One root cause identified for protected content playback errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005

As I have previously described here and here, some folks have run into problems playing protected content after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Our team has identified one potential root cause for this problem and I wanted to outline it here.

If you install Windows Media Player 10 after installing Update Rollup 2, the WMP 10 setup will revert some critical files related to digital rights management (DRM), and that will result in error messages that look like the following when trying to play protected content:

Secure storage protection error dialog

Ordinarily, there is no need to install Windows Media Player 10 on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 because this version of Media Center already has this version of Windows Media Player.  However, we have seen some applications that include a copy of WMP 10 with their package, and unfortunately WMP 10 setup is not correctly handling a couple of cases where later versions of some files are already installed on the machine.

We are working on a fix for Windows Media Player setup so that it will no longer revert DRM files like this in the future.  Also, we are working on a fix to restore DRM functionality without losing licenses.  I am not sure when either of these fixes will be ready, but I will post updates when I know more.

If you have already installed WMP 10 after Update Rollup 2 and do not want to wait for the fixes we are working on, you can use the workaround in this Knowledge Base article to reset the DRM system on your machine.  There is one step that should be added to that article that is not there currently - before deleting the Windows Media DRM folder, you need to close any programs that might be holding files in that folder in use.  Specifically, make sure to close Media Player and Media Center, and run the command net stop ehRecvr to stop the Media Center Recording service immediately prior to trying to delete that folder.

Please note also that resetting the DRM system will cause any previously acquired licenses to be lost, so you will have to reacquire them from the content providers or restore them using the license backup and restore feature in Windows Media Player (if you made backups prior to installing Update Rollup 2) to be able to play any pre-existing protected content.

There is a new hotfix available as of 4/14/2006 that is designed to fix protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Please try out this hotfix if you have DRM/protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2.

<update date="4/15/2006"> Added a link to a new DRM hotfix that is now available in case people find and read some of my older blog posts in an attempt to fix this type of issue </update>


Comments (11)
  1. Carl Pagan says:

    Perhaps that is what caused my protected content problem. But the reason that I reinstalled Media Player 10 is that I read that that was a way to solve the ‘unknown album’ problem in My Music. And it worked.

    (Are there still too many big problems to start complaining about little ones – the way Media Center crashes the whole pc?)

    carlpagan at

  2. AndyC says:

    You may be interested to know that if you experience problems with Napster for MCE, one of the first things Napster support suggest is to reinstall WMP10!



  3. Jason Tsang [MVP] says:

    An update has been released to fix this issue.

    This update is intended for systems running Update Rollup 2 for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Install this update to prevent Windows Media Player 10 setup from overwriting digital rights management (DRM) files installed by Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (KB900325). For more information about this update, read Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 910393.

  4. Z Hughes says:

    Is there anyway of getting rid of WMP10 all together? It came preinstalled on my XP Media Centre with no traces of WMP9 which is so much better in my opinion, none of this breaking down rubbish?

  5. jason wright says:

    I have directv premiere, and i can’t watch any movies on hbo, cinemax, showtime, starz, etc. I know a little about computers, but I don’t know how to fix this. Can anybody help me. I just want to at least watch the movies on my htpc. Tnank you, Jason

  6. Greg says:

    The Microsoft update identified by Jason Tsant worked but only after i moved the existing DRM file to the trash before running the updater and restarting

  7. smelliot says:

    MS hosed this one big time, it’s the very last time I install -any- rollup, service pack, hotfix, path, update, upgrade, etc, before I google it and it’s a month old.

    It’s been 2 weeks of not being able to watch Soprano’s on HBO due to the ‘protected content’ error and my girlfriend’s now asked if we can’t just "remove [MCE]" and being pretty happy with it otherwise.

    After reading the comments, reinstalling my mpeg2 decoder (interVideo’s XPack) has fixed it, but I’m still just as unhappy, and will no longer recommend that people I know install MCE over Tivo or other forms of DVR.

  8. As many of you have noticed and posted on my blog in the past (here, here, here&amp;nbsp;and here), there…

  9. Hotfix designed to fix this problem


    There is a new hotfix available as of 4/14/2006 that is…

  10. This article serves as a central location for all links to troubleshooting documentation that has been

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content