.

  2. Hi Drew – What kind of error message do you receive when you try to install?  Can you try to use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/03/29/403575.aspx to gather a verbose setup log file and send it to me so I can try to take a look?  You can contact me via http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/contact.aspx

  3. dingo says:


    I’ve got a serious problem with MCE – I’ve got MyMovies installed and it was playing my mpeg2 movies nicely and after installing some more programs it won’t play at all. I get a black screen and it just sits there. After spending several days researching this I think I may have a codec error.

    I downloaded the Media Center Diagnostic Tool 2.5 and ran it and the only error in the overview is for "Inital MPEG2 Audio Decoder Meets Requirements. Minimum = True, Actual = False and I’ve got a Fail in the Pass/Fail column.

    I had reloaded WindDVD, Nero7 Ultra Edition, NVidia Decoder that came with the system before I ran the above test.

    I’m about outta gas on this and could sure use some help!!

    Thanks in advance!!

  4. roirraW "edor" ehT says:


    Do you have the free (from Microsoft) "Microsoft Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility" installed?  When installing multiple programs that include MPEG2 decoders (WinDVD, Nero7 Ultra Edition, nVidia PureVideo decoder all do), Media Center might be trying to use the wrong MPEG2 decoder; the right one in this case being the nVidia PureVideo decoder.

    You can download the program from MS at http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/b/2/9b276571-80d5-43ca-806f-d68fca4b4e89/DECCHECKSetup.EXE

    The proper page at MS to lead to the download is http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=de1491ac-0ab6-4990-943d-627e6ade9fcb&DisplayLang=en

    After installing this small program, just run it from Start/All Programs/Windows Media/Microsoft Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility, highlight the nVidia PureVideo entry, and choose "Set as Preferred".

    When I install my Hauppauge TV tuner, if I also install anything else that has MPEG2 decoders, I have to use this utility to set the decoder that’s made for the TV tuner in order for MCE to work correctly.

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