Configuring network shares as watched folders for Media Center recorded TV content

While not officially supported, it is possible to configure a remote network share as a watched folder for Windows Media Center recorded TV content.  Watched folders are locations that Media Center looks in for recorded TV content that it will allow you to browse and play back in the Media Center UI.

There is a set of steps in this Green Button forum post that can be used to configure the security permissions necessary to use a network share as a watched folder for Media Center TV content.  Those steps will work correctly for Windows XP Media Center Edition, but there is a slight modification needed if you want to use these steps in Windows Media Center for Windows Vista.

The Windows Media Center services that manage recorded TV (ehSched and ehRecvr) run in the Network Service context in Windows Vista, whereas they ran in the Local System context in Windows XP Media Center Edition.  Therefore, you will need to add Network Service permissions in addition to the permissions listed in the forum post to get things to work correctly within Windows Media Center.

Important Notes:

  • If you intend to try out these instructions, please keep in mind that this "feature" is not officially supported and so you do so at your own risk.

  • Please make sure to carefully read the security implications outlined in the forum post because adding certain types of permissions can make your computer more vulnerable to exploits.


Comments (5)
  1. Adam Pranger says:

    It’s frustrating to see that Vista MCE isn’t going to go out of its way to make remote media any easier to access.

    Some sort of automated "share my media with other MCE machines" option would be great.

    Basic support for media stored on a server sure would be nice, too.  I hate having to jump through so many hoops just to achieve what would otherwise be a simple technology.

  2. Hi Adam – There are some changes being made in Windows Media Center for Windows Vista that will make it easier to share and access media on a network.  The changes affect what is called "media discovery" within Media Center – this includes music, photos and videos.  Unfortunately, recorded TV uses different sharing mechanisms, so sharing content on a network share and making it appear in the Recorded TV gallery is still not officially supported.  However, you can access your recorded TV via the Media Center Videos gallery, and that can take advantage of the improvements being made in Windows Vista for network sharing.

  3. Adam Pranger says:

    Those improvements certainly sound nice for the multiple-MCE machine users.

    One thing that seems to be sorely missing is the lack of any cohesive library for MCE.  Microsoft obviously has the technology in SQL Server Express to run a pretty high performance local database behind the scenes.  It would be so much easier on those of us with multiple media sources if all of the pictures, videos, music, and television were all managable from the same place.  Maybe WMP 11 can do this already?

  4. Hi Adam – The improvements I mention should also help in single machine library scenarios like you are describing.  I would encourage you to take a look at Windows Vista beta 2 if possible and let us know what you think.  You can get beta 2 at

  5. It would be really great if you carried some of those niceties over to the eXtender platform for Vista.  The 360 is brain dead when it comes to shared content.  You definately need to create a TweakMCX Power Toy that lets us modify all of the eXtender profiles as if we had a desktop.


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